Read what my students say about Internet classes at my Computer Institute
Last Update: March 9, 2010

So far, I have taken two of John's courses: Introduction to Visual Basic 2005 and ASP.Net using VB 2005. 

The VB intro course takes you through completing an entire working project and some of the things that you do in the project, such as writing to the registry and working with disk files, gets you started on more advanced topics that you might only see in an intermediate level class. By the time you're done with the class, you'll know enough to start putting your own project(s) together. 

The book that is used for this class, authored by John as well, uses a classroom setting to teach and communicate the .NET concepts, which is great and very helpful too, especially to people have been coding for years in different languages, but know nothing about .NET.

ASP.Net using VB 2005 was the second class I took. While I had to end my class early because of a medical reason over the summer, this course continues to extend your knowledge in the .NET realm while mixing it with ASP.Net and other aspects of web programming. 

I have to admit, I've learned a lot about Visual Basic 2005/2008 since January 2009 and would recommend these classes to anyone looking for flexible training options or anyone looking to further their knowledge."

Steve Treible
Lackawanna, NY

This course was very useful to me as a tester working in an Oracle environment. 

The Murach textbook was excellent, with clear and challenging examples, and completely up to date to 10g.

John was helpful in answering questions I had. My only complaint was that there were only a few students in the course and the interaction between the students was minimal. 

After the first couple of sessions, nobody was attending the live Q and A sessions. So, most of the value of the course was from the book.

Ruth L

John Smiley Note: 

What Ruth means by the live 'Q and A sessions' are the one hour, optional chat that I hold each week.

Chats are optional---and it's been my experience that only about 10% of my students take advantage of these chats. Typically, students take Internet classes don't feel compelled to 'be' somewhere at a given time---and that seems to be the case as well with these chats.

Chats are open ended---no formal agenda, and if you don't attend you aren't missing anything. 

Regardless of attendance, I participate in all the chats, even with just a single student in attendance, and full logs of the chat (provided someone besides me attends) are available for viewing aftewards.

I have taken three online classes from Professor Smiley and I have learned so much from them! The text books he selects are excellent and after working through them, scribbling notes in the margins and highlighting key points, they became terrific reference books. 

Several years ago, I took a VB6 class and then followed it with the Professor's VB6 boot camp, a 12 week class specifically geared to helping the student pass the Microsoft certification exam. I can state unequivocally, that I would not have passed the certification exam without the boot camp!

More recently I've taken an SQL Server class and an ASP class. Both were excellent. My experience with SQL prior to the class, was writing queries. The range of knowledge I gained in regards to views, stored procedures, triggers and functions bumped my SQL skills to a new level. I'm finishing the final chapters of the ASP class as I write this. The amount of material covered was significant, and even now, with a few chapters to go, I feel confident claiming a professional level of ASP skills.

Online classes are not for everyone. You must be disciplined to put in the time and cover the material or you will not get anything out of it. But if you commit the time, then I highly recommend Professor Smiley's online classes. He has a wealth of knowledge and is truly committed to teaching. 

Lezly Harrison
Lafayette, CO

Professor Smiley provides instruction on a wide range of programming  subjects at highly attractive prices. 

His course offerings are well structured for novice and intermediate level instruction. 

I personally appreciated the module presentation scheme he uses which while providing for step-by-step learning also allows the student to progress at his own pace. 

Sometimes I had more time to pay attention to the course than at others. 

His use of Blackboard like instruction greatly facilitates an exchange of ideas and learning concepts allowing instructor and students 
to participate interactively.

If you are looking for instruction in a subject he offers, I suggest you try a class. 

Note that Prof. Smiley offers make-ups of classes at encouraging rates should you find yourself short of time and wanting to 
finish a course at a later date. 

Great learning site!

Will Harmon

John Smiley Note: 

I upgraded my electronic classrom from to Open Source Moodlerooms. The experience has been a good one.

