My goal during this period of downtime and reflection was to take a number of application server courses with an eye to sharpening skills on various products and technologies that have interested me but in which I have not had an opportunity to experience at first-hand. I’ve blogged about these in previous posts.
My personal goal is to complete the following eLearning courses with an eye not toward mastery, as mastery only comes through hands-on experience but toward gaining a basic understanding behing the technology and taking the labs to gain some rudimentary experience.
- 6420 Collection Fundamentals Windows 2008 Network Infrastructure
- 6427 Collection Implementing and Maintaining IIS7
- 6369 Collection Implement SQL 2008
- 6319 Collection Hyper-V
- 10186 Collection Exchange 2010
- 3386 System Center Operations Manager 2007
- System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008
What’s in it?
I started this course on 2/15/2011. This collection is composed of five courses focused on providing an overview of the product and installing it on a server, Monitoring servers, monitoring Exchange Server, SQL Server and Windows clients. I said this course was dated. Did I mention that some material mentions “MOM”? The servers in the labs are Windows Server 2003, SQL Server 2005 and Exchange 2003. The client machine is Vista. Ugh!
The good news is that I was able to connect to all the labs. Yes!. Unfortunately all of them were as slow as “snake shit”. A friend of mine who works at Microsoft recently remarked that Microsoft products are there to just “…burn your time…” It’s true. The virtual machines are configured with minimum memory, say 512MB or 768MB for a server. Stare at the hourglass. It’s hypnotic. Watch as nothing happens for minutes!
I finally gave up on this experience as I had other more important things to do, like white this blog before the bad memories are permanently flused from my brain.
Oh, did I mention that the material, like all course materiel could just as easily be incorporated into an Adobe PDF rather than click through the various amusement sections. As a pdf, they could be downloaded to my Kindle where I could rapidly click through the uninteresting parts. Oh, I forgot, that would place the intellectual property at risk – so that’s why they are a collection of flash files.
OffLine course viewer
Enter the Microsoft eLearning OffLine Viewer! You have the ability in each course to go through the static material offline in the comfort of your own personal computing environment. Presumably disconnected form the internet. Anyway, You must be online to experience the labs. Not sure why this is so and I don’t care to know. When you’re done, the idea is to synchronize your work with the online component. You’re access to the course content lasts for over a year from the signup date and you can review any section as many times as you want. Presumably, the OffLine content expires when the collection does.
As I’ve been saying, I wouldn’t pay to take these courses. I would get more value out od reading a book than having to click through sections and read. The demonstrations are accurate and illustrate the concept. Almost everyone starts of by “click start, then program files, Microsoft System center Operations manager 2007, then Operations manager…” or what ever course product we’re working with. After the second demo, I understand where “start” is located. The worst offender, perhaps because there were the most demos, was SQL Server 2008. And last, the labs, the only thing that I was interested in with all of these courses, are unreliable and slow.
It’s clear that Microsoft spent a lot of $$$ to implement this program in course preparation, materials and delivery. They charge for this product and employ a support team. With my experience in the Exchange course, I can’t believe that there is an audience actively participating in this program.
To be fair, there are courses aimed at the consumer like office and there are a number of them geared toward certification exams. I havent taken any of these courses but I would bet based on my past experience that Lynda.com would offer better value. As far as the certification exams, I would only hope that the material coincides with the actual exams. Again, based on past experiences taking exams and using “‘study guides” from 3rd parties, one can only hope.
That’s it for now. I hear my car starting.This posting is provided “as is” with no warranties, guaranties or any rights whatsoever. All content is based on the author’s experiences and opinions and is not intended to influence the actions of the reader.