BuTrain:Getting Started

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Getting Started at BuTrain - An Overview for the new student

You’ve joined TRMN and are a member of a ship, station, bivouac, or civilian service. Your commanding officer (CO) welcomed you and provided you some basic information about TRMN and your assignment. But now what? Your CO may have talked to you about getting promoted and the three different paths you can chose: service, staff, or line (more information can be found in the Membership Handbook or in Admiralty Order 1707-01). On the TRMN Forums you see announcements about people passing courses of study, and people talking about ratings training and getting their Space Warfare Pin or the Manticore Combat Action Medal. You wonder, what does all this mean? What do you do? How do you start? This manual and the Bureau of Training Forums are here to help you and should be a constant resource.

Each course at BuTrain consists of approximately 8- 10 “open book” questions that will help direct your learning and research on each subject. Rank training for each academy is focused on the Honorverse, TRMN specific information, some related old Earth history, and leadership development. You will use the rank training to grow and develop in the TRMN. We place a special emphasis on leadership and TRMN business because everyone can aspire to be a leader within this organization regardless of rank!

Ratings or specialty training consists of training on specific skills you might find useful or interesting in the particular service or civilian corps you joined. These courses contain questions that will direct your research to learn more about the rating you choose. This is an excellent way to have fun with the role play aspect of TRMN.

The first thing you need to do is download and save this Student Manual to your computer or other cloud storage (described further below) as it provides the BuTrain policies and procedures and an overview of the schools and classes and their prerequisites. Read through the manual to get familiar with all BuTrain has to offer and to know what prerequisites are required before you can take a course. You can take any course at any of the service academies, universities, and schools if you meet the prerequisites; you are not limited to only taking courses in your service or when you are a particular rank. If you meet the prerequisites you can take the course.

NOTE: All rank courses for the RMN, RMMC, RMA, GSN, and IAN are interchangeable for prerequisite purposes. For example, all military -0001 courses across services are interchangeable with each other. Military and civilian (including RMMM & RMACS) courses are not interchangeable with each other or with military course. NOTE: It is strongly suggested you follow the rank courses for your chosen service before branching out to other academies unless your branch does not yet have a fully functional academy.

Before you start taking courses, you should create a folder for your courses on your computer or on a cloud storage drive to retain all your materials. A good option is to use the Google Drive associated with a Gmail email address and Google Docs. The Google Drive, with Google Docs, is free, easy to use, accessible from multiple devices, and does not require you to have any programs installed to use it (if you access Google Docs on a mobile device you will need to download the Google Docs app). You should also create subfolders in your main course folder for each school or type of course you take and keep a copy of the clean course, your submitted course, and all graded courses and completion certificate. Your completed course information will be reflected in your MEDUSA profile, but you don’t want to take a chance this information could be lost. Save all completed course materials. They may be useful in the future.

Next, you should look at the Bureau of Training Forums. (You should already have access to the TRMN Forums. If you don’t have access, please talk to your CO.) There are several Forums under BuTrain; the two to be most aware of are “Student Questions” and “BuTrain Contact Info.” The Student Questions Forum has many pinned post questions that most likely will answer most of your questions and is a good place to look if you are not sure of what to do or what a policy is. Some to be aware of include the following:

  • What schools are closed? This includes a list of schools and instructors that are off. Please refer to this list if you are waiting on a response from an instructor.
  • What do I do if I don’t hear from my instructor? This post explains our follow up process.
  • What is the Multi-Service Individual Training Record and how do I get it? This post has the spreadsheet many members use to track their courses.
  • I disagree with my score. What do I do? This explains how to dispute a score.

This Forum is also a good place to ask general questions. However, never ask specific course questions on a Forum, those are asked direct to your instructor. Remember, all courses and their questions are covered by the Official Secrets Act.

All students, regardless of service or promotion path, must start with the first enlisted or civilian course for their service, a -0001 / 01 numbered course, if they wish to begin taking courses. This is a prerequisite for everything. Though you may take courses from any service, it is best to start with the Basic Enlisted course for the military service you joined, the Core 01 course at SKU if you are a civilian, or the -0001 for Astro Control or Merchant Marine. Youth should take courses in the Sphinx Forestry Service Academy. To request your first course, go to www.trmn.org, Academies, and select the appropriate Course Request Form and fill in the required information. You will need your RMN number to request your course. Once you receive your Welcome email, log into your MEDUSA Service Record to find your RMN member number.

