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Posted by: jsonmez | April 12, 2011

Published My First Course on Pluralsight

My number of blog posts in the last couple of months has definitely been a little lower than I like, but I have a pretty good reason.

I just got my first course published on Pluralsight!

logomedium

The course is called Android Development for .NET Developers and it covers most of the basic knowledge you would need to go from knowing nothing about Android development to being able to create a fairly simple application and publish that application to the Android Market.

If you haven’t checked out Pluralsight, it is a really good site for a wide variety of developer training videos.  They really managed to get some very good content on the site and there are videos on just about every .NET topic you can think of.

I have also really enjoyed working with the guys that run Pluralsight, they are all very friendly and very knowledgeable.  Thanks to David Starr and Fritz Onion for all their help getting my course ready and published.

You never really learn something till you teach it

teacher-point

This simple truth became more apparent to me than ever during the process of making this course.

I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the Android fundamentals, having published a fairly complex application, PaceMaker.

What I became quickly aware of is that there is a huge difference between having knowledge and having understanding.

I equate knowledge as possessing a formula to be able to do something, but lacking knowing why or how to make modifications to the process.

Cooking provides an excellent example of this.  There are many people in the world who know how to cook a large number of dishes.  But many of these people only have the knowledge of cooking.  They have a large collection of recipes which they can follow to produce the desired result.

A professional chef on the other hand, has a true understanding of cooking.  This person might have knowledge of many recipes, but they also understand why the particular ingredients are used and can make modifications to those ingredients and steps.  They may even create something without preset steps because they understand what they are doing, not just have knowledge about it.

It was great to have the experience of creating these videos because I was able to acquire an in-depth understanding of Android development, not just a knowledge of what to do.

If you ever have the opportunity to teach, I definitely recommend you take that opportunity.  Even if you don’t think you are qualified to teach a subject, by the time you have prepared what you are going to teach, you will be qualified.  Trial by fire perhaps, but well worth the outcome.  Plus you’ll be helping others in the process.

Much harder than I thought

I do have to admit though, recording training videos is definitely much harder than I had originally anticipated.

In order to get 40 minutes of video, it might take 6 hours worth of work or even more depending on the prep work involved and how much editing after getting the raw footage.

I really expected that it would take about as much time as it takes to record something to produce that something, but I definitely learned that is not the case.

I often found that I had to draw a line and stop trying to refine a video because you can literally spend an unlimited amount of time editing and tweaking a video.

Another revelation that might be apparent to everyone else, but was quite an epiphany to me was that you can edit “umms” out of video very easily.  You can’t even notice where they are cut out!  My first video, I didn’t even realize I could edit anything, and I ended up taking like 50 cuts until I could get it right.

Overall though, great experience, lots of fun

I felt like I’ve been stretched in a different direction, as I had never done any video or audio recording before and had never really spent much time in a room talking to myself pretending to talk to other people, but it was a good kind of stretching.

I really actually enjoyed the process and I will definitely be doing more of this kind of work in the future.  Probably going to take a bit of a break before I start my next course though.  I want to make sure I take some time to get a good retrospective of the process and sharpen my saw a bit so my next videos can be even better.

As always, you can subscribe to this RSS feed to follow my posts on Making the Complex Simple.  Feel free to check out ElegantCode.com where I post about the topic of writing elegant code about once a week.  Also, you can follow me on twitter here.
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Responses

  1. I had been asking Pluralisght about this as I know lots of people I work with wanted to learn about Android development – look forward to going through the course.

    Cheers
    Gregor

  2. I have been going through this Android course on PluralSight. I really like it so far, you’ve done a great job with all the videos! I am confused on one thing though. I’m at the section: Android UI – Creating a Simple Layout. In your Eclipse IDE you have 3 buttons, and one toggles on and off the gridlines in the xml graghical layout view. This is a very helpful feature, but for the life of me I can’t find it in my Eclipse IDE. Is this an add-on, I have searched all over? Please help me to enable this feature in my IDE, I am running the newer Eclipse (Helios). The only time the gridlines appear is if I’m dragging a component onto the UI. Here’s a few screen shots of my IDE.

    Thanks, James

    • Hi James,

      Any luck finding this? I just got back home yesterday, but I will take a look in my IDE today. I am wondering if there is a toolbar or something that needs to be turned on.

      • Hello John,

        Still no luck! It has to be a toolbar item, but I can’t figure out how to turn it on. Or maybe this isn’t a standard feature in Helios, but I don’t know why they’d leave out such a helpful item. I have Helios on my PC and laptop, and neither one has these buttons. Which version of Eclipse do you use, maybe I should download a different version and see if it has those toggle switches?

        Thanks, James

        • Well, I checked it out on my VM. (I have a new VM that I am using now, the records were done on my previous.)
          On this VM I have Helios, but I am pretty sure that is what I had on the other. The difference that I can think of is the new version of the ADT.
          Apparently they got rid of this feature in the newer ADT. Looks like it was rewritten entirely.
          My guess is now since they added an outline view, they are expecting that you would use that an click on the element you are interested in, which will then show an outline for that element.
          I also found if I draw a box around the whole screen with my mouse that I can see all the borders. Not sure if I like this change. Seems like I would still rather have a grid view.
          I’ll keep checking, but I can’t find any information on this anywhere.

  3. Nice article, have you considered accessibility? The reason I mention this is that I am profoundly deaf Software Engineer. Lately I have been finding more and more materials inaccessible for me due to lack of captions/subtitles.

    I realise that this may take more time and resources, so not to worry if you don’t have the time, however for larger companies I believe that there is no excuse 🙂

    • I Xander, thanks for making me aware of this. I will talk with my contacts at Pluralsight about this.

  4. Hmmm…. well that’s unfortunate. Looks like they got rid of a really good feature. Thanks for looking into it for me, I think I’ll just use the Outline component then.

  5. I’m also profoundly deaf, so it’s crucial that these training videos be captioned or have associated transcripts otherwise some of your readers/viewers will miss out.

    Having alternative formats would be beneficial for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, or English is their second language.

  6. Hi… a quick question… which screen-capturing software did you use to make this course?

  7. Hi, It was great to know the experience from the expert. I also want to create a tutorial for C programming, can you please help me in that like
    what is the tool you used for pluralsight?
    How u did the editing?
    And most importantly what was the real challenge during the 6 hours( teaching, recording, changing the software, or editing etc)

    Thanks for you help and sharing your experience.

    regards,
    Ashish

    • I used Camtasia for recording and editing.
      The biggest challenge for me was organizing the material in a way that would be easy to understand and explain things at the right level. It is easy to get to detailed, and also easy to miss important points.
      Once I clearly know what I am going to teach and how, recording and editing takes time, but isn’t quite as difficult.
      It definitely takes some practice though. I am on course 28 now and I am still learning. 🙂


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