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It’s just two weeks of course that I have attended in openSAP and I am so overwhelmed with the way the content is delivered that I am compelled to write this blog. It is highly unlikely for anyone reading this blog and not knowing about openSAP, it was all over the media channels. Fortunately enough the submission dates for first week assignment was extended and that must have given laggards like me a second-chance! For a moment I will stop comparing the content delivery model of openSAP with any form of online courses that I might have attended and focus on some of the clearly visible excelling points.

The content is highly structured and crisp. The flow of lectures is very well linked and streamlined. When I tried downloading the weekly zipped contents, it prompted that it would take few hours for the content to get downloaded, it is certainly worth the time spent on downloading or may me more than that. The content is very well addressed to the target audience-developers. The speaker, Thomas Jung just uses the language of developers.There are no marketing or flowery words used anywhere. For me that is something very amazing as lately, I have been reading too much about HANA and those buzzwords just get in but not in openSAP. I can’t stop myself from comparing this to one of the TechEd sessions that I have attended last year on HANA in Bangalore. I am sure that majority of attendees were developers there as well. That was a demo session with ABAP on HANA and the word ‘non-disruptive’ jarred on my ears as it was being used many, many times. Considering that as a hands-on session my expectation was more to do and see that myself than just the word being repeated over and over again. I don’t know if anyone else noticed but when Thomas said the exact thing in his session [week1] about moving existing code to HANA, he said it very eloquently without using the word non-disruptive. It is not just about using the words but the style of delivery matters.To me, OpenSAP has certainly raised the bar of quality in which demo-driven lectures are supposed to be delivered.

The lectures are so well delivered that I was excited and completely focussed till the weekly course content was over. I am not trying to exaggerate but it’s like no one would like to miss the next part of The Lord of the Rings after watching the previous part. It happens very rarely that after taking the sessions, I am excited to evaluate myself with the questions, but openSAP certainly has the force to do that. It’s always exciting when the speaker uses the words like ‘We developers’ rather than ‘You developers’ or just ‘developers’! The content is so well focussed for a beginner to get started with HANA that I can’t stop talking about it. Thomas has really got into the mind of every developer and given the sessions by explaining each and every term he uses: as basic as ‘Schema’. Initially, when I was seeing one full video session dedicated on ‘AWS’, ‘Cloudshare’ etc., I wondered what that is for! But when I see the overall motive of the course which is to me, ‘Getting started with HANA’, that session is certainly required. When I did my first POC on HANA, I had to learn and imbibe many terms used in BW terminology, most commonly being fact tables and dimension tables. In openSAP the speaker has really done a great job in using the familiar terms.

The focussed approach of this course clearly speaks of the amount of planning done behind the scenes by the openSAP team. The site offers various other options like discussions, creating groups etc. Rich Heilman  and team is doing some exceptional work in handling the forum discussions there and also updating any issue being faced. There are already many generic groups created for anyone to be part of one or more groups. I was surprised when I found a group was already created with the name of my organization. That certainly provides me with some networking options with like-minded people in my own vicinity.

On a side note, had there been any option of peer evaluation in this course, I would have loved to poke my virtual classmate Jan Penninkhof to be my reviewer!

In case anyone is wondering how does the sessions look like, I would just share a screenshot from the course as below:

openSAP3.jpg

I feel very good that I did not procrastinate or postpone this online course for any other priority as so far this has been absolutely fantastic learning experience. Kudos to openSAP team!

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42 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Great blog, Kumud.

    I finished assignment 2 today and I am enjoying it as well, even though I am not a “developer”, I’m an “analyst”. 

    Well done job by SAP for this.

    Regards,

    Tammy

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  2. Mark Finnern

    > I was surprised when I found a group was already created with the name of my organization. That certainly provides me with some networking options with like-minded people in my own vicinity.

    That is an amazing aspect of the MOOC that I didn’t think about before. Regional groups makes total sense, but groups within a company even more so.

    Really excellent, Mark.

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    1. Kumud Singh Post author

      That’s right Mark. I already made a new connection within my own organization with this. The largest number of members, when I saw last time, were in the group ‘ABAPers learning HANA’. That opens up a wider option for collaboration, in my view. Thanks.

      Regards,

      Kumud

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  3. Fred Verheul

    Great to see your enthusiasm Kumud. And I can relate to it, as the course is mostly very well done indeed!

    Like about 30000 others I also jumped on this opportunity to get familiar with saphana . It’s a very easy way to get started and that’s in my opinion the best thing about the course being delivered right now.

    I’ll check out the groups/forums (had no time yet), thanks for the tip!

