There are ties back to tools, but mostly in how they can make your life easier. Everything this part f the course covers is done manually before they show you how to use a tool. In my opinion, this is exactly what they should be doing. I do not have an assembly background so some of this is valuable information I have been missing so far. From buffer overflows it moves on to format strings and heap overflows. There are sections on on fuzzing, fault injection and more that I have not gotten to yet. I hope to be finishing up the course in the next few days.
There are some benefits to the online version of this course, such as being able to set your own pace. That being said, I think this particular course would be worth paying the extra money for the classroom experience. These are much more complicated topics than the first week, and if you don't already have experience in assembly and memory structure you may find yourself wanting to ask questions that you will have to answer all on your own. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but I personally prefer active discussion to simply reading things online.
All in all, my impression of the second half of this training is very different from the first. Anyone who has experience with penetration testing, but wants to delve into the real heart of the subject should take a course like this.