First impressions of 10gen's MongoDB courses

For three weeks now 10gen has been running two online courses about MongoDB for web-developers and DBAs. Given that the first week of the M101 course (the one for developers) left enough free time to do other stuff I decided to also attend the M102 course for DBAs simply to get as much knowledge as possible out of these free courses :-)

And so far I’m really impressed …

The courses have about one larger topic per week introduced to you by 5-10 min. (M101) / 10-30 min. (M102) video lectures. This week, for example, the M102 course focused on aggregation queries explaining the new aggregation framework (>= MongoDB 2.2) and the good old MapReduce implementation in MongoDB. Once a lecture is completed there is usually also a short quiz to make sure that you got the core of the what was told during the video. At the end of each week there is some homework that has to be done within one week.

The video lectures are well narrated with the trainers describing everything using hand-drawn graphics and “slides”. Sometimes the handwriting gets a little bit in the way, though, but that just forces you to listen more closely :-) The learning curve is not too steep and the material also includes the latest and greatest of the most recent release of the software.

In the end, the format works really well for me. Some of the video lectures in the M102 course are a bit too long for my taste but that’s probably just me. During the first two weeks the trainers experimented with the lecture length and then people complained about the 5 min. videos being too short ;-)

Perhaps the only complaint I could have right now is the platform the courses are organized on. For the first two weeks the progress-indicator was not working and it seems like when a trainer corrects a typo in a quiz or homework the progress of a each attendee of that section is reset. Also the forums are a bit minimalistic with little overview and therefor many duplicate topics.