    Cheers, Fred

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  4. Fred Verheul

    OK, I’ll do one more comment. I’ve now read Graham Robinson ‘s post too (to be found here), and since this post seems to be the official review one 🙂 , I’ll add my thoughts here:

    On the plus side:

    • Good delivery by Thomas Jung who is on of the most respected teachers/trainers to be found in the SAP ecosystem and for good reason.
    • This course makes it very easy to start with saphana , which is very much needed.
    • The course being delivered as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) allows for enormous scaling as Graham already noticed in his blog post.
    • The videos are downloadable. You can watch the content whenever and wherever you want, no need to be online. This is mostly standard within MOOCs but openhpi didn’t/doesn’t provide this level of convenience, so I’m really glad opensap didn’t make that mistake.

    Room for improvement:

    • The exercises/questions are sometimes ambiguous.
    • Most of the questions are also (especially since they’re open book) fairly trivial and don’t really test your understanding. Example: asking for the correct file extensions of some files.
    • I don’t like too much time spent on editors etc, I would prefer to gain insight. A lot of the material focuses on how to do certain things and how to use the tools, which would be okay in a classroom setting where students can then play around with the stuff themselves. This however is a MOOC and there’s no setup to practice what’s being taught unless you go outside the training context and get your hands on an HANA instance (on AWS for instance). This is very much recommended of course, but the course seems on the one hand try hard not to force students to go down this path, I guess because it then isn’t totally free anymore, but on the other hand, by the content being focused so much on what I call ‘mechanics’, you almost have to get your instance up and running to get the real benefits of the course.
    • The “demo in the system” parts of the content could do with more screen real estate. I’ve attended other MOOCs in which you could really read the code on a laptop, because it was enlarged. In this opensap course, the screen setup seems to be not flexible. The HANA Studio is shown only in a part of the screen (on the right), and in this part the whole Studio is shown. I would prefer to see the Eclipse view in use being maximized. The current setup makes it much harder to see what’s going on.

    Don’t get me wrong: I certainly like this course, and I’m very glad that SAP has made this step into MOOCs. I just think there’s room for improvement. I’m really curious what others think…

    Cheers, Fred

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    1. Kumud Singh Post author

      Hi Fred,

      Before I comment to this particular blog, I would like to say that I have been seeing many of your thoughtful comments at many different spaces and it’s amazing that I agree with most of them, majority of the times. Regarding the suggestions, I just received an email from openSAP asking for feedback. However, if I have to give a personal opinion on your points, they would be like:

      >exercises/questions are ambiguous!

      Regarding exercises, I paused many times and tried to grasp everything till that point and then move further.That provided me with much better clear information than had I watched the entire video at one shot. I am not sure if I understand the perspective with which you are saying that the exercises are ambiguous but so far I have found the exercises to be precise.

      Regarding ambiguity of questions, I have faced that everywhere in any type of evaluation test that I have appeared for and happens with a few questions. But most of them get clarified when we get to see the correct answers! Probably your view is different here from mine.

      >trivial questions

      I don’t hold a grudge against them as after answering few tricky questions, it’s always pleasure to answer an easy one.

      >system up and running

      I would agree here but then I think that’s the whole purpose of this course to get practically started with HANA.

      >screen set up

      This feedback could be shared with the openSAP team!

      Thanks Fred for taking time to read and share your valuable feedback on the blog and openSAP.

      Regards,

      Kumud

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    2. Tom Van Doorslaer

      It’s still surprising to see the headline on Thomas Jung spell “Director”.

      As far as I’m concerned, he’s still just @AbapFreak 🙂

      (where’s the Control key…)

      Great content, well explained, but ambiguous questions in the tests

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  5. Kumar Mayuresh

    Hi  Kumud,

    Great blog and nice write-up. I totally agree with you on:-

    The speaker, Thomas Jung just uses the language of developers.There are no marketing or flowery words used anywhere.

    The lectures are crisp and to the point and I realized that during the delivery of lectures there are important points that has not been discussed anywhere be it SAP HANA Certification books like HA100 or HA300 or any blogs.

    Also its on Revision 56 which is way ahead than SAP education Certification (Rev 48) – offerings.

    A tweet by:

    John Appleby @applebyj9 Jun

    I just noticed: #openSAP training requires #SAPHANA Rev56. SAP Education base their content on Rev48. Which is more current? 🙂

    Downloaded week 3.

    Regards

    Kumar 🙂

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    1. Kumud Singh Post author

      Thanks Kumar for the comments and for highlighting the difference and also the tweet. It’s great to see your activity on almost every media channel that I am on!

      Regards,

      Kumud

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      1. Kumar Mayuresh

        Hi  Kumud,

        We work in/for a community driven technology (SAP) and we are part of it, its great and good to be connected with seniors on every media channel.

        Regards

        Kumar 🙂

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  6. Jansi Rani Murugesan

    Hi Kumud,

    Very nice,  I liked the way Thomas presenting, Its automatically dwells into our attention and helps to listen more carefully.

    Thanks for the sharing.

    Regards

    Jansi

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    1. Kumud Singh Post author

      Hello Rama,

      Thanks for the comments! Have you joined any group there?

