Thinking Technology

Archive for the ‘IT Certifications’ Category

Certifications & Windows Server 8

yep, must be thawed, another post so soon.

So I was looking for text book for CIS 287M, Microsoft Security. It would appear that I’m going to be adding this class to my list of classes I teach. I came across this book:

I thought, awesome. I saw it had some good materials in at a first glance so I passed it along to my dept chair. And he came back with, you know that book is for a certification.

WHAT! No, I didn’t. I’ll have to look at the book in greater detail to see if it’ll work, BUT I hadn’t heard of that Cert before. At first thought it was for a new Microsoft Security product. Nope, it’s a new certification, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA).

Oh technology, blink and you’ll miss it!

So off I go to:

And end up here:

This MTA exam is apparently an entry-level exam. I’ve heard almost nothing about it before coming across the book. But that doesn’t mean anything. I’m not as connected as I once was. I’ll have to do some more investigation before I’m able to pass judgment.


Windows Server 8!

Really! I’d heard the talk about Windows 8 the client version. And I really haven’t taken the time to figure out the deal. But I KNEW it wouldn’t be long before the Server equivalent came out. And it’s on its way.

So the next thing on my reading list (aside from articles on distance learning, and text books on research methods):

Teaching & Learning

Well look at that…. It’s already week 3 of the term! This is the first block of time I’ve had to sneak off and jot down my thoughts.

Where to begin – My CIS 225 class was cancelled. That was a major disappointment. It was the only class 100% ready to roll for Fall term. It certainly cut back my workload. So, its not all bad. We’ll take another shot at it in Winter Term. Hopefully enrollment will be better.

I’m going to have to change my office hour schedule – these two long days are wearing me out! 12+ hours on Wednesday & Thursday. I’m in bed by 9:30 just about every night and I’m still beat!  Ole people need more sleep. So I need to plan out my new office hours. Thinking Tuesday morning/afternoon, Wednesday all day and late on Thursday.

CIS 289M – is going well. The TA is keeping things caught up. I’m focused on development. Proofing labs and getting the captioning done on my video lectures.

I was part of a guiding team over the summer. The guiding team was assembled to develop recommendations for PCC regarding how to make sure our courses are accessible for students with disabilities. I was selected for the team because of my experience with instructor created media. I use a lot of it. I learned a lot from my time on this team, including how to do my own captioning of my video lectures.  I also participated in a video about the topic:

CIS 287I – Hopefully this class gels together soon! Its not there yet. Maybe having a better vision for the class would help.

My own school – wow! It’s keeping me very busy, the writing class doesn’t have a lot of “work” but a hell of a lot of knowledge to be had. I’ll be very familiar with the dissertation process by the end of this course. I’ll also have several sections of my dissertation completed. (Provided I do not make any major changes to my topic) I took a quiz on the process and didn’t do so hot.

My Higher Education in the US class is a lot of work. A whole lot of work! This class only has two weeks left. That didn’t take long @ all! Of course I’ve got a lot of work to take care of between now and then. The important note for this class, getting knocked of my academic high horse. I have a pretty structured process for doing assignments. It involves having a clear understanding of the assignment and the details of what is required. (same things I harp on my students about). Whelp, I managed to miss a major portion of an assignment. Not sure how, just spaced it. Proved I need to pay a little closer attention to detail – ALL THE TIME! Picked up a few bruises on that fall. But we need those on occasion, keep us humble.

I’m trying to work out the details of my course of study….. There are 3 research classes that you are SUPPOSE to take one right after another (intro to research, quantitative research and qualitative research). They are all on campus classes & 14 weeks. That’s makes for a long stretch of trips to Seattle. That takes its toll. Aside from those $$ and wear and tear of the trips, I get a little worried about loosing some of the knowledge as I progress through the program.

However, there are a few pros.

1st – Once these classes are done, I’d got at least a year or so with NO trips to Seattle. The next trip would be at almost the very end of my program.

2nd – I’d have all the technical knowledge I’d need to finish my dissertation. In theory, I’d be able to work on my dissertation concurrently with remaining course work. That would be a major boon to getting through the process with the quickness. That’s provided I don’t do any major changes to my topic.

Also if I’m going to take the track as outlined, I’m going to need to sign up for a stats class real soon to sharpen my skillz. (sharpen…. hell find ‘em!)

