SANS Self-Study

veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,737 ■■■■■■■■■■
Has anyone taken a class through self-study from SANS? I'm interested in knowing what the experience was like and what kind of material they give you.
Currently working on: Linux and Python

Comments

  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Are you referring to self-study with or without the OnDemand option? I think they're both somewhat generically referred to as "self-study," but the difference between SANS OnDemand and SANS SelfStudy is that the former (with the extra cost) has an extra multimedia slide presentation viewable through the SANS portal. The SelfStudy variation gives you the books, course DVD (if the course covers the use of a VM to practice with specific tools, etc.), and a set of MP3s (the MP3s are identical to the audio you'd get in the OnDemand presentation).

    All four courses I've taken through SANS have been via OnDemand. In hindsight, it might have been more cost-effective to do just the SelfStudy since the MP3s provide the same experience but I'd have to flip through the books as a follow-along. With OnDemand, I'm just kicking back watching the slides and listening to the synced audio. That's usually my first step before I manually go through the books themselves and do the hands-on exercises as a second pass through the material.

    An upside with paying a little extra for OnDemand is that you earn points in the OnDemand Rewards program:

    http://www.sans.org/ondemand/rewards.php

    If you end up doing about maybe five paid OnDemand courses, you'd accumulate enough points to get a free full-length OnDemand course. If you accumulate less points, you can get a short course or a free cert attempt with an OnDemand order. The catch is that your points expire unless you order another OnDemand course within a year. Chase the carrot...

    My opinion is that the OnDemand is worth it, partially because of the rewards system but it's also the next best thing to sitting in a class with live instruction (and I can go through it from home at any time). Listening to the MP3s is great, but there's no *ding* that tells you to flip the page. You can get a feel for what OnDemand is like by registering for a free demo on their site which gives you maybe the first half an hour of class for free.

    If you're on a budget (aren't we all) and you don't ever see yourself taking more than one or two SANS courses within a certain time frame, then just go SelfStudy. The books, DVD, and MP3s teach you just the same and it's enough to pass the certification attempt if you choose to accept the mission.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,737 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yup, I'm referring to the actual SelfStudy option. I listened to the demo on SANS web site and was impressed.

    Thanks for giving me your thoughts on it.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • NightShade03NightShade03 Member Posts: 1,383 ■■■■■■■□□□
    @docrice - awesome review of the SANS courses delivery formats! I actually search on google for a while to try and find the difference or some reviews on the Self Study vs OnDemand. Been meaning to purchase the web application security course for a while, but I've been debating on which format to use. Going selfstudy because I'll probably only take this one course.

    Thanks for the info!

    @veritas - which course are you planning to take?
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,737 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @docrice - awesome review of the SANS courses delivery formats! I actually search on google for a while to try and find the difference or some reviews on the Self Study vs OnDemand. Been meaning to purchase the web application security course for a while, but I've been debating on which format to use. Going selfstudy because I'll probably only take this one course.

    Thanks for the info!

    @veritas - which course are you planning to take?

    I've become intrigued with computer forensics as of late.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I forgot to mention that the OnDemand option also includes a short mini assessment quiz (anywhere from a few to twenty questions) at the end of most sections of the course which helps reinforce the material. To finish the course and receive a certificate of completion, you are required to pass all of the assessments with an 80%+, and sometimes when the assessment for a section has only four questions and you miss one, you have to re-do that particular assessment again (same set of questions though).

    OnDemand also keeps track the number of times you took each assessment and your passing scores so it gives you an audit trail of sorts of your learning performance.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
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