      There are few codejams planned for India this year with HANA as the theme.

      The details will be published soon.

      Will you be joining any of them?

      Regards,

      Kumud

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  7. Vivek Singh Bhoj

    Hi Kumud,

    Good blog

    I am enjoying this course too and the way Thomas presents the lectures is awesome.

    Thanks to the SAP and Thomas for providing us such a great opportunity to learn.

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  8. Benedict Venmani Felix

    Hi Kumud,

    Nice blog and you have captured the feeling of everyone whose attending the sessions.

    “The speaker, Thomas Jung just uses the language of developers.”

    “It’s always exciting when the speaker uses the words like ‘We developers’ rather than ‘You developers’ or just ‘developers’! ” – My thoughts exactly 🙂

    After reading this blog I think I would poke you to be my reviewer! 😆

    Benedict

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    1. Kumud Singh Post author

      Hi Benedict,

      Thanks for the pleasant comments. It’s always great to hear that I captured feelings and thoughts of many attending the session. Sure thing on being your reviewer but I am an easy reviewer! Thanks.

      Regards,

      Kumud

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  9. Paul Arevalo

    I agree openSAP is great, but if SAP wants developers to really learned SAP HANA for free, they should do what Oracle did in the 90’s with their Oracle database.  SAP should make SAP HANA free for developers, with no expiration dates.  I should be able to run SAP HANA on my 2-core, 16GB laptop.

    Paul Arevalo

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    1. Benedict Venmani Felix

      Hi Paul,

      SAP is doing just that. The license is free for developers. You can use your prefered provider for the free version(AWS, Cloudshare etc). On AWS you only pay for the hardware you use and in Cloudshare you dont have to pay for anything(30 day trial). What more can anyody ask for.

      HANA is both the hardware and the software, so I dont think even if you have a 1TB laptop you would be able to install HANA 🙂

      Benedict

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          1. Benedict Venmani Felix

            Is’nt it? Even though it is Rev48, I dont have nay problem doing the course excercises in it with SFLIGHT data. The godd thing about it is, instead of importing the delivery units, I am forced to type the code examples myself and I learnt a lot through making typo errors 🙂

            I hope I can complete Week5 and Week6 in Cloudshare itself.

            Benedict

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            1. Vivek Singh Bhoj

              I have used Cloudshare last year and its awesome – that time i was able to do everything i wanted to… and that too free of cost 🙂

              Those days i made best utilization of my internet connection

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  10. Vivek Singh Bhoj

    The new Extra knowledge session on OpenSAP is even more awesome

    We get to know new SPS6 features, ABAP on HANA, troubleshooting and all other important stuff that is so precious for every developer out there 🙂

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    1. Kumud Singh Post author

      That is so true, Vivek. I too find the idea of adding Extra knowledge to the course valuable. Thanks.

      Regards,

      Kumud

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    1. Kumud Singh Post author

      Time just flew and the final exams are ready to be attempted. I surely had a great learning experience. Thanks.

      Regards,

      Kumud

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      1. Vivek Singh Bhoj

        It was a great learning experience.

        I have completed the final exam also but now have to wait for 10 more days for final result 🙁

        Really going to miss these days

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  11. Mohammad Saad

    Hi Kumud,

         First I would thank you to highlight this topic ” openSAP ” I register immediately and I am enjoying course too.

    Thanks to the SAP and Thomas for providing us such a great opportunity to learn.

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    1. Mohammad Saad

      I start watch recent course

      Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA

      unfortunately Final exam: July 4 – 15, 2013 I don’t have time to prepare

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      1. Kumud Singh Post author

        Hi Mohammad,

        This must be the case with many others too. I am sure Clemens Link and team would have thought of such cases already and may be will provide an answer. Was this delay because you were not aware of openSAP course at the time it was started?

        Thanks!

        Regards,

        Kumud

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        1. Mohammad Saad

          Actually, I am new in sap , I have recently involved in SAP HANA project for company where I work as coordinator.  So start read about SAP and register in SCN so I know through your article about openSap  it is great option to learn and attract new IT professional to study SAP

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          1. Kumud Singh Post author

            You have done a very good start! Good news is, the latest email from openSAP says that the same course would be repeated again in 2013. So you could do it then. Thanks!

            Regards,

            Kumud

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  12. Midhun VP

    OpenSAP is opening new possibilities with best training on hot technologies.

    Kumud, your exciting words really motivates everyone. Thanks for the blog.

    – Midhun VP

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      1. Midhun VP

        No Kumud, even I enrolled for it I was not able to attend it. I will definitely make use of the next session on Mobile Solution Development on starting September.

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        1. Vivek Singh Bhoj

          Midhun if you are interested in learning HANA, then you may get another chance as we received a mail from OpenSAP team saying that the HANA Course will be repeated again later this year.

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