I haven’t done any cert study, sad panda. Not for a lack of trying. That’s for sure. I just have to pick my battles.

Summer, that’s a wrap!

I survived the first two weeks of my two classes and I’m neck deep in week three.

Out the starting gates it is a heck of a lot of work and I’m barely keeping it together. I am horribly behind on reading, something I expected to happen in fairly short order. Reading has ALWAYS been something I have struggled with. While I understand the importance of reading, it always seem to be on the back burner. For years, at least ten, I have wanted to change that aspect of my existence and it has not happened. Not professionally or leisurely.    And if I haven’t been able to change all these years, I am not sure how I’m going to inflict change.

Continued quest for self-improvement!

There is proving to be a healthy dose of overlap between the higher education class and then writing class. Not content-wise, but assignment-wise. I know I will have a clear understanding of the process. I also feel like my topic will have fairly rough boarders. My topic is certainly starting to take shape.

I am back on campus, it is in-service week! Meetings, meetings & yes! More meetings. This has eaten up a lot of this week.

My key to all of this is going to have to be staying organized. I will have to make sure I have a clear understanding of every assignment and when it is due. I will have to make sure I know what I have to do for teaching and gauge how long it will take. That has always been a challenge for me. Being realistic about the time it will take for me to accomplish most tasks.

With what seemed like non-stop work over the summer, I am not 100% ready for the start of the term as I had hoped. I wouldn’t even say 50%. That is very disappointing. It doesn’t help that the ONE class that was 100% ready to roll for the start of the term got cancelled due to lack of enrollment! That sucked. So its going to be another crazy fall term. Trying to stay ahead of the game.

My other projects for summer, also seem totally unfulfilled. Seems like that is always the case.

So much self reflection and need for improvement. Its hard to find a starting place.

Major Update

I finished my first class, not a whole lot to say – other than…. I’m glad its done. 1 down, 15 to go!

I got to talk with the Chair of the dept which was interesting. I now have a fairly clear idea on how the competency exam works. Cyn (My wife) will be taking that in May. It’s pretty much what Cyn had gathered over the course of the program but the details are a bit more filled in. It’s 4 questions, the first question relates to your field of study. The second is a research question based on the first question. The last two are ethics related to research and something else. You have 7 days to complete it. It must be a fully annotated multi-page paper for each question. I’ll get to that after my course work.

I’m going to hammer out two class starting the second week in Sept. I’m going to take online classes for winter and then in spring take the very first research class. I plan to take a Stats class at PCC before I take the second research class. That’s the class Cyn just finished and it wasn’t good tymes. Refreshing my stats will help me focus more on the class.

Fall term is fast approaching, about a month away. Did I accomplish everything I set up to accomplish, heck no! But I’ll say it was pretty dang productive. Sept until Dec is going to CRAZY. And work now will save pain in the future.

Cert study picked up a little steam, I’ve got a new R2 Cert book. Of course right after I picked up the new book, MS Press released the updated R2 book. I prefer MS press books, but what’s done is done.

Honestly, I don’t see myself EVER passing this cert exam. On my list of priorities it seems to be pretty low. I’d really like to take that test and get it off my chest, but we shall see.

My preparation for Fall term moves along. My CIS 225 class is ready to go. My 289M class is moving along – 287I is no close to where it should be. Gonna have to get cracking on that soon.

My plan for 289M is to get up to Module 4 complete then move onto 287I. I’m getting there.

I joined a PCC guiding team over the summer to help develop the standards for online course materials in relation to students with disabilities. This team is there to make recommendation to the college on how to ensure classes are meeting the needs of students with disabilities.

I was asked to join the team because I use a lot of multimedia in my courses. Mostly recordings of my lectures.

One of the things that came out of the meetings, I can produce my own captioning on my videos. The program I use, Camtasia can do most of the heavy lifting. Then I go in and edit the captioning, proofing to make sure everything looks good.

I was pretty impressed with myself. I got 3 out of 5 lectures updated with captioning. Very cool! My biggest motivation in learning to caption is now I don’t have to send my work off weeks in advance to be captioned. And because I’m using Camtasia, the look and feel remains consistent.

