BuTrain:Policies

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TRMN Official Secrets Act and Cheating

All courses in their entirety including individual questions and answers are governed by the Official Secrets Act (Admiralty Order 1511-07). Misuse or unapproved dissemination of any courses, questions from courses, and course answers by students and/or BuTrain staff or copying of other members’ courses by student’s will result in an investigation by the instructor, the instructor’s chain of command, and the Sixth Space Lord and Deputy Sixth Space Lord. Depending on the results of that investigation, the student’s commanding officer and/or Fleet Commander may be brought in to further the investigation and recommend disciplinary action. If the cheating is found to be significant, involving numerous parties or those in leadership positions, the findings from the internal investigation will be provided to the Judge Advocate General (with a copy to the individual’s Fleet Commander) for investigation and appropriate action.

Any course found to have been cheated on will have a FAIL entered in MEDUSA. This course will not count toward promotion points, awards, or any Honor Society. Students may petition the Sixth Space Lord after a year to be allowed to retake a failed course.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the suspected cheating, disciplinary action may range from allowing the student to take an alternate rank course, up to and including loss of leadership positions or expulsion from TRMN.

Cheating Policy FAQ

Q: Can I discuss a question with another student if we both write up our own answers?
A: No, at this time you may not discuss questions as they appear on any courses with anyone but the course instructor or a BuTrain member in the instructor’s chain of command. However, there is a process in this manual that allows discussion of certain questions. See Study Groups and Collaboration.

Q: My Commanding Officer is an instructor at BuTrain or part of BuTrain staff. Can they provide me a copy of a course?
A: No, only the course instructor may provide you a copy of a course after verification that you meet the prerequisites except in an approved remote academy situation. See also the section in the manual on the Remote Testing Institute (RTI).

Q: These courses are supposed to be fun. Why can’t we work together to come up with answers?
A: 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. Please see the Study Groups and Collaboration section for more information.

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.

References