Ken Scheler is an instructor at Texas State Technical College Waco in the Computer Networking & Systems Administration department. He has a passion for teaching and helping prepare his students to succeed in the industry. Upon discovering a need in his field—and for his students—for a comprehensive networking lab manual, Scheler wrote Installing and Administering Microsoft Windows Server Operating Systems: A Projects Lab Manual in 2005. (A free sample of Ken’s book may be downloaded at the detailed product page by following the title’s link above.) He was interviewed by Jacqueline Deavenport, a journalism major at Baylor University and an editorial intern at TSTC Publishing.
Q: How long have you been working at TSTC?
A: I started to work here December of 1999. It was back when we were on the quarter system. I was part-time, teaching four nights a week. And then the next quarter, which was in March, there was a full-time opening, and I applied for that. I came on board full-time in March of 2000. So I’ve been working here right at seven years.
Q: What classes do you teach?
A: Generally, I teach all of our upper-level classes. I have an associate degree with a Microsoft specialization, and I teach some of the upper-level Microsoft classes.
Q: What do like about working at TSTC?
A: I love working with the students, when you see that light bulb go off. There are other benefits too, of course, but I really enjoy working with the students.
Q: What kind of education/industry experience did you have before coming to TSTC?
A: First of all, I graduated from TSTC Waco in May of 1997. I worked as a network administrator for a couple of different companies here in Waco. Since I’ve been here, I obtained a number of industry certifications. That’s a continuing thing, because the industry is always changing. I have Comp TIA A+ certification, Comp TIA Network+ certification, and Comp TIA Server+ certification. I also have Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer for Windows 4.0 and 2000 and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator for Windows 2000.
Q: What made you want to write a book?
A: It was when we started teaching the Windows Server 2003 classes and we were looking around for a good textbook. We found a good textbook but all the lab manuals—written by a different people—left a lot to be desired, I’ll put it that way. So, I wanted to put something together for the students that would be easy to follow, self-explanatory, and, if need be, they could teach themselves.
We were also, at that time in the semester, going to be offering a course through distance learning. Whenever there are errors in a lab book in a classroom situation, it’s pretty easy to work through them. The student can raise their hand; I can go over, and I can help them. That’s not the case with distance learning. They have to e-mail me, and then wait until I respond back. I try to respond as quickly as possible, but in the mean time, they are still in limbo. I tested it, made sure that everything worked in it, and that it was something the students could understand, follow and learn from.
Q: Did you make the lab manual specifically for distance learning?
A: No, I made it for both distance learning and face-to-face classes.
Q: What was the hardest thing about writing a book/lab manual?
A: Probably the time involved, because it did take away time from my family. I did it on my own time at home. That was probably the hardest part, along with learning the new operating system. I was certified with the previous operating system, but there was still a little bit of a learning curve. I had to do a lot of research.
Q: About how long did it take you to write the book?
A: Five months.
Q: Has writing a book changed anything about you, changed your ideas or perspectives, or how to teach?
A: It made me more aware what students really need to get out of the class to be successful. A lot of times the students will go through a lab manual, and they will just do it without any thought and After they’re through, they don’t even know what they just did. But after they get through with the lab exercises in my book, my goal was that they would understand what they had done. That was the main goal, not for any of the money that I get out of it. I’ve been out in the workforce, plus our own department has a Windows network that I take care of. So I see things on a day-to-day basis that I know students are going to see when they get into the workforce and that they need to learn.
Q: What kind of writing projects do you have in mind for the future, if any?
A: I’m hoping to write another one, possibly the text and the lab manual, for the next server operating system, which is, right now, still in beta form. One of the hardest parts will be allocating the time to do it.