Cert Study & Classes for Fall 2011 at PCC

First things First, Cert Study stalled – horribly. I realized I need to get my hands on Server 2008 R2 study materials. My practice exams have R2 questions but the MS Press books are R1. In my book research, I found only one study guide has been updated for R2. So I need to pick that up. The plan is to get my study on, in August to test in Sept. I really need to pass 70-640 and get it off my goals for my yearly evaluation.

For Fall I’m teaching, CIS 298M, CIS 225 & CIS 287I. The plan is to have all three classes ready to roll come the first day of the term. This means all course materials posted, dates set to lock and unlock materials etc. CIS 225 is actually done! That was a major achievement. Right before the end of the term I’ll go back in and double check everything. CIS 289M is the next closest, and that’s only because CIS 287I is mostly just concepts right now. :( I’m hoping to get a major burst of motivation and hammer out CIS 289M sooooon. I need as much time as I can get to work and develop CIS 287I. I have taught CIS 287I once before but it didn’t play out the way I’d hoped. So here’s to second chances.

I plan on getting a TA in place for my 289M as soon as humanly possible. At least a week or two into the term. Going to start Fall term off on the right foot.

That’s about it for now.



Summer Break Update!

I made it! The term ended….. Yeah! Summer “vacation” has started. Vacation, sure…. That’s what I’ll call it!  I’ve been to campus at least once a week since summer break started.  I’ve started preparing to Fall 2011. If I don’t start the term in tip, top shape ready to roll – it’s going to be brutal!

Overall I was pleased with Spring term, it was somewhat odd, but its done. Now I’ll looking over my summer list. It’s somewhat daunting. But I confident I can get through it.

My goals for Summer:

  • Get all materials for CIS 289M, CIS 225 & CIS 287I ready to roll for the entire term.
  • Pass the Cert Exam for MCTS Exam 70-640
  • Split the labs for CIS 240M & CIS 288M into two parts, R1 & R2

Mix that with my personal goals for summer and the list is…. Crazy!

Oh and to top it all off, I started my Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Community College Executive Leadership. Back in the classroom, as a student. It’s been 6 years since I played student. This is gonna be interesting.

So the first thing I need to do is go through the course and read everything in detail. Need to get a firm understanding of what’s going on, remembering all the things I get on my students about. Reading the instructions from start to finish in detail.

For my Cert Study, I’ve got the full network environment setup. Several virtual services setup to test all kinds of things. Actually practice stuff.

I’d also like to get back to posting various tech information.

I should stop in more often…..

And I would if I didn’t lead such a rushed existence.

For example, the week between Winter Term 2011 & Spring Term 2011 – IS OVER! I barely remember it beginning.

Spring term starts today. I’d planned on being far more prepared than I am. But I say that EVER term. At this point, I’m as ready as I’m going to be.

My schedule this term is different:

Monday – (CIS 288M)

  • (Office Hours) 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon 
  • (CIS 288M) 01:00 PM-02:50 PM

 Tuesday – (CIS 225)

  • (Office Hours) 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • (CIS 225) 11:00 PM – 12:50 PM
  • (Office Hours) 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

 Wednesday – (CIS 288M)

  • (Office Hours) 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon 
  • (CIS 288M) 01:00 PM-02:50 PM

 Thursday – (CIS 225)

  • (Office Hours) 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • (CIS 225) 11:00 PM – 12:50 PM

 That’s a lot of time on campus for me & in the middle of the day. It could have a significant impact on course development time. We’ll see how that plays out. Also, my CIS 240M class is online only. That’s something new for me. But I know some of my students will be in the labs, so I have to make sure I’m available for them.

One brand new class, CIS 225. I found what looks to be a good book for the class. I’m going with the text book material for this run. I’ll see how it goes and make adjustments both as class progresses and for the next time I teach it.

R2 continues to be a dilema for me and the networking dept. R2 is dependent on 64-bit hardware. This will certainly exclude students from being able to participate in the class. And the main question becomes how many students. Come Fall it has to happen, so I need to start getting ready. It’ll require posting the 64-bit hardware requirement in multiple places so students have enough notice ahead of time. The difference between R2 and Server 2008 are… hit and miss. Some things are cosmetic, which makes having two sets of instructions for labs – painful and confusing. Until I can find a better solution, the pain continues.