You will receive your first course via email within seven days of your request along with a copy of the Honorverse Compendium, which you can use as another reference to complete your courses. Please be aware that you may not share the Compendium with anyone; it is covered under the Official Secrets Act.

The courses are all “open book” learning opportunities, meaning you can use any of the resources listed in this manual to answer the questions. However, you cannot get the answers from someone else or work with others to complete the course, except as later described in the manual. The work must be your own. The purpose of the courses is for you to learn and seek the answers yourself. All BuTrain courses are controlled items and are covered by the Official Secrets Act. Completed answers or courses are not to be shared with any member. If you have any questions while taking the course, please ask your instructor as they are there to help you learn. However, please remember, do not share the Honorverse Compendium, your course, or answers with anyone, even your CO. Your CO will be able to see your grade in the MEDUSA database, as will you.

Once you are done with your course, email it back to your instructor using the official email in an editable format such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Open Office (send the actual file, not a link to the file on your cloud storage). Your instructor will grade the course within 7 days and send it back, along with a completion certificate and the next course in the series, if applicable. You will only get the next course if there is one in the series and you meet the prerequisites.

After you pass your first enlisted course, you may begin taking specialty courses while continuing to take your enlisted and officer courses. In fact, you can request and take as many courses at the same time as you want as long as you meet the prerequisites for each.

As you continue your studies, the courses will become harder and require you to do more research as they cover many topics in the Honorverse, TRMN, history, math, and science.

The following sections will provide you more detailed information on BuTrain and taking courses.

Requesting, Completing, Returning & Grading of your course

Before you can request a course, you must meet the prerequisites. If you don’t know what the prerequisites are, look at the specific course listings later in this manual.

To request a course, go to www.trmn.org and click on the Academies drop down list, select Course Request Form and select the correct form. You will need to select the school and course, and enter your name, a valid email address, your membership number, your branch of service, rank, and chapter. You will not be able to request a course until you have your membership number, which Can be found in your MEDUSA Service Record once you receive your welcome email.

Once you request a course, your instructor will receive an email letting them know you requested a course. Before sending you the course, they will verify in MEDUSA that you meet the prerequisites. If you meet the prerequisites, they will email the course to the email address you provided. Though it usually takes less time, instructors have seven (7) days to send you a course. Please be sure to check your spam and junk mail folders before assuming you did not get the course. If you do not get the course by the 7th day, on the 8th day please follow up using the procedures in the Communication and Course Response Timeline section or the pinned post “What do I do if I don’t hear from my instructor” in the Student Questions Forum. If you do not meet the prerequisites, the instructor will notify you by email and let you know what you need to do to meet them.

Most courses are set up in a path or topic (such as RMN Enlisted) with a series of courses in the path (all the RMN Enlisted rank courses). In a series of courses, the preceding course is always a prerequisite for the next course. However, there may also be additional prerequisites.

When you complete one course in the series and have met all prerequisites, the instructor will automatically send you the next course in the series when they return your completed and passed course. When you move from one path to another (RMN Enlisted to RMN Officer), you must request the initial course for that series. In other words, you must request the initial course in every path using the course request on the TRMN Website.  

Butrain course series path.png


You do not need to finish one full series in a path (for example, SIA-RMN-0001 to SIA-RMN-0006) to start another one if you meet the prerequisites. For example, the fourth enlisted course (SIA-RMN-0004) is a pre-requisite for the first officer course (SIA-RMN-0101) so members that want to take the officer courses (or go the officer route) will request SIA-RMN-0101 once they finish SIA-RMN-0004). The last course in a series is worth an extra promotion point, so there is an advantage to completing a full series of courses.

Completing a Course

The courses at BuTrain cover many topics, including history, military history, science, math, engineering, management, leadership, the Honorverse, and TRMN, and range in difficulty. They get progressively harder. Once you receive a course you may take as long as you want to complete and return it; there is no time limit and you need never return it if you change your mind. If you have had a course for an extended period we recommend you check with the instructor, using the official email address, to see if there is an updated course, but you don’t have to.

