Course Structure

Course Description

FHGEN 120 is an introduction to computer and internet research techniques for Family History. This online course focuses on methods of locating and managing internet and other computer-based genealogy resources.

Students need basic computer skills to be successful in the course. Please note that this course does not teach you basic computer skills, rather it is assumed that you are already quite familiar with using a computer. To help ensure that you do possess the necessary skills, you will work through a technical skills inventory and then take a quiz. The inventory is simple; you are asked one or two Yes/No questions about a basic skill. If you answer "No" to any question, you are encouraged to read or watch videos on the topic. Once you finish the inventory, take the short quiz at the end. If you don't pass the quiz the first time, review the materials and re-take the quiz. You may take the quiz as many times as you want, but you must pass the quiz with a 85% before you will be allowed to begin work in the course. Your highest score will be recorded.

If you need to develop or refresh your computer skills, you are invited to enroll in the one-credit BYU-Idaho course, GS 107: Computer Basics.

Course Outcomes

As a result of completing this course, you will be able to do the following:

  1. Create and edit a personal database using RootsMagic.
  2. Search and for genealogical records.
  3. Locate and use other genealogical databases and websites to plan research and find records that may solve research problems.
  4. Use social media for genealogical research.

Learning Model Architecture

The course follows a weekly cycle of Prepare, Teach One Another, and Ponder & Prove activities.


You will prepare by completing readings and other activities. You will learn how to perform family history research, gather information, and use various websites and computer programs.

Teach One Another

You will teach one another through discussion board interactions focused on experiences gained while completing learning activities. You will also have assignments to teach other people in their life and share those experiences with the class.

Ponder & Prove

You will demonstrate your skills by completing interactive activities, assignments, research projects, reports, and assessments (quizzes).

The course is not an independent study course. The group teaching and learning activities require students to cover material at the same time and at the same pace.


Lesson 01 - Introduction
Lesson 02 - Digital Organization for Genealogy
Lesson 03 - RootsMagic Introduction
Lesson 04 - RootsMagic Part 2
Lesson 05 - FamilySearch
Lesson 06 -
Lesson 07 - Synthesis Week
Lesson 08 - Genealogical Databases
Lesson 09 - Internet Searches for Genealogy
Lesson 10 - Reference Sources
Lesson 11 - Introduction to Wiki
Lesson 12 - Social Media for Genealogy
Lesson 13 - Apply Your Skills to Research
Lesson 14 - Conclusion

Course Overview

Course Expectations

Writing Requirements

In this course you will be required to write papers as part of certain assignments. You will need to follow the instructions carefully to write a professional, college-level paper. Make sure that your paper is focused on the topic given by your instructor. Be concise and clear. Rambling will not be accepted for full credit. Do not attempt to "pad" your responses by being wordy. Your papers should be well organized using paragraphs with correct spelling and punctuation standards.

To learn more about writing standards visit BYU-Idaho Writing Center website for tutorials and handouts. Tutoring sessions are also available to students in the Writing Center on-campus or online via Skype. If your schedule does not coincide with the Writing Center hours (9:00am - 5:30pm Monday - Friday) you may email your paper to and receive written feedback for your paper within 48 hours. Visit the Help for Online Students page for more details on these resources.

Remember, it is your responsibility to understand and follow the instructions completely! If you have a question regarding an assignment, ask your instructor early for clarification. Last minute questions cannot be expected to be answered immediately.


Course Texts and Materials

There are no texts for this course. However, you will need to purchase the latest version of the RootsMagic software program. You can purchase it for the student discounted price of $10 (works on both PC and Mac). Full instructions are included in the course. You may also use the software at your local family history center.

You also need Microsoft Word and Excel. If you do not yet have these programs on your computer, you can download them for free as a BYU-Idaho student. Follow the instructions on the Student Software Download page from the University Store.

Weekly Time Commitment

The online class policy is that for every credit hour, you should expect to spend 3 hours of work per week. For this class, you should plan on spending approximately 9 hours per week.

Grading Policies

This course is comprised of readings, activities, assignments, assessments (quizzes), and a final exam.


Explanation: This course has two exams: a mid-term and a final.

Points for each: 100

Overall percentage of grade: 10%


Explanation: These are quizzes at the end of each week that measure the student's abilities and understanding in a particular area. These quizzes can only be taken once.

Points for each: 30

Overall percentage of grade: 25%


Explanation: Assignments consist of short essays, questions, or other assignments that must be submitted to the instructor. They are only allowed to be completed once.

Points for each: 20

Overall percentage of grade: 35%


Explanation: Activities are step by step procedures that students follow to gain experience with the new content being taught that week. Often, students will have multiple attempts to complete these. Many of these activities will require the students to use the new researching skills that they are being taught that week. The Technical Skills quiz is included in Activities.

Points for each: 5

Overall percentage of grade: 20%

Discussion Boards

Explanation: These are also labeled as “Assignments” in I-Learn. Discussion boards usually begin with a task or assignment that the student must complete first. One example is that a student must teach someone else about that week’s lesson. Then the students are asked to share their experiences with the class.

Points for each: 15

Overall percentage of grade: 10%


If any technical difficulties arise throughout the course contact the Online Support Center before contacting the instructor.

Online Support Center

The Online Support Center (OSC) is designed to help any students taking online courses at BYU- Idaho. If you have questions about any online course or any feedback concerning online courses, instructors, or your online learning experience please contact the OSC.

OSC Contact Information:

Phone: 208-496-1800

Toll Free Phone: 866-672-2984

Text Messaging: 208-557-4142


Live Chat: Click Here

Website: Online Support Center

Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 AM - 7 PM, MST


Materials on BYU–I I-Learn and related sites may be protected by US Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code). These materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

Additional Information

University Policies

Academic honesty is required and any violation with be dealt with according to the University Academic Honesty Policy.

Personal Conduct

All of your correspondence with the teacher or other classmates must be respectful. Writing something disrespectful or “venting” is unprofessional and not becoming of a university student. In addition, it is not in accordance with the Honor Code of BYU–Idaho and you will be subject to discipline accordingly. You are invited to re-read the BYU–I Honor Code and the “Principles of Personal Honor.”


Please visit the University Policies page to read BYU-Idaho’s policies on student honor, students with disabilities, sexual harassment, and complaints and grievances.