During 2012 I started and completed the National Genealogical Society’s American : A Home Study Course. Overall it was a great experience, taking me through many different record sets, repositories, methodologies and techniques many of whom I hadn’t fully utilized in my research. The course was very valuable to me in that it gave me a broader experience in these areas and taught me some different ways to organize and analyze my research.
The program does have a few drawbacks which I know the organization is aware of. First of all, it is all on CD. Therefore, there are no opportunities for updates to the lessons, links, etc. This did become a little frustrating when, after following the directions on the assignment, it was returned to be reworked because of a change I was unaware of. Secondly, the price was a little high for the actual return value… meaning, the grading is done by volunteers and therefore, some lessons weren’t returned for months after submitting them, which I think was pushing the limits since I did pay $475 for the graded option of the course. Third, the online list-serve was not archived, for which they had their reasons (I’m not sure I ever understood why) so if you asked a question, it may have been asked and answered a million times before. The overall tone on the list-serve was negative and after about a month, I unsubscribed because I found it challenging to read.
I attended the NGS conference in Cincinnati in May 2012, and attended a lunch-time review of upcoming changes to the program. They intend to put the course into an online format and update the lessons to match the technology of today. They gave us a preview and showed off many amazing features that will really improve this course. I think this is one of many benefits of being a member of the National Genealogical Society and I am excited to see changes and updates to the course. They didn’t have an exact timeline for this new platform so keep checking on it.