Over the past few months I’ve mentioned that I am working on a new online course for PLC’s. Almost a month ago I posted a request for pictures due to some of the publisher restrictions on that sort of thing. I’m happy to say all of that has been resolved, and the manual has officially been published! The above video explains how you can get one, either from me or online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and various other places. If you are annoyed by videos, the gist of the one above is that I now have a bunch of copies and am selling them (via PayPal only at this time) for $32 + shipping. This is a couple of dollars less than Amazon, who has it listed at $33.99. Just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can hook you up.
This video is the intro to the course itself that I have posted on the course site. It’s an overview of the course, but since the course follows the outline of the manual it also gives you an idea of what’s in the book. This is NOT an advanced course, and it is not specific to any particular PLC, but it does leverage Allen-Bradley and Siemens more than others. It does discuss most types of available instructions and has a pretty cool PLC and computer history section. I plan on creating an advanced technique-based course after I finish this one.
The process of creating the manual and the class has involved a pretty huge learning curve. Among other things I have had to learn the LMS (Learning Management System) platform on Thinkific, The video editing software from Camtasia, self-publishing with AuthorHouse, and how hard it is to record yourself through many hours of retakes. These two videos use some of the features available on the Camtasia program, including audio music clips, fading, pixellating and a bunch of other little details. While I am getting better at editing and producing all of this, I’ve got a long way to go before I’m a pro. Speaking in front of the camera is one of the particular things I’m learning a lot about. I teach classes for Automation Training all over the country several times a month and have no problem getting in front of people and speaking, but its a lot more difficult when I have some specific rehearsed thing I need to say.
I’ve learned some interesting things about myself while doing it though, like if you tilt your head up when you speak you can come across as an arrogant a$$, if you tilt your head down you can look very confused, and waving your hands around for no apparent reason (“gestures”), can distract people from the fact that you’re kind of funny looking. Oh, and that I’m old and have hair growing out of my ears.
Anyway, if you are interested in picking up a copy of the manual send me an e-mail, or visit one of the stores I listed above. I’d love some feedback on it. There are several exercises in it, and though the answers are in the back of the book, if you e-mail me with questions I’ll be happy to discuss them with you.