DAU has wonderful online courses – they’re the best I’ve taken so far. However, DAU has amazing features that are underused. These tools go beyond the classroom and promote memory retention and post-classroom learning. Awareness of and utilizing these DAU resources will improve your acquisition knowledge.
(NOTE: if DAU sites say your or the site’s certificate isn’t recognized, just keep going. DAU is a gov-run site, so it’s safe. No viruses).
Like Wikipedia, but for acquisition.
This is a great feature. As of this writing, there are 157 articles broken down into five general areas: business, contracting, engineering & tech, life cycle logistics, and program management. These articles include comprehensive information like definite, general narrative and best practices.
All that being said, Acquipedia has some major flaws. First, Acquipedia is essentially a dead community. There is very little activity to update new information. Second, there are only 157 articles. While this is better than 156 articles, there are areas it doesn’t cover – there isn’t even an article for Fixed Price Contracts. An acquisiton wiki that doesn’t cover something that basic has to have its comprehensiveness questioned.
Still, Acquipedia is a good start in the same spirit as the successful gov-run wikis like internal agency wikis like CIA’s Intellipedia and State Department’s Diplopedia. An active editing community would solve its problems by adding more articles.
DAU Lessons on iTunes
Let’s face it: most people will only study what is necessary to do their job (although they won’t admit it). To get the average, jaded, unmotivated acquisition professional studying more than the basics, learning must be (a) convenient, (b) easy-to-use, and (c) relatively painless.
Audio and/or visual lessons such as DAU lessons on iTunes really shine in this area.
Roughly 70% of the digital music market is owned by Apple, so it makes real sense to have these lessons on iTunes. Even better, many (if not all) of the lessons are free. The materials seem to keep being added as of this writing, so there is active effect to add new knowledge. Always encouraging.
Ask a Professor (AAP)
First, see if your question has already been asked. (A running database of Q & As is maintained). If not, just ask a question, and a DAU representative will get back to you with a comprehensive answer.
If you have a question that doesn’t have to be answered right away, this is a useful feature. A number of my supervisors and coworkers recommend this feature.
The only recommendation for this is dropping the acronym. I mean, really? Does Ask a Professor have to be acronym-ized to AAP? I know acronyms are commonplace in the Navy, but come on. This is just overkill.
These 3 areas are pretty creative features, and they’ll get better over time. Use them, and I promise you’ll be a better acquisition professional.