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James Luetkehoelter

Nearly any SQL topic presented at times in a slightly eclectic manner.

Commentary: PASS 2007 session "levels"

Most speakers received their evals with comments yesterday, and one common comment I got for my "Disaster Recovery for the Paranoid DBA" was that it wasn't really a 400-level session. Hmmm...I never submitted it as a 400-level session. I categorized it as a 200-level session (if you look at the actual description of the session on, you'll see that for the experience level). However, the numbering was 400-ish, thus it gave the implication of a 400-level session (ironically I think Kalen gave a much more advanced topic on concurrency that I believe was number 306). Did anyone else run into this confusion?
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2007 8:49 AM by James Luetkehoelter



Linchi Shea said:

One comment for my session was that it wasn't really 300 level, it was 200 level. Another comment suggested it should have been classified as 400 level instead of 300 level. So on average, it was correct to classify it as a 300-level session :-)

October 30, 2007 1:30 PM

Kalen Delaney said:

I think the session number is supposed to indicate the experience level. Check other sessions, and you'll see for the most part level 3 sessions are numbered in the 300s, level 2 sessions are in the 200's. My session was listed as experience level 4 and got a 400 number, although one comment did say there was too much basic info in it and should NOT have been a 400 session.

I think PASS just screwed up with your session number, since it is clearly indicated experience level 2.

My biggest problem with my evals was that I was the first session Wednesday, and the keynote was running over time. I got notified by the PASS crew to start 15 minutes late to give people a chance to get there from the  keynote. About 6 evals really dinged me for that, and said I should keep better track of the time my session was supposed to start!

October 30, 2007 3:53 PM

RickHeiges said:

James, I listened to your session earlier today.  I thought it was good.  I did not really look at the session number by the way.  I liked the magnet story!  When I go through my evals, I get comments rannging from all over the spectrum.  BTW, at another conference that I spoke at, I was dinged on my eval for not being "Randy Dyess" as I filled in for him and presented a completely different topic.

October 30, 2007 7:05 PM

James Luetkehoelter said:

It's weird how people eval, isn't it? You get blamed for things out of your control, you get credited for things you might not have done. Overall mine was a good eval, I was just surprised at the comments about 400 level. I can see the misunderstanding that the attendees had. I had people thrown out of the room because of fire codes, and I got dinged for that :) In fact I heard there was one person so irate outside the doors when they finally closed them that they almost had to call security :)

Thanks for the feedback and solidarity all :)

October 31, 2007 8:35 AM

Bill Graziano said:

It looks like we did get that one wrong.  We do use the session numbering to tell attendees what level a course is.  We normally use the level that a speaker chooses.  If we feel it should be a different level we work with the speaker to set the correct level.  In this case it looks like we made a mistake.  Sorry about that.  

October 31, 2007 9:23 AM

James Luetkehoelter said:

No problem - Actually most said that it wasn't quite a 400-level one - they weren't complaining so much as commenting on it. The reason I made the post was just to see if that was a problem for others.

October 31, 2007 10:33 AM

AaronBertrand said:

I talked to Bill G. about this already, but there was certainly one 400 session I attended that should have been a 200 (or maybe a 300).

The sad thing was, 5 minutes into it, I realized I had regretted attending the same session at last year's PASS, and hadn't learned from my mistake because I had totally forgotten about it.  So, the mis-label actually burned me twice.  ;-)

October 31, 2007 12:06 PM

Bulent said:

Hello All,

I have been dba for 3 years.  I attended the PASS summit in Denver.  I think that it could have been better if the level of the sessions were little clear.  The sessions that I have attended that had 300 or 400 labels mostly 200 level.  It was really hard to know just by the label and know the level of the session and attend the one that I I was interested.

October 31, 2007 3:25 PM

andyleonard said:

In my opinion, it's also difficult to classify levels - especially in the database professional field. I know database professionals who are outstanding in one area and weak to average in others. Heck, I'm that way too.

At the PASS Summit I attended a couple 300/400-level sessions that were introductory courses to me, but probably not to database administrators without a decade or two as application development under their belt.

Although I haven't helped organize an event the size of the PASS Summit, I have participated in organizing a few Code Camps. This is a common complaint and I would like to address it better. So far, I haven't found a good way.

Ideas, anyone?

:{> Andy

November 1, 2007 6:37 AM

roman said:

<quote>In fact I heard there was one person so irate outside the doors when they finally closed them that they almost had to call security :)</quote>

Wow James, you have some crazy fans out there. I used to be a celebrity bodyguard, let me know if you need help making it through the crowd at the next conference ;)

November 2, 2007 9:21 AM

James Luetkehoelter said:

I think the operative word there is "crazy" not "fan" :) I'll keep you in mind though Roman :)

I don't know about the whole session rating thing - it's really hard to do, since, as Andy pointed out, everyone has varying areas of specialization - what seems like a 400 level to one person might seem like a 200 level to another.

The thing about this that I'm concerned with is at least consistency. Perhaps more of a focus on the description of the session rather some sort of coding. Dunno, something to ponder....

November 2, 2007 10:03 AM
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About James Luetkehoelter

I am passionate about what I do - which is DBA, development, IT and IT business consulting. If you don't know me, haven't met me or have never heard me speak, I'm a little on the eccentric side. One attendee recently described me as being "over the top". Yup, that about says it - because I only speak on topics that I'm passionate about.
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