[APG Public List] Boston University Online Course computer requirements

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG Elissa at PowellGenealogy.com
Mon Dec 21 14:16:58 MST 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: On Behalf Of Debbie Parker Wayne
> Sent: Sunday, December 20, 2009 1:29 PM
> RE: [APG Public List] Free genealogical lectures on web
> ... At the very least, we should be able to explain to the
> members why certain choices were made that limit the usability of an
> offering by all members. Those choices will always exist. For example, I
> will probably never be able to take the Boston University certificate
> program. I only have access to satellite or dial-up internet from my
> location. I was told the BU program requires higher-speed access to
> function properly. In this case my choice of residence limits my
> options. Although I am disappointed I fully understand why I cannot
> participate in the BU program.

Debbie, Your comment made me seek additional information from the Boston
University IT department about online courses there in general. Their
response was:

"We do support students as long as their connection speed is adequate
regardless of how they connect (i.e. Satellite, dial-up, etc).  There are
two potential issues with a bad Internet connection. The first is timing out
when trying to connect to Blackboard Vista during peak times (i.e. during
exams and when a big assignment is due) and the second is the streaming

The student can test his/her speed at
http://www.pcpitstop.com/internet/bw.asp. For the streaming audio/video 384
kbps is our minimum recommended speed. There can be some video issues at
this speed. The farther away from this speed they can get, the better their
streaming audio/video will be."

That's the general response for of BU's online courses along with an
invitation to contact the IT department directly if you are student.

The particulars of the Genealogy online course (Blackboard Vista) are that I
don't think it will impact your ability to get to the course material. The
speed seems to affect the audio/video of which we do have some introduction
videos to each module which to me is much like a short YouTube video, but
these do not affect the learning.  Besides reading the textual course
material online, another way to access it is to print it out and take it
with you to read away from the computer. The assignments are usually done by
creating Word files and then submitting them. The discussions, which look
like list threads, are carried on inside the course software but again you
can prepare a message and then post it in a copy and paste. 

Bottom line, Debbie, is that I don't think you need to be disappointed if
you want to sign up for the course.

The next 14-week class begins January 13 but the cutoff for registration is
Dec. 30. For more information see http://www.bugenealogy.com/index.htm. 

-- Elissa in Pittsburgh, PA
Instructor for BU online genealogy course Foundations module, Genealogy
Profession module and Ethnic and Geographic Specialties module

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG
CG and Certified Genealogist are Service Marks of the Board for
Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants
after periodic evaluations by the Board. 

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