Monday, July 25, 2011

BU Adds New Introductory Level Course to Genealogy Program

Boston University's Center for Professional Education has added a new introductory level course, Genealogical Essentials, to its Genealogical Research Program.  The new course, which starts in September, is geared toward newer genealogists or experienced genealogists who have gaps in their education.

After the announcement of the new course I took the opportunity to speak with Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL who developed the content for the course and Melinde Lutz Byrne, FASG, CG who is the director of the program.  Here's what I found out.

This course was developed in response to numerous queries fielded by Boston University staff from genealogical students looking for a class but who weren't quite at the appropriate level for the Certificate in Genealogical Research class.  Both Powell and Byrne consider the new class as "ideal preparation for taking the certificate program." Students who take the class will gain familiarity with online classes as well as the Boston University format which will allow them to focus strictly on genealogical coursework when starting the certificate program.

Title: Genealogical Essentials

Targeted Audience: The class is geared toward beginners, including those who have little genealogically research experience.  It provides an ideal start for people who have become interested in genealogy from watching programs such as Who Do You Think You Are?, Faces of America and History Detectives. The course is also well suited for more experienced genealogists who are self-taught or have some gaps in their foundation education as well as for those who have been doing genealogy on and off for many years and need to be updated with current terminology and methodology.

Pre-Requisites: There are no genealogical pre-requisites, however, students should have familiarity with a computer keyboard and Microsoft Word.  High speed internet access would also be helpful.

Course Format: The class is being offered as an online class only.  It is run on the Boston University "Vista" platform and fully automated so that the students can immediately see how well they are doing. The self-directed class lasts for four weeks with required assignments on a weekly basis.

Workload: The weekly workload includes assignments, readings, quizzes and an optional "Family Fun" extension assignment that can be done with family members and acts as a way to get students to record and share their own family history.  The week four assignment includes a final project.  Powell anticipates that it will take an average student 10 hours to complete each weekly module.

Course Materials: The class requires the purchase of two additional books: The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy (3rd Edition) by Val D. Greenwood and The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy (2nd Edition) by Kimberly Powell.

Cost: $775.00 for the four week online class.

Enrollment Deadline: August 18, 2011.  Enrollment is limited. For those who do not find a slot in the fall class, there will be another class in January 2012.

Class Start Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2011.

A Look Toward the Future

As for the future of the Boston University Genealogical Program, when asked, Byrne tossed me this enticing tidbit, "There will continue to be one-week special topic classes offered on-site in the summer in the last week of July and the first week of August each summer.  The 2012 summer classes will include a forensic genealogy advanced course taught by two of the country’s top forensic genealogists. Specific names to be revealed at a later date."

 Testimonials

Want to hear what former students have said about the BU genealogy research program?  Testimonials that were filmed recently during the 2011 New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) have been added to the BU website. If you attended NERGC you may even appear in the background of one of the short video clips.  I was surprised to see myself there!


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