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."

Free Clipart from Clipart Panda

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!

P.S. If you are considering continuing with the next course, Beyond the Basics, please read my disappointing review. I hope AGS will make some changes to these courses!

19 comments:

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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!

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

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

      Delete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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!

      Delete
    2. I agree with you about the final quiz. I also didn't think the course adequately prepared me to take the quiz. The instruction and the quiz (maddeningly multiple choice), didn't seem to mesh - the instruction was understandable and practical, but the questions were "lethal." I felt frustrated about my abilities, in what has always been a "passionate" hobby.

      Delete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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.

      Delete
    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

      Delete
    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.

      Delete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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.

      Delete
  6. Thank you for posting this! I had great difficulty with the quiz as well, so I appreciate knowing I wasn't the only one. I also emailed Pat Stamm and received a prompt reply with the hints. I was able to pass the quiz easily then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angie, Glad to hear you were able to pass after the hints! I hope you read my review of the next course, and I hope they address the issues I've raised.

      Delete
  7. So glad to hear that I'm not losing my mind over this last quiz! I've tried 3 times and my score is lousy. I have a friggin' masters degree in art history -- one would think I know how to write citations! But I agree with the above -- the examples are horrible, they don't appear in the course material and even Evidence Explained shows inconsistency with the coursework. Ridiculous waste of time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear your experience with the course was similar to mine. I hope they will listen & make some significant changes to it!

      Delete
  8. Thank goodness I found this post, Dana! I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I got a 2/10 the first time I took the quiz and then life got in the way, months later I reread everything and got a 7/10 yesterday and then got a 4/10 today. I agree that the quiz does not align with the course. This should be corrected. I will email them tomorrow. Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna, I'm glad you found the post. I hope that, with enough (or the right) people 'complaining,' they will make some changes. I learned a lot through the course, but the test frustrated me so much I didn't ever want to do a citation again! I'm sure that is not their intent.

      If you plan on continuing with their courses, please read my post about "Beyond the Basics" as I really would not recommend it in its present form: http://theenthusiasticgenealogist.blogspot.com/2016/11/a-disappointing-course-review-ags.html

      Dana

      Delete

Success: Finding a Death Certificate With a Misspelled Surname

My last post was about how I found my grandfather's younger brother's birth announcement by searching a newspaper using their addre...