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Sunday, April 3, 2011

One down, 39 to go?

I recently enrolled in the Basic Australian package of nine courses on, using a heavy discount I won as a door prize at the Unlock the Past Australian History and Genealogy 2010 Roadshow late last year. The idea of study appeals to me. To qualify for their Certificate in Genealogical Studies-Australian Records I would need to continue beyond those first nine courses and complete a total of 40 courses (26 compulsory, 14 electives).

On 7 March I started “Methodology – Part 1”. On 14 March I posted here that I was working on module 2. A week later, I had finished modules 3 to 5 without breaking a sweat. I didn’t want to make the mistake of skipping through the course thinking “yes, yes, I know that” and not taking information in so I gave myself a few days break before embarking on module 6. For me, halfway through module 6 was where I started to feel like there was a bit more substance. Module 6 took longer as it involved a series of assignments such as transcribing documents. Finally, there was a 20 question multiple choice exam, and it was over.

I don’t have a final grade yet as the course doesn’t technically finish for another month. I’m confident that I did well – not perfectly, but well.

My overall impression of the course is that it was very light. I think I would have been disappointed if taking it as a stand-alone subject at full price. I don’t mind it as a building block in a larger package. From everything I have read I understand that later courses will increase in substance and difficulty but even taking into account that I have been playing genealogist on and off for 22 years, this one was light. I found the little there was about research plans quite useful but I was left wanting more. I didn’t participate in any of the online chat sessions, which may have changed my opinion, as I finished the course before there were any sessions at a reasonable hour (my time).

As a more general comment on the course material, it must be hard to try and come up with a “generic” research situation that doesn’t rely on location-specific knowledge. Even if the question asked is generic, the experience of the individual taking the course isn’t.

Despite my comments above, I am feeling very positive about continuing this course of study. I’m looking forward to courses that I hope and expect will give me more to get my teeth into!

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