Each course is a Microsoft Word document and will be sent to you via email. You may complete the course using any document processing software and must return it in an editable format because your instructor needs to be able to provide comments and a score. If, for whatever reason, you can’t do this, please talk to your instructor to make other arrangements.

Course questions range from multiple choice, to short answer, to essay. When answering questions, particularly essay questions, you may copy text if you quote and cite it. However, we ask that you attempt to put all answers in your own words (paraphrase); a fully copied answered is allowed if it is quoted and cited, and the question did not ask you to put the answer in your own words. If the question specifically asked for the answer to be in your own words and you copy, quote, and cite the answer, you will get points deducted. When you paraphrase, you may still quote and cite important text that you want to ensure is captured as is or that you want to highlight. Most essay questions require you to provide a paragraph or two on the topic, not six pages. However, as you progress, the questions and answers will become more difficult and may require more work.  

Sources

You may use the following sources when researching and answering your questions.

  • The Honor Harrington books (each course should specify the range of Honorverse books the questions may have come from).
  • Internet websites including, but not limited to, Wikipedia, The TRMN Website. or https://honorverse.wikia.com The Honorverse Wikia Site].
  • Official TRMN documents such as manuals and Admiralty Orders found on Mantipedia and the forums.
  • The TRMN Honorverse Compendium (sent to you with your first enlisted or civilian course).
  • Any other relevant source materials you might find on your subject.

Since this is your opportunity to learn about the TRMN, the Honorverse, and other subjects, we require that all work must be your own work. You must do the research and write the answers. Open book simply means you may use the resources listed above. If you are stuck on a question or unsure of what to do, please talk to your instructor. They are there to help you and will assist as necessary. Don’t give up; please keep asking until you understand. The instructor may involve others in the chain of command to help you as the goal is for you to succeed and learn. Don’t worry how many times you must ask something to understand it. You may not ask others for help answering questions.

Many course questions ask what you would do in a situation or your opinion on a subject. The point of these questions is to get you to think about the subject and not recite specific answers or text. The key to your answer is a well-reasoned thought-out response. If such a question provides no guidance as to how to answer the question, such as requiring you to follow a certain policy or procedure when answering the question, use your best judgement and note what policy or procedure you are following.

Citations

Citations are required to provide credit to a source even if you didn’t quote them, to show you completed research, and to prevent plagiarism (see Plagiarism below). Therefore, you need to provide citations for your answers in the following situations:

  1. Any answer in which you used text copied directly from another source, including any Wikipedia source, to answer the question and/or illustrate your point. You must use quotation marks on all material directly copied.
  2. Any answer where the thought and reasoning are not your own even if it is in your own words (paraphrased).

You do not need to provide citations in the following situations:

  • For multiple choice questions or for short answer questions with specific answers. You may provide citations in these situations if you so desire.
  • For your own opinion unless you use someone else’s thoughts and/or ideas in forming those opinions.
  • For your personal knowledge. However, if your personal knowledge answer differs from the answer key you will need to provide a source to get your answer accepted. This is when personal knowledge will not suffice.

For questions requiring math, we ask that you show your work to allow your instructor to help you if you get an answer wrong and/or to award partial credit. However, if you choose not to show your work and you get the answer wrong, you will lose all points. If you use an online tool that includes all the formulas and does all the calculations for you when you input starting numbers, you must treat this as an answer that requires a citation as the answer is not the result of your own work. (This does not include using a calculator app.)

Citation format

We do not require you to follow any specific format for your citations. You only need to provide enough information for the instructor to verify your source, if necessary. This would include the book and page number or a website link. If the source documentation is not readily available and an instructor needs to verify your source for an answer that differs from their key, the instructor will ask you for the source document. If you do not provide your relevant source you may not get credit for that question.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as stealing and passing off someone else’s words or ideas as yours. This includes copying words or ideas from an internet or other source, another student, a BuTrain instructor or staff member, or the answer key, and passing them off as your own. You do this by not providing a citation for your source. At no time is it acceptable to use another student’s course answers or the answer key as an appropriate source, even if cited. This is against the Official Secrets Act. (See the section on Official Secrets Act and Cheating.)

