YiPsters Open No Cost Education and Training Web Site
October 26, 2009 Dan Burger
There’s a straight line that connects education and training with higher productivity and career satisfaction. It’s a great investment for organizations to make in their employees and it’s a wise investment for people to make in themselves and their futures.
When the Young i Professionals (YiPs) started networking a few years ago and began talking about what they could accomplish as a group, one of the things on their “to do” list was to provide a source of free educational materials for the IBM i community.
Consider it done.
Actually, it’s not done, but it is available. Let’s call it under way. It’s a work in progress.
The YiPs call it the Virtual Learning Center (VLC). It’s a Web-based repository for tutorials. At this early stage, the cupboard is closer to bare than fully stocked, but you can already find tutorials on topics related to PHP and RDi. Contributors include YiPsters Brian May and Aaron Bartell, as well as consultant Jeff Olen (point man on the iManifest U.S. initiative), and a cooperative training effort by IBM and Zend Technologies.
Course categories, as defined in the early going, include programming, hardware, and the IBM i operating system. The only courses available at the time of this report are under the programming category, which has sub-categories that include RPG, PHP, Java, C, and development environments.
May is one of the most active YiPs members. May has been involved in building and maintaining the YiPs Web site (which runs on an IBM i, by the way), he has worked with the IBM Academic Initiative program, and he is active in COMMON and local user groups. He says additional educational content will be added the VLC shortly, including materials contributed by the System i Developer, a group of experts and educators on System i technology. The announcement that the Virtual Learning Center had gone live was made last week at the RPG & DB2 Summit, a bi-annual event hosted by System i Developer.
Contributions to the VLC are being openly solicited. Any qualified person can submit a tutorial. May and other YiPs make the calls on what gets in and what doesn’t. Primarily the submissions will come from authors and educators, but May says it’s not an exclusive club. Those are the most likely sources with materials already in a presentable form. The process begins with an outline of the subject material and a method of presentation.
Although the educational materials available now are text based, the VLC has the capability to feature presentations using video, wikis, and question and answer interchanges between the presenter and the learner. The site runs on open source software called Moodle, which is designed for online instructional purposes.
“Free tutorials are needed in the i community,” May says. “Other IT communities have this, why not i?”
The Virtual Learning Center is open to everyone. Membership in YiPs is not a requirement. Sign-in with a user name and a password and you are good to go.