When we created Next-Gen MOC, we began looking at ways to improve the classroom experience: we put the focus on the instructor and started integrating additional, digital (read: searchable) resources for students.
However, it has become apparent that we also overlooked an important component of the Next-Gen experience: Instructor Preparation.
Current MOC & Instructor Prep
The way instructor preparation works today is that MCTs have the ability to download the “instructor PDF” and use it for preparation or they can choose to purchase the Trainer Package. There is a secondary source of data used for prep: the instructor notes. However, we’ve heard that due to their brevity, these notes can often be ignored or simply skimmed on the side. The meat is in the “instructor PDF”. It’s basically the one-stop-shop for preparation.
Next-Gen MOC – Complications Arise
So one of the great things we’ve done with Next-Gen is that we’ve put the instructor notes where they should be: in the notes section of the PowerPoint slides. We’ve also added the CD that contains additional resources for students. But the problem is that instructors now have three different sources to use for preparation:
1. Slide deck (for the actual slides + instructor notes)
2. Student book (for the key points for the given lesson or topic)
3. CD (for additional resources content)
This is not the ideal situation.
The way I see it, instructors have four options (listed by amount of work required)
a) Wing it (read: don’t prep)
b) Use a sub-set of the materials for prep (e.g. only use the slides & notes)
c) Simultaneously have three things open on screen and keep them all in sync while making deft use of alt-tab
d) Print everything separately then collate to bring it altogether in a unified prep guide
In my opinion, these options all suck. Our bad. But there is something else: OneNote. (If you’ve never used OneNote or don’t know what it is, you can get some information on the OneNote product page or on Wikipedia)
OneNote – Possibly the coolest Office program…Ever
We’ve been working on a little stealth project for the past few weeks that would position OneNote as the new place for instructor preparation materials.
On one hand, the idea is simple: deliver an instructor prep guide that brings everything together in one place. This would be similar to the "instructor PDF" that’s there today but better because you get all the functionality of OneNote.
On the other hand, we don’t want to just do what we’ve always done (unless of course what we’re doing is already perfect J). OneNote offer much more functionality than a simple PDF: additional content can easily be added to the notes, content can be quickly changed or edited, notes can be typed or inked, multiple notebooks can exist (think different notebooks for each course or subject area). Plus, just like PDFs, OneNote’s content is fully searchable (and it’s got this killer OCR technology that makes text in images searchable too). And if you’d rather just stick to a static, single document for preparation, OneNote’s contents can be exported to either PDF or XPS as the press of a button.
You can get a free, 60-day trial of OneNote here.
So What Does this Mean for Prep?
We’ve taken one of the first courses that will come out in the Next-Gen form-factor, 6424A: Fundamentals of Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, and created an example OneNote instructor preparation notebook.
OneNote’s object hierarchy maps nicely to our courses:
|OneNote Object||ILT Course Object|
Here’s an example showing course 6424A. The OneNote section group is "6424A". Each course module is a section.
This picture shows the course lessons (e.g. "Overview of AD DS") and the topics from each lesson are the indented sub-pages (e.g. "What is a Directory Service").
We’ve posted a single page in an example notebook here:
So what do you think? We’d like to hear from you to see if we’re on the right track. We’d really love to get some feedback from you by Monday, March 17th. Then we’ll post what we heard and move forward from there.