Opinions on Stanly Community College: Online VMware VCP-DCV Course
I thought I’d share my thoughts on the VMware v6.7 Install, Configure, & Manage course available through Stanly Community College:
Most people pursuing VMware certification with no previous VMware accreditation will have come across this course offered by Stanly, as it qualifies for the required training for the VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualisation 2020 (VCP-DCV 2020) Certification, at a fraction of the cost of other VMware certified courses.
The cost for me to attend the Stanly course in August 2019 was $185, as opposed to thousands for the equivalent training through VMware. As of writing for example, a similar on-demand ‘Install, Configure, Manage’ course from mylearn.vmware.com to fulfill the training requirement was priced at $4250. Ouch!
With such a high “entrance fee” to get started with VMware certification, it came as no surprise that there was a waiting list for the Stanly course. You can apply via the below link:
I was under the impression I may be waiting months, maybe even a year, to get an opportunity to take this course. Having just taken a new job, asking my employer to fully or partly fund the VMware on-demand training wasn’t an option, so I applied for Stanly anyway.
I was pleasantly (and somewhat suspiciously!) surprised when I received an invitation to reserve my place for their August – October course just two weeks after application.
But I was genuinely skeptical! Along with the unexpectedly speedy response, I had read multiple sources online stating that the Stanly course no longer qualified for the VMware required training.
Rather than reaching for my credit card I instead replied to the confirmation email asking the “IT Academy Assistant” to confirm 100% that this course would indeed qualify. Just three days before the payment deadline, I got my confirmation:
” That is outdated information. We are an authorized VMware IT Academy and are currently teaching both VMware Install Configure Manage (Foundation Exam) and VMware Optimize & Scale (VCP-DCV Exam) courses. They do provide the training requirement and provide exam vouchers. “
Sounded good enough for me, so I was happy to pay and booked my place.
So what did I think of the course? I’ll break it down into a few sections:
The Student Portal
A few days before the course starts you’re sent your login credentials for the student portal. Since this is also the portal for students studying multiple years at Stanly, both online and on campus, there is a ton of stuff that is completely irrelevant to this course, even down to campus security and rules governing classroom safety, so is quite confusing at first.
The section you use most is called Canvas, which is a portal in itself, and contains links to your calendar, modules, inbox, labs etc. Again I found the layout of this quite confusing. Keeping track of due dates, completed modules, and even where to message your lecturer (you seem to have a student Gmail and a separate Canvas inbox) proved a little frustrating.
For me, the actual lectures were the most disappointing aspect of the course. The lecturer just did not sound confident or familiar with the material, or at the very least was not particularly skilled in communicating concepts.
I heard numerous mistakes, contradictions, and lots of unnecessary fluffing about: the kind of meandering you get with somebody who struggles to explain a subject as soon as they stop reading from their script.
I really couldn’t recommend this course based on the lecture content alone, and it’s certainly not a patch on any of the other online “lecturer with slide” style content out there, such as CBT Nuggets and even Udemy.
From the worst aspect to the best aspect, the labs are excellent, and alone are worth the course cost.
I was initially apprehensive about the booking system; these are real, fully-functional vCenter labs that need to be booked out by students and initialised on each login. But there was never a time I logged in and didn’t have a slot available, not even close. “Booking” a slot might also give the impression that you need to book in advance and be tied to that slot, which isn’t the case. You can log into the booking system at any time and be into a lab within seconds.
Each lab comes with a PDF document to guide you through the objectives. Again, I found these to be very good mostly, and much more beneficial than the lectures. You can also completely ignore these and just explore vCenter and some Linux VMs to your hearts content. The labs are timed, but there’s very generous extensions that allow you to extend your time with a single click.
I did have a few minor issues, such as a delay in labs being available at the start of the course and an issue with iSCSI storage not mounting correctly, but it didn’t tarnish the experience too much.
Each module comes with an assessment you must complete, in the form of some multiple choice questions. You can take as many attempts at these as you like, retaining your highest score, and since you are told the correct answer to each question when you submit, even an IT Director could get 100% in each one.
Along with not being certain how Stanly can determine if you completed the lab modules, other than the fact you logged in, I’m under the impression that it’s pretty much impossible to fail this course. The lectures are not mandatory viewing, there’s no check of lab objectives being completed, and module assessments can be completed as many times as you like until a pass score is achieved. Make of that what you will…
Since I haven’t taken the VCP-DCV exam yet, I can’t conclusively state that this course alone will prepare you for it, but having completed the course I certainly didn’t feel prepared to take the exam. I’m doing some additional study this month and plan to take the exam in February. The course is absolutely worth the cost, that is a no-brainer, and is excellent for anybody who doesn’t have access to a decent vCenter lab. Just don’t expect engaging lectures!