By Shannon Combs Bennett, Student
If you plan to complete any of the certificate programs through The National Institute, except for the Librarianship Certificate, you will need to complete the Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program Parts 1, 2 and 3. They are not in the typical course structure and are very different from any of the other courses you will take through The National Institute. For each of the Analysis and Skills Mentoring courses you have a year to complete the assignments and you will meet one-on-one with an advisor. I just completed Part 1 and wanted to share my thoughts with you.
The purpose of these courses is to see how well you have put together the information you learned from your required courses in the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels. It is suggested that you don’t sign-up to take the course until you have taken all the courses in one level or if you are taking them quickly and sequentially sign-up toward the end of it.
I did not find Part 1 too incredibly difficult. It did test critical thinking skills calling on all the basic level courses to see if you really understood basic genealogical methodology and principles. The bulk of the course is a series of questions and an exam which puts you through your paces with deduction, reasoning, and creating logical conclusions from the evidence presented.
The final portion of the course is reading and analyzing a peer-reviewed journal article, originally published in the NGS Quarterly. I found the article interesting and it was generic enough I would think most family historians would enjoy it too. The author taught the reader a lesson about genealogical research by sorting through one of her family puzzles. But, as with all articles, you need to read it a couple of times to really understand and digest all of the information.
This course also provides the opportunity to schedule two mentoring sessions with faculty. I personally enjoyed the one-on-one sessions where I gained feedback on my assignments. The virtual meetings are a great way to interact with other students and faculty, but the consultation was much more intimate. I could ask questions I had regarding assignments and discuss problem areas the mentor saw in my assignments. That personal feedback makes me feel better about my work.
I have heard a lot of people are intimidated by the Analysis and Skills Mentoring courses. There really isn’t a need. If you take your time and don’t procrastinate on the assignments, Part 1 is simple to complete. You are given a year so you don’t feel rushed, take advantage of that!
See you online!