Monday, March 21, 2016

Meet the Dropout

When I embark on a project I usually stick with it but today you're looking at a Dropout

I expressed my disappointment with the University of Tasmania's Introduction to Family History Course last week when I compared it with a similar offering from the University of Strathclyde. 

I am enjoying the Strathclyde course but I was totally frustrated with the course from Tasmania for a number of reasons. It was interesting, at a family history group meeting, last week that when I discussed the course with two other students they shared my concerns. I had committed to continuing with the Tasmanian course but then yesterday I realised I had quite a few things on my plate and rather than battle on my purposes would be better served by working on other things and concentrating on the Strathclyde course.

This morning I withdrew from the course at The University of Tasmania. 

A contributing factor to my withdrawal was finding, on a list of recommended reading, one of Barry J Ewell's works. I'm concerned that due diligence may not have been observed in selecting this text for the course. Surely the bona fides of a recommended author must be investigated before placing a work on a reading list. I find it most disappointing that a tertiary institution that has a commitment to high standards of ethics would use a text from someone whose reputation is in doubt.
From Module 2 Conducting Your Research
In addition one of the video lectures in the course refers to The Five steps for conducting your research developed by Mr Ewell from his book "15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering Your Family History" published in 2012.
From Video Lecture: Module 2 Conducting Your Research
These steps, that the lecturer told us Mr Elwell (sic) developed, look very much like the Research Process on the Familysearch Wiki,

1. Identify what you know.
2. Decide what you want to learn.
3. Select records to search.
4. Obtain and search the records.
5. Evaluate and Use the information

Last week I raised the issue of Mr Ewell with the course co-ordinator who is investigating the matter.


Genealogy Boomerangs said...

Jill I have also enrolled in the Strathclyde course, the Uni of Tas Intro course seems very low-level compared to most of the uni courses I have ever done. the Strathclyde one is more focused on concepts and a deeper understanding. The Barry Ewell thing is also a worry. I will continue through I think and see what the convicts one is like. See you on the Strathclyde site. Barb.

GeniAus said...

Thanks for the comment, Barb, and your echoing of my concerns. I won't be dropping out of Strathclyde.

Shelley Crawford said...

I wouldn't call what you are doing 'dropping out'. I'd say you were reallocating a valuable resource (your time!) to more productive use. :-)

Vicki Heneker said...

So sorry, as this seems such a silly question, but is there a button somewhere on your blog where I can "LIKE" something you have posted???? I am probably just not looking clearly....I love your blog....cheers Vicki in Adelaide

Sandra Williamson said...

Hi Jill, just my two bobs worth,
I am also doing the Strathclyde course and the Uni of Tas Intro course concurrently - so not much blogging going on at the moment!
I am undecided about the Tas Intro course, I am learning a lot but I am fairly self driven, the course is very accessible to those who have little or no experience in either online learning and/or family history. I am not a beginner however I lack a well rounded and indepth knowledge of the techniques of family history and like many others am self taught. For these reasons I am finding the TAS course very instructive. I too was surprised by the Barry Ewell gaff but this probably reflects the pressure that staff are under in terms of time.
I love the content of the Strathclyde course but the hangout although well intentioned was full of technical problems. I think this course would be difficult for students unfamiliar with the technology to get there heads around.
I hope that Tas Intro course can work through the difficulties that it is having, as it is wonderful to have home grown and home curated content that is affordable and accessible.
Good on you however for making a choice about which course you wish to pursue - unfortunately we can't do everything including the housework!

GeniAus said...

Thanks Vicki, pleased to see you reading my ramblings. If you are on Google+ you can click on the symbol on the bottom of the post otherwise one has to comment.

Kylie Willison said...

I'm disappointed to hear that Barry Ewell's work hasn't been removed from the UTAS course as I reported it to the university when I did the course. I was asked if I knew of any alternatives to Barry's work and I supplied a link to one of Shauna Hicks' articles which conforms to ethical and scholarly standards and is by an Australian. I hope they do act on this matter and remove links to Barry's plagiarised work.


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