ASL – Course Prep – Forward Observer Shop

ASL – Course Prep

Hello and welcome to Area Study Live.  I’m Samuel Culper and I’ll be your instructor for this course. Below you’ll find the course syllabus, which will provide you with some course details and expectations of our schedule for the next month.

Before getting started (if you haven’t already), please provide me with responses to the following four questions:

  1. Preferred first name
  2. County and State of the Area Study (so we can begin finding resources for you)
  3. Desired outcome/goals for this Area Study
  4. Top concerns for your area (as general or specific as you want)

This information will help me teach the course and ensure that we are meeting your objectives/goals.



“If I always appear to be prepared, it is because before entering on an undertaking, I have meditated for long and have foreseen what may occur. It is not genius which reveals to me suddenly and secretly what I should do in circumstances unexpected by others, it is thought and meditation.” – Napoleon Bonaparte, Intelligence Practitioner

Dates: 12 Feb – 05 Mar 2019

Lectures: Tuesdays, 7pm Central

Office Hours: Instructors may be reached via email ( or the ASL Slack Channel. (Message me directly in the chat room if you require assistance. I will check messages at least once per day and typically be active here most of the day and some evenings.)

Description: Area Study Live prepares students to direct, gather, compile, produce, and organize intelligence in order to build an Area Study intelligence product. Students will receive access to live and recorded lectures, lessons, and course material covering critical skills, concepts, and resources. Over the course of four weeks, instructors will lead students through the Area Study process, enabling students to build their own Area Study products.

Course Schedule:

  • Tuesday, 05 FEB: Course Prep & Study Materials
  • Tuesday, 12 FEB: ASL Lesson One (7pm)
  • Tuesday, 17 FEB: ASL Lesson Two (7pm)
  • Tuesday, 19 FEB: ASL Lesson Three (7pm)
  • Tuesday, 05 MAR: ASL Lesson Four (7pm)

All recorded lectures, lesson outlines, and course materials will be provided through this portal. Individual lessons may be accessed here:


Course Materials:

  • 1x 3-ring binder (1-3″ depending on expected volume of information)
  • 1x pack of insertable dividers (like Avery 11109, pictured below)
  • RECOMMENDED: Evernote*
  • RECOMMENDED: GoogleEarth
  • Notebook (if desired)
  • Printer and paper to print the Area Study once we’re done


*Additionally, I recommend you use the free version of Evernote ( It makes digital note-taking very easy. Plus, you can ‘clip’ web pages from your browser and automatically save them to your Evernote notebooks (tool and tutorial here).


Course Study Materials:

I will provide resources and downloads in each lesson of Area Study Live, however, you may also find the following publications useful for self-study and/or later reference:


On Tuesday, 12 February I’ll publish Lesson One. I’ll do the live lecture and help session on Tuesday evening at 7pm, and you’ll have until Monday night the following week to complete this portion of your Area Study. Each new lesson will be published on Tuesday.

For the average area, I would plan for about four hours per week of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) gathering and organizing information into your Area Study.

PLEASE check your email and/or the Slack channel regularly as I’ll be sending out the registration links to join the GoToWebinar sessions.

Next up: Tuesday, 12 February – REGISTER HERE.

I’ll see everyone on Tuesday evening.

Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Name *