Work Journal for Monday, July 1st 2013


Work started off well this morning. I was sorting out what of the existing course material needs additional polish. Instead of starting at the first module, I started at the third module and started to work backwards. Most of the course is actually in a pretty good state. All of the lessons lack quizzes, of course, but modules two and three are fairly solid. Module one on the other hand, feels muddled and confused. Somewhere in the process of trying to describe the product and why it exists, I became lost. 

The module starts off well enough. The very first slide defines transactions. It seems a minor point, but important because many developers do not think in terms of transactions. It tends to be something a business analyst would think of. The next question is to describe transaction monitoring. The highway metaphor lacks harmony with the previous slide, as the very first slide uses a much more dreary retail ordering example in order to explain the concept of transactions. This may be necessary, but it bothers me that this disunity exists such that the concepts aren't building on each other. 

What occurs to me now is that immediately following the highway example, I should have a slide that links it all back to infrastructure. The highway itself is the various routes and configurations through which your transactions progress. This is often middleware, but also enterprise applications that perform the majority of processing. 

This is one thing that left me unsatisfied about the existing highway example slides. They don't have any sense of destination. It's merely a loop of roads through which vehicles travel seemingly without purpose. Destinations should probably be added to the existing graphic. Furthermore, it should be translated into a Captivate interaction as I do not trust Articulate to render things correctly. During that process, I can also modify the example to include destinations and a sense of beginning and end. This is a special case for a highway, but I think it would be a far more effective teaching tool than what I currently have. If I do this properly, I may be able to remove the opening slide. This may not be the best idea as there's low integration between Captivate and Articulate. 

Following this slide is one that compares transaction monitoring and performance and availability monitoring. It feels somewhat unnecessary, until I consider the fact that the MMPA class is a prerequisite for this class. In that case, I might as well leave it in. The next two slides are about motivations to monitor transactions, as well as the data that is collected by the product. This last slide...actually doesn't fit here. It should be in the following lesson where I actually introduce the product. It's this middle part of the class that feels the most muddled and incomplete. 

The problem is that I hate slides that try to sell you on a product. It has no place in an IT class as you should have already bought the product at this point. The product itself should do all the talking. The problem is, this *isn't* the first class the student should be taking. They should have already taken the MMPA course. That does all the introduction. What's probably necessary is to outline the BTM features of the product. Then we can introduce the licensing, what data the BTM feature collects, and then how it collects it. 

The following lesson about product deployment looks fine. I guess that means I have a lot of work for me tomorrow.