Referring to the encouraging rates that Will refers to, a class is typically $200-$300, depending on its length. You can repeat the same class, FOREVER, for a repeat rate of $50 ($45 if paying via PayPal).

I took John Smiley's online Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 class and found it to be worth every penny. 

The weekly assignments were given and taught in an orderly and progressive manner leaving me with a sense of gratification after each completion. 

I also think having the textbook written by Mr. Smiley leads to a better experience, allowing the class to flow with the same thought pattern as the read text. 

I would highly recommend this class and I think you will finish it thinking, "This code stuff is pretty cool."

Tim Griggs 
Gainesville, GA

I have taken numerous online courses with Professor Smiley over the past 10+ years. 

In that time I have gone from slightly better-than-novice to a state that I can, today, consider to be 'accomplished'. 

Much of the credit goes to Professor Smiley, whose friendly, knowledgeable approach, not only helps convey and simplify the information, but provides the positive, encouraging hands-on environment that is so helpful while trying to tackle these complex topics. 

Through the use of carefully selected texts -- many of which he has authored with the novice in mind -- easy-to-use online tools, and generous accessibility, Professor Smiley tackles the entry points into various and sundry topics. 

Offerings include .NET, Java, web programming, databases, and several others. I would highly recommend his courses for anyone looking for an entry-point into the areas broached by his offerings. 

His courses are no substitute for real-world experience, nor would I recommend them for seasoned professionals. However, if one seeks to either learn a new area of programming, or finds oneself tasked in an area where they have only modest facility or experience, these courses are an excellent choice. 

Bruce Neiger

Prof. Smiley adds a special touch and unique perspective to his teaching style. 

He is most generous with his time, approachable, and easy to communicate with.

I could only wish that I had him as my professor in college but since those days are long gone, I was but fortunate to discover his person and internet classes.

A teacher you would like your kids to have, his classes are worth attending, – grab him while you can 

Janice Duterte-Puffer

I've taken several of John's introductory courses. 

What started out as a 'just for fun' class helped me decide to finish a BS degree and start working in the computer field. What I really enjoyed was having a fairly realistic project to work on; it really reinforced the concepts of the class and made it fun to look forward to the next class.

The only negative is that since I did take several different classes from John, I did see the 2 examples he used for creating a realistic project. 

I would have liked to see maybe a couple more projects so I didn't use the same 2, but that's a very minor complaint.

David Dutton

My brief time on the classes has been very positive---very accessible for a blind student.

The only negative, and could be a technical issue, it could be with my browser Internet Explorer 7, or my jaws 10 or 11 screen reader.

The edit field on the forums does not say any words or characters when moving backward or forward, and when posting, I could not find a button or link which said post new topic---So maybe that could be improved to the forums.

Apart from that, real excellent service that you are providing---would recommend it to any one.

Actually going to recommend the c# on the programming blind free list org group and mention your site.


Marvin Harkin

PS: Even the chat site is accessible even though the time difference being 15 or 16 hours different. Was able to use the chat on Moodle. 
Very accessible. Was able to post a message. So very good service.

John Smiley Note: 

Marvin is a blind student from Australia who is working through several classes on my website, and doing a great job.

If you are blind or visually impaired, consider taking one of my classes. 

My electronic Moodle classroom is, I've been told, JAWS Screen Reader compatible (it has a setting for it.)

John Smiley's books may not be the only books in market you find that illustrate as real world problems being solved. 

But I've never read such ones that gave me, also, real world field experience- how to talk to my clients, how to collect data I need for my project, how to work with people in groups, and so forth. 

I recommend these books to people who, not only, want to pursue programming as their career but also who want to fall in love with it."

Fasil Girma

I've been working with computers for about 12 y ars now. 

I've tried plenty of those teach yourself books. 

Wanting to learn C#, I came across John Smiley C# book online. 

I then proceeded into the C# course. 

After starting into the book I realized it wasn't like your typical programming book. 

His book was much more enjoyable to read, and it made my learning process throughout the course very understandable and easy. It was the first book I've read, where it actually put you into a classroom environment. 

