Didaktics of media: Learning unit two – Report

This blog post is one part of the series “learning diary” for a course at my university.

Goal of this report is to take and rate a online learning unit. For the second learning unit we should take a video based course. I watched a course on the platform http://pluralsight.com.

Short synopsis of the unit:

The course “Building Highly Scalable Web Applications in Azure” is a video based course on the platform http://pluralsight.com. Pluralsight is a provider for video based online training with 3.500 courses on different topics. The courses aren’t free but there is a 10 day / 200 minutes trial. Also you can sign up for the Microsoft Visual Studio Dev Essential Program (free) and get three months of Pluralsight training for free.

The top categories of courses provided by Pluralsight
The top categories of courses provided by Pluralsight

The chosen course was an intermediate course and perceived very well (4.5 out of 5 stars with 173 ratings). I chose this course because the topic was interesting to me (I do work in a company with Microsoft stack) and I already have read some blog posts about the author. Additionally the allotted time (2hours, 23 minutes) sounded reasonably for me (there are courses worth of 15 hours) for this unit.

The title is very descriptive: The course covered some of the most important steps one have to think of, if one tries to refactor an ASP.NET MVC web application to a highly available, highly scalable Microsoft Azure application.

Reflection on your personal learning experience

I perceived this course as a great addition to my knowledge. I worked with Microsoft Azure on some private pet projects, yet hadn’t any chance (or the need) to create a highly scalable one. Because of my previous knowledge the intended audience “intermediate” was fitting well. I have to admit, that because of the length of the course I kept loose the concentration. I paused the course on two occasions but continued shortly after wards.

Did you achieve the stated learning goals?

It is hard to say if I now would be able to create a highly scalable web application in Azure without having to look some details up. None the less I feel reasonably proficient now to help in such a project and (with some details looked up) even do my own scalable project.

Did the given time suffice?

The allocated time for the eLearning units has been around 90 minutes. As I already stated, the course took two hours and 23 minutes. Therefore the time did not suffice or to put it in other words: I did choose a too long course for this unit.

Comment on the design – what was good, what could be made better?

The course design is terrific. The course is split in eight separate modules, which could be watched in any order. A sequential flow is intended though. Every module is than separated in sub modules with their own “mini-agenda”.

Table of content of the course

The video itself was well organized and the audio and video quality excellent. At the start of every module the speaker gave an overview what we will learn in this module, what these techniques will help to achieve and what the consequences would be, if these techniques got neglected. Most of the modules showed a load test at the start and the end to show the impact of the changes at a demo project. After every module a summary was drawn.

Summary on the third module
Summary on the third module

Positive and negative aspects of the contents of the unit

I am very satisfied with this course as already mentioned. If I would need to be nit-picky I could criticize the rash showings of the code of the demo project. I had to pause the video to fully understand the changes in the code.

Also one of the implemented techniques is not quite clear to me how this help in a real world application.

Grade the course on a scale of 0-10.

I would grade the course a ten out of ten but only if all minor flaws would have been resolved. Therefore I give it a nine out of ten.

Pluralsight in general and this course in special was very interesting and I’m looking forward to watch more of their videos.

Other comments

Also: I did the test afterwards and gained a Certificate of Achievement!

My Certificate of Achivement for doing the test
My Certificate of Achivement for doing the test

Update 17.01.2016: Updated the introduction. Nasty copy and Paste bug…