Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Genealogy Course Review: Guide to Documentation & Source Citation

I recently finished my second online course offered through the National Genealogical Society. This course, by Michael Grant Hait Jr, is all about creating citations. "American Genealogical Studies: Guide to Documentation and Source Citation" and "The Basics," which I took earlier, are prerequisites to "AGS: Beyond the Basics."

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The course consists of three modules:

  • Introduction to Documentation
  • Basic Citation Principles
  • Applying Basic Citation Principles
As I went through the modules, I gained confidence in my ability to cite sources. Beyond the basic "formula" for citation creations, examples were given for: books, periodicals, electronic sources, original records, census records, military records, pension application files, immigration records, vital records, court files, court registers, church records, and manuscript collections.

Each module ends with a quiz. The first two quizzes were fine. However, the final quiz was incredibly frustrating! In fact, instead of feeling confident in my ability to create citations, I didn't want to ever create another citation again!

Thankfully, I'm now taking another online course where I have to cite a lot of sources. I say thankfully because, although it was incredibly stressful at first, it is getting easier with practice! I don't know that I'm getting them all "right" - and there isn't always one "right" way to create a citation - but I'm getting them done! And, as I'm reading through the articles we are given to analyze, I'm studying how those who have been published created their citations.

As with "The Basics," I have mixed feelings about this course. Besides the final quiz, which took me about a week to pass, the course only took me about a week. I don't think it is worth the $45 I spent on it. However, members can buy both of these beginner courses as a bundle for $75. I bought them separately for a total of $90!

12 comments:

  1. Ugh, citing the sources. Stressful yet so necessary. Good luck with your courses.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! As I'm gaining a little more confidence, I'm figuring out it isn't so bad. And, it saves time (& money) in the long run!

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  2. Well done, Dana, and best of luck with the next level - looks way more interesting than learning how to cite sources ;-)

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    1. It is, Dara. I'll tell more about it soon! But, citations are so important... I'm starting to appreciate that more.

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  3. Just finished citations course as well. Agree with you on the final quiz. I don't really think the course adequately prepares you to take the quiz. No question that citations are important, but I think the course could be better. Some of the quiz questions ask you to cite sources that have no parallel example in the course material. Going on to next course, which I hope will be better.

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    1. Well said! I totally agree... "some of the quiz questions ask you to cite sources that have no parallel example in the course material."

      I just am finishing up a different course, which I will blog about soon, but then I plan on trying the next AGS course, too. I hope it is more worthwhile!

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  4. I have taken Quiz 3 (Applying Basic Citation Principles) three times and have not passed. I too am extremely frustrated with this quiz as I don't think it follows the instructions in the module. Even using my Evidence Explained, the answers differ.

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    1. I have a friend who is in the same situation. I should have written more on my post as I had this same experience. Things went fine & I was gaining confidence until that final quiz. It just doesn't make sense! I took it 3 times & got a 6 out of 10 each time. I finally emailed for help. They gave me some hints, and I was able to pass with an 8. And, I scoured "Evidence Explained" for help. I know it is frustrating! I told my friend to email for help, but she hasn't heard back from them yet. I understand this course is written by a different instructor than other courses, but I'm still unsure about paying $175 for the next course. Please let me know what happens! I hope they make some changes.

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    2. Thank you! I will try emailing them. I made a comment on the quiz saying basically what I said here and I haven't heard anything. That was prior to my initial post here. It says that the instructor sees all comments. I'm so frustrated and afraid of failing. Thanks again, Jami

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    3. I hope you do try again! My friend eventually heard back & was able to get the help she needed to finish the course successfully. I do think something needs to be done regarding this final test. And, I know it has made me & others rethink going further with this course.

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  5. Taken that final quiz three times now. Got a 6 the first time and then two fives. Tough quiz. I just emailed in and asked for help. Let's see what happens.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, but not surprised. I am now taking "Beyond the Basics." I'll post more about it later, but Pat Stamm is good at returning emails. Is that who you contacted? Please let me know how it goes! And if you hear anything back.

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