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Marty - considered online teaching?

Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Hi Marty, welcome to the ranch.
I noticed that your book serves as a basis for your courses, naturally. (There, I mentioned the book, am I eligible to win one now? )
I was wondering if you'd ever considered developing online courses, or have already. What are your thoughts on teaching distance online courses?

Cheers,
Pauline
Marty Hall
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2003
Posts: 111
I noticed that your book serves as a basis for your courses, naturally. (There, I mentioned the book, am I eligible to win one now? )
I was wondering if you'd ever considered developing online courses, or have already. What are your thoughts on teaching distance online courses?

Well, a couple of thoughts:
  • I already put PDF of the course materials online for free access.

  • See http://courses.coreservlets.com/Course-Materials/.
  • I already put PDF of the complete first edition of the book online for free access. See http://pdf.coreservlets.com/
  • I have an online Tomcat "Getting Started" Guide online at

  • http://www.coreservlets.com/Apache-Tomcat-Tutorial/
  • So, I certainly believe in putting tutorial information online.

  • However, that is not the same as an online course. Most of the JSP/servlet training courses I teach are onsite at customer locations, and I like to think that they offer the following benefits:
    - I developed them personally, so they (hopefully!) reflect lots of real-world experience and practical how-to and best-practices advice.
    - I teach them personally (no contract instructors teaching someone else's materials), so students can ask lots of questions.
    - They include lots of hands-on exercises, and I can work with students as they are trying out the exercises to explain the concepts and answer questions about high-level strategies or low-level syntax.
    - They can be customized to suit the needs of the client (at least the on-site ones can be; this is a bit harder in the public, open-enrollment courses). For instance, I can add or remove topics such as Java basics, Struts, JSTL, JDBC, and Web application security depending on whether the client needs such material.

    Anyhow, I am just not convinced that an online course can capture enough of these distinctives to make an online course significantly better than simply using a book or printed tutorials/guides. So, this is a long-winded way of saying "no" to your question: I plan on continuing to offer printed tutorials/guides/references/books and live personally-taught courses, but not online courses.

    Cheers-
    - Marty
    [ November 11, 2003: Message edited by: Marty Hall ]

    Java training and consulting
    Jessica Sant
    Sheriff

    Joined: Oct 17, 2001
    Posts: 4313

    Anyhow, I am just not convinced that an online course can capture enough of these distinctives to make an online course significantly better than simply using a book or printed tutorials/guides.
    I think its a good call Marty... I took an online course for school last quarter and it was awful. I guess I'm one of those people that really needs the visual / audio / in-person interaction that only a live course can bring.
    The "online course" I took, consisted of a listing of PPT slides (lectures) that we were supposed to read every week along with select chapters from the book. An online discussion (a bulletin board where the prof asked one question every week and you were supposed to reply) and several assignments. The course was nothing I couldn't have gotten on my own from just reading the book.


    - Jess
    Blog:KnitClimbJava | Twitter: jsant | Ravelry: wingedsheep
    Pauline McNamara
    Sheriff

    Joined: Jan 19, 2001
    Posts: 4012
        
        6
    I think most online courses would be hard put to compete with a good "in class" course. If it takes some creativity to capture the attention of "live" students, it takes all the more imagination for an online course.
    The course was nothing I couldn't have gotten on my own from just reading the book.
    Your example is all too common, Jess, unfortunately.
    Since you're so involved in teaching, Marty, I was curious if you'd come up with ways to approach the quality of your courses in an online situation. It makes perfect sense that there wouldn't be much incentive to change a successful program. Just curious, is any demand for it at all?

    Cheers,
    Pauline
    Marty Hall
    Author
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jan 02, 2003
    Posts: 111
    Since you're so involved in teaching, Marty, I was curious if you'd come up with ways to approach the quality of your courses in an online situation.

    Well, I already put all my course notes (see
    http://courses.coreservlets.com/Course-Materials/) and the first edition of the book online for free access. Many people, myself included, think that this combination is useful. I just don't think of it as a "course."
    What I haven't found is a good point in between this and the "real" courses I teach at client sites or at public venues. Perhaps you could do something with great effort, but I still wonder if it would be that much better than the combination of the slides and the book.
    Cheers-
    - Marty
     
    wood burning stoves
     
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