My own Cert Study…. I realized that completing the AD Cert test was one of my goals for this years review, that didn’t happen. So I’m going to hve to hit that goal for the next review. I don’t want it to fall by the waste side. Not sure how in I’m going to fit it in, but I shall. I’d say over the summer but, that just sounds like an empty promise.

And finally, my quest for higher education. Or the highest education. I will begin my doctoral studies in June of this year. I’ll be pursuing an EdD in Community College Leadership @ Argosy University of Seattle. I started the application process and hope to get my paperwork submitted this afternoon. It’s been 6 years since I finished my MBA. This should be interesting. I’m starting over the summer because it’ll give me a chance adjust without the full time job in mix. By the time Fall term rolls around I’d hope that I’ve got the school thing under control and can transition into working and going to school full time.

For my classes I require students to find articles to analyze. One of my students came across an article that had a list of interview questions about Active Directory. I started reviewing the list and thought it’d a great way to provide some technical insight into my blog. So I’m going to begin making posts that address the answers to two or three of the questions. Keep an eye out for those posts. That should keep me posting more frequently to my blog.

Winter Term 2010 into Spring Term 2010

It’s drawing closer and closer to the end! All course development for 2 out 3 classes is done. The last class just needs some details hashed out for the last few weeks of the term.

Overall not a bad term. I certainly feel better about the quality of the materials than I did last term. Far less typos, instructions miscues, etc. Utilizing the release checklist helped to take care of the majority of the issues. Some still got through, but for the most part.

There was the usual improvement type items that I’ll address in the week between Winter & Spring term.

The biggest challenge remains grading, keeping up with getting ahead of it etc.

I started using a daily task list that had time slots for the tasks. Seemed to work well. I’m certainly going to incorporate that into Spring term. Maybe I can start out ahead of grading and not fall behind.

For spring, I’m expecting a little lighter development, but not a whole lot lighter. The CIS 225 class is BRAND NEW with brand new book and all. So we’ll see how that plays out. I expect a lot of familiar faces in that class so it should be good tymes.

Speaking of Spring Term, my schedule is interesting…..

Monday through Thursday all Midday. I’m on campus until 3pm two days and 1pm the other two days. Should be very interesting. Also I won’t be teaching two sections of 240M in Spring. I’m only teaching the Online section. That’ll be VERY DIFFERENT.

Changes isn’t always a bad thing.

Cert Study
I’m continue with light cert study. Reviewing the last test I took. Some side study. Plenty of R2 to to learn


I had a coversation with a student about having the Virtual Machines available to students in 240M and the student wasn’t to keen on the idea. The student felt they got a lot out of the first lab and the troubleshooting involved. So as always….. I’m contemplating how to improve my course.

I do see a series of changing coming down for the upcoming 1st lab. Take a little pain out of it.

Baby Steps

As part of my professional development, I’ve somewht returned to Cert Study….. I fired up the testing software and took a practice test in certification mode, got a 50%! Not a good score by a long shot, however it’s been a while since I’ve sat still and taking a practice Cert exam. I realized in my 1st year review I’d plannedon taking the Active Directory Test for 2008 Server.

Due to my shock in reviewing last years personnel evaluation, I didn’t quite get there.

I’m working my way back towards cert study. I have to fight to stay current in knowleges as much as I fight to stay ahead of course development AND grading. Two major fights I deal with daily. After taking the test I recorded my results and have been going through them based on objective. I might cert test again some day.

I’ve added two new books to my personal development library, both are from O’Reilly publishing:

Active Directory  

Active Directory Cookbook:

Subject Matter Expert – Active Directory

Of all the times I’ve taught CIS 289M, this is the first time I’ve really stepped out and done some more complex things with Active Directory. I can’t take any of the credit for the development of the lab. It was my co-teacher. It’s proven to be CHALLENGING! To both the students and myself. This single lab has shown me areas that I need to provide more instruction in. But overall, I’d say it’s raised the bar considerably.

In raising that bar, I’m going to have to improve my own knowledge – considerably! Being away from doing for over a year, almost 2 years has certainly dulled my techno edge and if I want it back…. I’m going to have to put for the effort.

To that end, I’ve added professional development to my daily routine, reading & cert study.

We’ll see how that evolves.