Well, it’s now week 4 of the unit, and I thought I’d update you on the subject so far and my thoughts of it.

As the Unit Outline states, this course appears to be very much designed for people who are interested in family history or genealogy – either their own or as a general point of interest. With almost 700 people in this unit, it’s busy! We have been split up into smaller groups of up to 50 people though, and have self-assigned ourselves to either Beginner, Intermediate or Skilled level groups based on our own perceived level of knowledge of either family history or of studying online (or both). Because I’ve done online uni studies before, and have a decent level of knowledge about researching family history, I put myself into one of the skilled groups (perhaps I should have chosen intermediate though as I still have significant questions that I am not getting answers to).

Weeks 1 and 2 were orientation weeks, giving everyone a chance to get used to the uni interface and learning the basics of how to post a thread and make a comment, as well as watching a lecture, doing some preliminary readings and taking a quiz. Passing the quiz meant progression on the Module 1 in week 3. While there were a number of people who were anxious to get on with module 1 as soon as possible, it was kept firmly closed and not accessible until week 3 started, meaning that everyone had the opportunity to start with the same materials at the same time, and not feel out of place because they perceived themselves to be “behind” others due to others skipping ahead. Personally, while I would have liked to have been able to get moving with things, I was also grateful for the extra time to get used to things.

Module 1 was about Principles and Planning, and looked at the basics – things like starting with yourself and working backwards, using relevant and logical documentation to prove connections, talking to older generations and recording their knowledge, searching for family history memorabilia such as diaries and bibles and letters, being aware of spelling variations and how they can impact on searches, transcriptions, indexes and documentations, plus plenty of other basic bits as well that are handy to remember no matter how long you’ve been in this game for. Again, a video lecture, readings and a quiz made up part of the module.

During this module, we also started work on our Research Plans in preparation for the final assignment. I’ve done two so far, but think I’ll have to make up a third, but that’s for a separate post. But the good news is that we can choose whoever we want to as the focus of our research plan, so I just have to find someone in my family that I haven’t fully researched yet and still have a chance of finding out more about.

Module 2 which started this week, is about conducting the research, and it’s about time I started watching the lecture, reading the necessary readings, and doing whatever else I’m supposed to be doing this week.