From the outset this class proved to be challenging yet, very enjoyable. A large hurdle for me was the fact that I have had only one "introductory" course in COBOL and it was over two years prior to taking this course. However, my knowledge of CICS internals and processing gave me a leg up on the most of my classmates. The course and instructor were extremely thorough in covering all the elements and explaining them in detail. The instructor taught not only the commands and parameters. He also made deviations into proper programming structure, CICS (trans / terminal) process flow and Basic Mapping Support (BMS). These discussions gave me a better understanding of a couple of different areas within CICS. As well as making the course very well rounded.

One of the techniques the instructor used, which I found extremely helpful, was to go into depth about a particular piece. While doing so, he would tell us "This may not make sense right now but later we will get back to it." Then when the subject that used that piece surfaced, he would then explain how the piece fit. This seemed to allow the class to flow from one subject to another without having to pause for the lengthy discussions and explanations. It also allowed him to put the explanations at the start of the session when the class was fresh. This was the first time I've seen this method work well. The course layout allowed for instruction in the morning hours and lab time in the afternoons. The lab time consisted of writing a program which essentially ended up being a VSAM repository interface with message lines. Each day we would write a different piece of the program and the subsequent days add to it ( i.e. 1st day intro /welcome screens (maps), 2nd day "add" function, 3rd day "inquire" function...)

My classmates and myself agreed that there was never enough Lab time. Knowing that we had to allow for the coming functions, most of us planned ahead and built object oriented modules, that could be easily duplicated and modified. This made for a couple of (very) late nights at the beginning of the week, but allowed the rest of the week to flow with only a couple of extra hours spent in the lab.

In summary, I would have to rate this course as one of the most rewarding I've taken in quite a long time. With personal obstacles and those put in place by the course itself, cleared. I plan on attending the "Advanced" class in August and hope it is just as satisfying.

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