Saturday, August 24, 2013

SLCC Genealogy Course: Post #1 - Offer, Acceptance and the Adventure Begins

While attending the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference, I had lunch with Karen Clifford. She is among other things, one of the instructors and curriculum developers of the Salt Lake Community College, Continuing Education - Genealogy Program. Once again I longed to have the time and money to take their genealogy course.

When you attend genealogy conferences over the years you start to hear the same things repeated. The classes are usually an hour long and the poor instructors have the challenge of teaching you everything they know on the subject in that short time frame. Don't get me wrong, I'm always learning new things, but I often feel like the class I attended just scratched the surface of a subject. While at the BYU Conference I happened to remark to Janet Hovorka that I would take any genealogy class, anyone offered me, because I never get enough. I would love to take more advanced classes but I couldn't afford to. I didn't realize at the time she was also an instructor at the Salt Lake Community College's Genealogy Program.

Janet emailed me Fri Aug 16th with an idea. Would I be interested in auditing the Salt Lake Community College's Genealogy program, as a non-credit student, in exchange for blogging about it.  I've had some great offers for blogging before but this takes the cake.  I said Yes, IMMEDIATELY.

The following Monday, Aug 19th, Kathy Jonsson, Program Coordinator at Salt Lake Community College, called me and presented the offer. The tuition would be waved in exchange for me blogging once a week my experience going through their Genealogy courses. This was an experiment for them. They wanted to see if a blogger reporting their experience going through the course, would be more effective then spending money on more traditional advertising methods.

My big question was "When does the class begin?"  I was told I could start in January 2014 or begin that coming Wednesday, Aug 21st. I thought for a minute and realized my life wasn't going to be any less busy in January than it is right now. It was easy then to say "Sign me up! I'll start Wednesday."

So this past Wednesday I began a new adventure in life. I am a college student once again. Its been a long time since I attended college and things have changed. One of the greatest things about attending Salt Lake Community Colleges' Genealogy course is its all online. Yup, from the comfort of my own home I am attending college. There is no way I could be doing this if I had to commit to a specific day and time in a physical classroom right now.  I completed the Lesson 1 assignments this week by doing them in little chucks of time.  My most common time being online was about 11:00 pm at night. I don't know of any college offering classes at that time of the day.

This is the Salt Lake Community Colleges description for the Genealogy program.
Whether you plan to become a professional researcher or want to record family information for future generations, SLCC offers courses that will fit your needs. Develop solid research and organizational skills and learn to properly use genealogical records. All program courses are offered online and can be taken as credit or non-credit. SLCC offers pathways focused on International or U.S. genealogical research. 6 classes are required to complete the program and earn a certificate.
The first course in the program is "Computer & Internet Tools for Genealogy". Here is the description.
Introduction to genealogy computer programs and basic genealogy skills used to conduct research and document records with appropriate citations. Students will learn how to use Internet tools for genealogy research. U.S. and International focus.
Each course is 15 weeks long. They are 3 credit hours, so that works out to 10 hours of class and homework time a week. Lesson 1 did not take me 10 hours to complete. That is not surprising since I found they were using RootsMagic as their genealogy software program for the course. I kinda have that one under my belt since I work for RootsMagic. I also already had a Google account setup. I had to read the syllabus, read about my instructor, who is Janet Hovorka by the way, watch a short video, and schedule to attend an online webinar. Yup, that webinar was already on my calendar.

The part of the assignment that DID take the most time was introducing myself to my fellow classmates. I always struggle with that. I hate making a first impression and fear I will sound like a dork. We have class members from all different walks of life and age, it appears that the only common thing among us is the desire to learn more about our families.  I found myself envious of the students with no prior experience in doing genealogy. How I wished I had the opportunity to attend a structured course on genealogy when I first began. It would have prevented a ton of bad "learning experiences" along the way. They are going to learn good research skills and practices right from the start. Me, I'm sure I'm going to have to learn to break some bad habits picked up over the years.

So, I hope you will join me in my new genealogy adventure. I'm just so excited about this that my toes tingle. At the same time I fear I could fall flat on my face in front of all of you.  Either way I'm going to learn something new and get better at doing something I love.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

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