Learning Center

FAQs for AGS & CGS Courses

How does an online course work?

Online courses use a Learning Management System (LMS) to provide students with various materials needed for the courses, including web pages, videos, and websites. NGS uses the Canvas Learning Management System by Instructure.

How long does it take to complete an online course?

Unlike other continuing education courses, NGS courses have no set time or date for weekly attendance. These courses are geared toward individuals who have busy lives and varied schedules. After registration, you have access to the course for a designated length of time, i.e., six months with a one-time extension.

See the individual courses for access time and syllabus information.

What is the difference between the American Genealogical Studies and Continuing Genealogical Studies courses?

American Genealogical Studies is a multicomponent series that progressively builds your skills with each succeeding course. The courses cover many different types of genealogical topics and research skills. The Basics and Guide to Documentation and Source Citation have chapters providing instruction, examples, web links, self-correcting quizzes, bibliographies, glossaries, and written assignments that are self-graded. Beyond the Basics and Branching Out have the same chapter formats, however their assignments are professionally graded. A letter of completion is issued when each course is finished. Upon the successful completion of all four components, students receive a certificate in NGS American Genealogical Studies. See the American Genealogical Studies for further information.

Continuing Genealogical Studies courses focus on specific subject areas—i.e., genetic genealogy, military research, or property records—to help you further your research. Within each self-graded course are chapters providing instruction, examples, web links, assignments, self-correcting quizzes, bibliographies, and glossaries. Students do not receive letters of completion or a certificate for courses in this series. See the Continuing Genealogical Studies for further information.

When can I start the course?

Please allow three business days to receive an email from NGS confirming registration. You will then receive an email from Canvas by Instructure providing you with login instructions, good for the duration of the course.

What hardware do I need on my computer for the online NGS courses?

We recommend the following:

  • Operating System
    • Windows 7 (or higher)
    • Mac OSX 10.6 and newer
    • Linux – Chrome OS
  • Mobile Operating System Native App Support
    • iOS 7 and newer
    • Android 4.2 and newer
  • Your internet connection must be fast enough to stream video such as
    • Broadband
    • DSL
    • Wireless high-speed connection

What software do I need on my computer for a Canvas course?

We recommend the following: (For browsers, see the question below.)

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Anti-virus software (periodically updated definitions with regular scans)
  • Spyware removal software (periodically updated)
  • JavaScript must be enabled to run Canvas.

Which browsers work for a Canvas course?

Canvas runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or any other device with a modern web browser, including the current version of many popular browsers such as:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari

Some internet providers (AOL, for example) do not work well with Canvas. If this is the case, you need to minimize the program and use an alternative browser to access the course.

Can I do my coursework on my computer or on my iOS or Android mobile devices?

Yes. You will need to download the appropriate Canvas app. Please note: Canvas was designed for desktop display. Its mobile apps are not yet fully responsive.

Can I do my coursework without being connected to the internet?

You need an internet connection to do your coursework. However, you can download various PDF readings to your computer or mobile devises.

How do I log in to Canvas?

Upon registering for the course, you receive instructions for logging in to Canvas for the first time. Please keep track of your password. If you misplace the web page for the login, you can find it on our website under the Genealogy Courses page on either the American Genealogical Studies or Continuing Genealogical Studies landing pages.

Why am I asked to “Log off” after each session?

NGS has a certain number of licenses to use the Canvas system. By logging off, you allow us to maximize the number of students using these courses. This in turn keeps course costs reasonable.

Do I need a subscription to a commercial genealogical website?

While not required, some students find it more convenient to do some of their research online from home rather than going to the library.

Do I need anything further to take a course?

Please check individual course pages for any specific requirements.

How can I extend my course time?

If you need extra time to complete a course prior to your course expiration date, please contact the course administrator at courses@ngsgenealogy.org.

When do I get my letter of completion or my certificate?

NGS mails out letters of completion for American Genealogical Studies once a month. If you complete the course by the 20th of the month, we mail your letter out at the end of that month. We use the same schedule for your final certificate in American Genealogical Studies. The month you complete all four courses by the 20th, a certificate is issued, otherwise it will be issued the following month.

NGS does not offer a certificate for its Continuing Genealogical Studies courses.

What is the refund policy for courses?

All course purchases are final. No refunds are issued.

What kind of tech help is available for Canvas?

Please note that Instructure provides NGS with the Canvas software. If you have questions about using the system, please send an email to Susan Yockey, course administrator, at courses@ngsgenealogy.org. We try to answer questions promptly during office hours, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday.

If you have questions regarding course content, please send an email to the administrative course manager or to the education director.

After taking one of the Continuing Genealogical Studies courses, am I a certified genealogist?

Although the National Genealogical Society has a variety of courses available to help you learn about the methods, skills, and standards for certification, NGS is not a licensing body. Therefore, no formal genealogical credential or accreditation is implied. Please refer to the websites of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® (BCG) or the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) for their policies or standards for certification or accreditation.