The problems with Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC)
I am an MCSE and MCT and have been delivering MOC courses for more than 4 years. In this time, I have observed some problems with MOC. MOC is an invaluable source for technical subjects. But it is not the best training source. Their pedagogical structure is very weak. Let me explain why I find them pedagogically weak:
1) 1) Every subject covered in the training process should give information about the following two components:
a- a- Why do we have a such and such technological component? For example, why do we need DHCP?
b- b- How do we configure such a component? For example, how do we set up a DHCP server? How do we configure DHCP scopes? How do we configure a DHCP client?
The students should understand the necessity of the component first and mechanism to deploy that mechanism second. The MOC frequently violates these simple rules. MOC gives very very detailed information but not in a structured way. The students cant easily configure what happens, why there is such a mechanism, why do we need it at all.
2) 2) The MOC must reflect the real life. For example, the DNS domain names in the current MOC end with .msft. What does it stand for? It is nonsense. The students cant see a parallelism to the real life. Domain names should end with .com, or .gov., or org, that is, with the suffixes coinciding with the real life counterparts. Also the structure of the MOC must reflect the real life experiences. For example, if the MOC is about the Exchange Server, the subjects must be covered as to reflect the real life procedures. In the real life, when you set up a messaging system, you install the messaging server first (Exchange Server). Then you create the recipients (mailboxes, distribution lists, custom recipients etc.). Third, you configure the client side (Outlook;You add an Exchange Server service to the Outlook profile). At this stage you have a working messaging system; a server and a couple of clients. At this point the students should enjoy the products capabilities. Fourth, you connect the messasing system to the Internet. At this stage you configure DNS records and Internet Mail Service Connector. The sites structure in Exchange Server 5.5 and administrative and routing groups structure in Exchange 2000 Server should come after these steps.
When we consider the above criteria, the worst course, in fact a nightmare, is the Exchange Server 5.5 Series-Design and Implementation, course number 973. The module titles of the course and the order of them reflect all the bad practices I described above:
Module 1: Microsoft Exchange Server Architecture
Module 2: Designing a Microsoft Exchange Organization
Module 3: Installing Microsoft Exchange Server
Module 4: X.400 and X.500 Concepts
Module 5: Intrasite Server Communication
Module 6: Intersite Server Communication
Module 7: Site Connector
Module 8: X.400 Connector
Module 9: Multisite Message Routing and Selection
Module 10: Directory Replication
Module 11: Public Folder Replication
Module 12: Microsoft Exchange Server Integration with the Internet
Module 13: Internet Mail Service
Module 14: Internet News Service
Module 15: Internet Client Access Protocol
Module 16: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
Module 17: Outlook Web Access
Another bad course, another horror story is Deploying and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0, course number 828. This course is also challenging the simple pedagogical rules stated above. The unnecessary labs, or unnecessary procedures in the labs, artificially complex course structure make this course a torture as it is.
So, how do I deliver these courses? Of course, mixing and matching all the modules according to my rules, not according to the irrational MOC.