Writing Courseware: 10961 PowerShell Class

by Don Jones


We’re in the process of working on a 10961C revision to the Microsoft PowerShell course, and I’ve been reviewing the anonymous comments submitted by MCTs and students on 10961A (the “B” rev, which is what was produced after our beta teach, is just now orderable so we don’t have comments yet).

By the way – if you’re a student or MCT who has taken/delivered 10961A, you’re welcome to contact me directly if you want to share any info on typos you found. Would like to fix those. Microsoft unfortunately didn’t bill 10961A as “pre-beta,” which it was, and I think that may have not properly set some expectations.

Anyway, if you’ve ever taken a course and thought anything bad about the courseware (not necessarily the instructor), take a look at these comment excerpts from this one course:

By day 3 (5 day class) most students felt over-whelmed. I had to move some of the chapters around to give them time to acclimate to the product before continuing onto more advanced topics. Students agreed that this shifting around of material was essential, allowing them to absorb what was covered in the first 2 days.

There was not nearly enough material to fill a 5 day class. Students ended up leaving very early on the last two days.

The class had too much repetition of some concepts.

Students were not given enough time or repetition on core fundamentals.

Right. Same class. No idea what to do with that, as a courseware designer.

(and by the way, this is after parsing through hundreds of comments from students who took the class remotely and were extremely dissatisfied with the experience. Believe me, you want to take training live and in-person.)

There’s also a question of, “what the heck were you expecting?”

was looking for more examples and understanding of using exchange and AD comandlet.

Missed basic knowledge of Workflows and Web Access.

Should include Flowchart among new features released in Version 3 [as soon as I figure out what feature ‘flowchart’ is, I’ll get right on it]

There was nothing geared toward using PowerShell with SQL Server.

Some material and labs not as relevant for me specifically without a networking/server background. I will likely use exclusively for SharePoint.

The book should have covered creating functions that utilize pipeline content coming in, and Filtering commandlets. Discussion about creating Gui components or a reference to it in the book would be helpful.

Astonishing, because none of these things are mentioned in the course description. Can you imagine writing a generic PowerShell course that included examples specific to [__insert technology here__]? Everyone else in the room would be bored and hate it. Look, you’ve got one comment from a SharePoint admin with no networking/server experience. Goodness. A few folks suggested more AD examples – which I’d used in 10325, the predecessor course, and gotten tons of comments along the lines of, “I don’t do AD in my organization so all of the examples were useless to me.” O-kay! Can’t win ‘em all, I guess.

I think a lot of instructors miss the point on teaching PowerShell, which is to focus on teaching the shell and its discoverability mechanisms. I think setting expectations with students is key, too – let them know you’re not covering Exchange or SQL or SharePoint or Lync or whatever, but instead focusing on the core shell. And not even everything the shell does – 5 days isn’t enough time. In fact, that’s why 55039 is being offered – to provide the functions/programming side of the class.

Anywho – love your feedback if you’ve taught or taken the class! We have a few weeks in which to decide what we’re doing with 10961C.

About the Author

About Don Jones

Don Jones is a Windows PowerShell MVP, author of several Windows PowerShell books (and other IT books), Co-founder and President/CEO of PowerShell.org, PowerShell columnist for Microsoft TechNet Magazine, PowerShell educator, and designer/author of several Windows PowerShell courses (including Microsoft's). Power to the shell!

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