Plagiarism FAQ

How do I avoid plagiarism? 
As noted in No. 1 and 2 above under Citations, if you copy any text directly from a source you must enclose it in quotation marks and provide a citation. If you use someone else’s ideas or thoughts in your answer or to develop your answer, even if you paraphrase the information, you must provide a source.
What is paraphrasing? 
To paraphrase something means you take the thoughts and ideas of someone else and put them in your own words. This is more than changing a word or two. The entire sentence structure must be different. When you paraphrase something, it is still not your own thoughts, so you must provide a citation.

In addition, if we find you have copied another student’s answers or the answer key, you will be investigated for cheating as described in the section Official Secrets Act and Cheating. You are not allowed at any time in any situation to copy another student’s answer or the answer key or work together with another student on an answer, even if you provide a citation.

See What is plagiarism? for further information on plagiarism.

Returning your course

When you have completed your course, save it to your appropriate folder with the course number and your name in the file name and email it to your instructor at their official TRMN email. Never use an instructor’s personal email. The official email will always be forwarded to someone and ensures emails do not get lost as instructors change. Remember, instructors have 7 days to grade and return a course, unless they are posted as being off. If they are off, those days are not counted in the 7 days.

Course Survey

BuTrain is continually looking to improve its courses and processes. To that end, in your email returning your graded course you should be sent a link to a survey. We ask you to please take a minute to fill out this survey to let us know how we are doing. We review this on at least a monthly basis and take any necessary actions to continually improve our services to you.

Course grading

Each course question will have the number of points it is worth indicated in the question. Most questions are worth 10 points if not noted otherwise on the course. An instructor will award partial credit if the answer is only partially correct or incomplete. Courses are scored as follows:

  • 100 percent = High Honors
  • 90 to 99.9 percent = Honors
  • 70 to 89.9 percent = Pass

Point Deductions

In addition to wrong answers, points will be deducted for the following:

  • Failure to paraphrase your answer when requested in the question/course.
  • Failure to use quotation marks on quoted text (text not your own/copied from another source).
  • Failure to provide a citation on a paraphrased or copied answer.

Point deductions will be as follows:

  1. In the first three rank courses (military and civilian): You will be provided a warning.
  2. In all subsequent courses (military and civilian) in any BuTrain Academy, University, College, or School: Points will be deducted as follows:
    1. -3 points for failing to provide a required source citation.
    2. -3 points for failing to use quotation marks when required.
    3. -5 points for not paraphrasing an answer when requested (that is, you simply copied the answer).

For example,

  • If you fail to paraphrase an answer when requested and fail to provide a citation, you will be deducted 8 points (5 points for failure to paraphrase the answer and 3 points for failure to provide a citation).
  • If you copy text for your answer and fail to use quotation marks or provide a citation you will be deducted 6 points (3 for failure to use quotation marks and 3 for failure to provide a citation).

Passing a Course

You must score at least 70 percent or higher to pass a course. If you score less than 70 percent, your course will be returned to you and you will be told which essay and short answer questions you missed and be given the opportunity to retake the course until you pass. If you missed multiple choice questions you will only be told how many multiple choice questions you got wrong, not which ones are wrong. Once you pass the course, your score will be the average score of your courses or 70 percent, whichever is greater. The lowest passing grade anyone will receive is 70 percent. Grades under passing will not be recorded in any way. If you passed on the first attempt (scored 70 percent of greater), you are not allowed to retake the course.

Course Return

Your instructor will return your graded course within 7 days via email (see Communication and Course Response Time below for information on what to do if you do not hear from your instructor within 7 days). If there is a reason you may need a course returned in an expedited manner, such as for a ship commissioning, please note this in your email when submitting your course. Your instructor will do all they can to expedite the grading of your course, but there is no guarantee. Your returned graded course will include any comments or feedback on your answers and your grade. You will also be sent a certificate of completion, as available, and the next course in the series if you meet the prerequisites.

Your instructor also will enter your grade into MEDUSA; you can verify it was properly entered when you receive your graded course.

Grade Dispute

You have the right to dispute any grade on any course. If you do not agree with your grade, respectfully email your instructor to discuss the question or questions. You instructor will review your request and may ask you to provide any source material, as necessary, so they may research your answer. If your answer does not match the answer key but you provide a legitimate source and it answers the question, you should be awarded credit. After you receive a response from your instructor, you may escalate your dispute up the chain of command. If you don’t feel comfortable contacting your instructor, you may contact the BuTrain CSMCPO or the SMCPON.

