Hooray! Course over. I think I've found a new way of learning, instructor led over the Internet seems to be the way for me to go with many of the strange things I want to learn more about.
Ben Ramsey the tutor really knows his stuff. Between us (the class) we really threw some awkward questions at him and while we did our exercises he'd look up the answers and test things to find out. He'd give us the answers beyond the obvious, pointing out some real world issues and highlighting good practice methods over acceptable solutions.
I feel a lot more confident in coding using PHP now. The next pages I need to code from scratch will use PHP instead of Coldfusion though I don't think I'll be recoding all my Coldfusion stuff any time soon. "If it works, don't fix it" as my old Physics teacher used to say. I've also got to look at upgrading the server PHP version from PHP4 to PHP5 as there are some neat little features worth using.