The way he teaches in his book is absolutely amazing. It was the first time I've ever seen it done in this fashion. 

If you're interested in learning C#, I highly recommend you pick up John Smiley's C# book, and make your way over to his course. 

Excellent book, and great course.

Thas Eagans

John Smiley Note: 

Thas is one of the Active Duty Military members currently taking one of my classes for free.

I really appreciate your willingness to work with students and adjust to their needs.

As an independent programmer, I don't have anyone that I can contact with problems in developing my programs. But, starting over with the basics and working thru the projects is an immense help, especially with the idea that I have someone (you and my classmates) to ask for help!

Audrey Palmer 

I'm convinced that your teaching system it is the best that I found as of today. 

I have already read so many computing books and all of them are large pieces of useful information but separated, so if you
would like to write a program, it is impossible.

I have been working for IBM for 18 years so I was familiar with system information having worked with PC's since the first PC arrived.

I have never seen a learning system like yours, so I'm pleased to tell you that it was very useful for me.


Teo Gaona

For years I was trying to learn Java but every class I took just sent me online tutorials with no way to get any questions answered except to look them up myself. 

It was very frustrating and usually I just gave up because I couldn’t get my questions answered. 

Then, I took Introduction to Java with John Smiley and I learned more than the other classes I took combined. 

He is always there to answer questions (usually that day or the next), and he will explain it until you get it, sparing no effort to help you. 

There is also an email forum where questions can be submitted. 

The book he uses, which he wrote, has the clearest explanations of any Intro Java book (and believe me, I have many of them), which is very helpful if you are a beginner. 

I found his classes to be the best value on the internet, and when you factor in all the personal help and attention, they become invaluable! 

I would recommend to anyone who is interested in learning Java to take John Smiley’s courses, as you will definitely get your money’s worth and learn as much as you want to in the shortest time!

Vivian Tirabasi

I have taken several of your courses on line over the past several years; I have 7 of your books and have been very pleased with my experience in all of your classes. I find them challenging and very easy to follow.

Keep up the great work.

Jim Combs
Electrical Engineer

I had always nursed the dream of becoming a prominent computer scientist right from childhood. 

When we could afford a home connection, I surfed the Net all day looking for an ebook website to aid me in achieving my dream, all to no avail.

I got so frustrated that I vowed that the next search would be the last one!!.

Then it happened. I went on Google and typed in "Download the best c++ manual" and the first on the list was none other than "Learn to program with C++ (Professor smiley)"! I downloaded it and it has given me a strong footing in my career pursuit.

All thanks to the best gun in the business, John Smiley.

Kudayisi Tobi

Overall, I liked the class and plan on taking more courses in the future.

Following is my feedback regarding the Intro to Visual C# 2008 Express Edition course that I took during the summer of 2009:

01) Ability to work on the course anytime that fits my schedule.
02) Instructor is very flexible about when assignments are turned in.
03) Don't have to drive somewhere to take the course.
04) Inexpensive.
05) No examinations.

01) I was the only active student taking the course, so I didn't have the option of communicating with fellow students.
02) Missed the input from other students that you get with a traditional course.
03) One of the first assignments given could not be completed based on the course material covered at that point. I had to research the internet in order to be able to complete the assignment. In a higher level course, this might be acceptable, but this was a beginner course.
04) Course book contained a number of errors, although most were not really bad.
05) Back and forth banter in the textbook (to mimic a classroom environment) got old real quick.
06) Would have liked more advance notice about assignments.
07) In general, I have a hard time believing that a computer illiterate person could successfully complete the course.
08) Quizzes were a waste of time in my opinion.  I think it would be more beneficial to give an extra assignment.

Kurt Meyer

John Smiley Note: 

Quizzes are an optional element in all of my courses, but I recognize Kurt's comments concerning them. Some of my students really enjoy the testing that a quiz provides, some do not.

Kurt is correct in that I need to have some extra assignments in my Introductory courses, and I'm going to do so starting immediately.