This weekend, I taught the unified messaging portion of rotation 10 of the Microsoft Certified Master | Exchange program. This was quite a milestone in a couple of ways. First, it’s rotation 10. That means that there are now more than 200 Exchange Masters graduates running around loose and applying the things I’ve taught them. (There aren’t that many actual MCM credential holders, as not every attendee passes the exams necessary to earn the credential.)
Second, this is the first time the Exchange MCM course has run for seven days each week. In the past, the classes have met Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, and often much later, with weekends reserved for study, lab work, and life maintenance– laundry, grocery shopping, and so on. The theory for this rotation is that moving to a schedule of seven class days with shorter days would be an improvement. In the past I’ve taught UM on the first day of the third week; this time I taught on class day 7. The students had already had a couple of much longer-than-expected days during the preceding week, but I attribute that to some new lab elements that were being debugged as part of this rotation. Their schedule should settle down a bit.
This rotation is small– only 4 students are in Redmond, with a dozen or so remote students attending via Lync meetings. This fostered a really intimate teaching atmosphere, which was further enhanced by our off-campus trip for lunch (Microsoft’s cafeterias are closed on weekends). I cut down the amount of material in my presentation a bit; this time the attendees only had 3 labs and about 125 slides to digest. We finished about 5:15pm, and I left them well-prepared both for the UM portion of the exam and to get through the next two weeks thinking “wow, these other instructors are way better than that UM guy.” Exchange MVP and MCM R10 candidate Jeff Guillet posted a summary of his first week in class, which you might enjoy if you want to see things from the students’ perspective.
Registration is now ongoing for the November rotation. If you’ve been considering whether to try for your MCM credential, this would be a good time to register; contact me for details if you’re interested.
On a more personal note, for this rotation I was able to get in a day early and spend some time with people I like: my former parter at 3Sharp, Paul Flynn, and I had a delicious lunch at Purple, (a favorite of mine; try the apple, walnut, and Stilton salad!), and then I met my brother Tim and his lovely wife Julie for Julie’s first trip to the pistol range, some time playing with their three cats, and a delicious Italian dinner at Paolo’s (where I’d never been but hope to return.) When I first started traveling to Seattle more than a dozen years ago, each trip was an exciting odyssey, with new people, sights, and places to encounter and explore. Even after the newness wore off, I still enjoyed the feel of visiting the big city– Toledo and its environs aren’t small, exactly, but metro Seattle is a much bigger and more diverse place. Now that I live in the Bay Area, I’m a little saddened to recognize that I don’t have exactly that same feeling towards Seattle. Living in the big city means that visiting there doesn’t have that same country-mouse-goes-to-town vibe. On the other hand, I still love the scenery there: the mountains (when visible), the pattern of the waters on Elliott Bay and Lake Washington, the thousand shades of green that blanket the hills and streets… there’s a lot to see there even if you’re on the east side. My many visits mean that it’s a comfortable and familiar place, too, which is valuable in itself. I’ll definitely be back!