Accessibility

If you have any special needs when taking courses, such as physical or learning challenges, please let your instructor or the Accessibility Officer know immediately so they may make the appropriate arrangements to help you succeed. TRMN is committed to accessibility and harnessing the talents and skills of ALL our members. TRMN values its diversity and is striving every day to take advantage of that diversity in a productive manner. You may contact the Accessibility Officer at accessibility@butrain.trmn.org.

Communication and Course Response Timeline

Instructors at BuTrain have 7 days to provide you a course or return a graded course though they usually are more prompt. Please always be sure to check your email spam and junk mail folders and check to see if an instructor is posted as off before acting.

NOTE: If an instructor is off, they will fill out the leave tracking sheet, which you can access via the “What schools are closed” pinned post in the Student Questions Forum. Please check this post if you are waiting on a course. If the instructor is off, there may be alternate contact information listed; if so, please follow it. Otherwise, please be patient and your instructor will get back to you as soon as they can. The days an instructor is posted as off do not count in the 7 day response requirement.

If you do not hear back from the instructor within 7 days (provided your instructor has not posted they are off), take the following steps:

  1. On the 8th day, send the instructor an email follow-up, including your submitted course, and copy the instructor’s supervisor. Wait 24 hours.
  2. If you still do not get a response to this email within 24 hours, send an email, including the submitted course, to the same individuals and add in the next person in the chain of command and the appropriate chief of staff. Wait 24 hours. (You can find individual supervisors on the BuTrain Roster.)
  3. If you do not get a response to this email within the next 24 hours, keep repeating step 2, adding in the next person in the chain of command (and appropriate chief of staff), and escalating it every 24 hours you don’t get a response. Take it all the way up to the 6SL, D6SL, and BuTrain Chief of Staff, if necessary.

Hopefully, you will get a response well before getting to the 6SL. At no time should you wait weeks before contacting someone when you are not getting a response. Many times, BuTrain does not know there are problems until someone tells us. We will immediately take steps to remedy any problems and get courses to students or graded. However, please remember that sometimes real life interferes with TRMN and things may not work exactly as planned. Please be patient and understanding. If at any time you don’t know what to do or who to contact, you can always contact the chief of staff for the school you are working on courses in. All the email addresses for all BuTrain Faculty and Staff can be found on the BuTrain Roster.

Faculty Information

As noted earlier, contact information (official TRMN email addresses) for all BuTrain faculty and staff can be found in a sticky/pinned post on the BuTrain Roster. Please use this resource if you need to contact an instructor or check the chain of command. At all times, we ask that you use the official TRMN email address as that will always be directed to someone, even if the position is vacant.

Study Groups and Collaboration

Students completing courses at BuTrain are expected to do their own work at all times. In short, academic honesty is expected of all members as they complete coursework. However, it is also recognized that the sharing of ideas and discussion between members can benefit all involved as well as, possibly, decreasing ‘test anxiety’ on more open-ended questions found in many BuTrain courses.

To allow some collaboration, some courses may be marked as containing questions that allow for a limited form of collaboration. These courses will be clearly marked with a brief statement about collaboration on the front page, and each question students can collaborate on will be clearly identified as [COLLABORATION OK]. Students may ONLY collaborate on those questions which have been marked as such. Implementation of this process is new and ongoing. Do not expect all courses to have COLLABORATION OK statements.

Collaboration means students may discuss the question in a group setting with other students, including ideas for answers. Collaboration does not mean students may discuss their answers, develop answers together, or share their answers. Each student must write their own answer after the discussion is done. The point of collaboration is the sharing of ideas only. Students who have completed a course may be present during and participate in the discussions but are forbidden from sharing the correct answer to any question under discussion or guiding the discussion in any way.

Finally, if you collaborate on any permitted question, the names of all members involved in any discussion of the question must be noted as part of each student’s answer. For example, if Amelia Pond, Sarah Jane Smith, and Jack Harkness all discuss a particular question and ideas for answers, then each of their individual responses must be (A) in their own words and (B) include the names of the other collaborators. For instance, Amelia Pond’s response to the question might include a sentence such as: “This question was discussed with Sarah Jane Smith and Jack Harkness.” Students who turn in identical responses to the same collaboration question will be investigated for cheating.