Monday, September 15, 2014

The Virtual Institute -- a new and hopefully vigorous hybrid

The excuses for not continuing genealogy education are steadily dwindling.

Another excuse winked out last week, when three friends and colleagues announced the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. The Virtual Institute will offer a series of short courses on-line in webinar format: four lectures of 90 minutes each, plus copies of the video and some exercises, all for about $70 per course. The format is two lectures on each of two consecutive Saturdays. Cofounders Michael Hait, Melanie Holtz, and Catherine Desmarais are all board-certified genealogists.

Compared to a standard webinar, a Virtual Institute course takes much longer and can go much deeper, and it will be limited to 100 students each. Compared to a standard institute course of 30 that lasts five days, a Virtual Institute course is much larger and much shorter -- and also much less expensive in money (no travel, no lodging) and in time (no week-long absence).

What The Virtual Institute cannot offer is the camaraderie and personal contact of a regular institute. But it has a corresponding asset the regular institutes can't match: much greater flexibility in offering specialized courses at all levels. (Traditional institutes were notoriously slow in recognizing the need for courses in DNA.) The first five planned courses illustrate the point: proof arguments (Michael Hait, CG), agricultural records (Mark Lowe, CG), family photographs (Maureen Taylor), Irish research strategies (Donna Moughty), and autosomal DNA (Blaine Bettinger).

For those of us who want to learn and can't get out, The Virtual Institute will be the place to "go." It will add significantly to the many ways that genealogists can learn from the best.

*Note 22 September 2014: VIGR has been rechristened "The Virtual Institute" and this post has been revised to reflect that change.*

Harold Henderson, "The Virtual Institute -- a new and hopefully vigorous hybrid," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 15 September 2014 ( : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

Harold Henderson, "VIGR -- a new and hopefully vigorous hybrid," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 15 September 2014 ( : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Sandy Barnett said...

Registered last week for the 1st VIGR. Looking forward to the experience.

Dana Leeds said...

Thanks for telling about this. It sounds neat!

Also, I nominated you for the "One Lovely Blog" Award!