Sunday, August 07, 2005

Maneuvering through websites and the BYU online lessons

The link to the BYU online course on family history has been provided at

Some common difficulties of less experienced users of the computer and the internet is the challenge to maneuver or move around the massive chunks of words, pictures and webpages that are provided. Often times in the internet, clicking one link or one menu item leads to the opening of another webpage either in the same window of the previous page or in a new window that is created. All this causes a user to feel overwhelmed because of a feeling of lack of control on what's happening or a feeling of being lost from where you started or knowing how to finish.

So the exercise I want you to do in this post is merely to learn how to move around the BYU online lessons. I like everyone to just explore the BYU website by clicking items on the blue 'navigation bar' on the left. Try to understand the logic of how all the different pages are connected to each other. You do this by clicking an item which will lead you to another page. You will find that for the 'PAF' lesson, it will even lead you to another set of lessons in the FamilySearch website outside the BYU website. (See if you understand this when you try it by clicking the links found by the red 'STOP' sign) Find out how to get back to the previous page where you started. It involves either clicking the 'back' icon found in your browser or clicking an item in the blue 'navigation bar' on the left such as the 'main menu'. Getting back could also mean jumping from one window to another by clicking 'X' in the top right of your current window to close it so that you can view the other. Alternative is not to close any window at all but click at the bottom tab of your computer screen that allows you to switch from one opened window to another.

Begin to do this exercise by clicking the BYU online course link above, after you finish reading this post. Put your comments here only when you have gone through the menus and links of the online lessons enough that you feel you know how to move around the various sets of lessons with CONFIDENCE. Note that you are not required to follow line by line or read every line in each lesson but just to get in and out and go anywhere you like in the online course without getting lost and having the confidence to know how to return to the very beginning of the course. The idea is to get a birds eye view of the entire course and get familiar with going into and out of each webpage just like getting familiar with a reference book where you like to know where things can be found or how to find them.

Of course you can leave a comment here for help if you find yourself facing some difficulties and you will need to learn how to describe your problem so that I can attempt to guide you here. I will follow a discipline whereby I will not give you ready help on the phone too quickly unless you have attempted to communicate in writing your difficulties here online so that you can develop the important dialogue skills here. When you qualify for help on the phone, you need to have your computer ready infront of you when we talk so that you can follow me on your computer as I guide you. That will be almost as good as being there with you.

Practice always makes perfect just like anything else in life. For learning how to use the computer, it is even more crucial so don't let the natural fear that we all experience to hold you back. Just dialogue and dialogue here until you find its easier than you think it is!

Learn from the kids, they 'Play' with the computer! So relax and have fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Welcome to our Family History Center

You have to walk all the way up to the 4th Floor at No. 2 Jalan 52/4, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, West Malaysia, Malaysia (Phone: 60-3-7954 4261)

Come On Right In!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Religion 261 - Introduction to Family History

We will now begin the Religion 261 online course provided by BYU. You will do this by clicking the link found at the bottom of this post. Before you do so, I like you to take note of the following :

Once you click into the online course, you will basically get into the website designed by BYU which will have its own menu of lessons and instructions to follow. From the BYU online website, you will find that it will sometimes use another website by FamilySearch organization who have their own lessons and instructions. (eg. when focused on the PAF) The reason is that the BYU lessons do not cover everything and therefore you are expected to use BOTH the FamilySearch Internet lessons and the BYU lessons.

Overall the online lessons provided is very informative and useful for those who are experienced in using the computer, the internet and PC softwares. But for the novice user, you may be easily lost either in terminology or just the movement from one webpage to another. It is for this reason that this coaching website was designed. It has a logical step by step approach of teaching Family History Work as well as the computer technology that is being used. It also has a live coach to answer your questions left in the comments of each post and who monitors each participant as to their level of progress from the feedback given in their comments.

You may find yourself ahead of others in following the BYU lessons combined with the FamilySearch lessons or you may be behind. Either one is fine as long as you progressively post your feedback through the comments of each post when you can complete the assignment contained in it.

For this post, enter your comments to give feedback when you have accomplished the 3 exercises below or part of it: (Family consultants who have a fast broadband internet connection are requested to do both 2 and 3 as an exercise to gain experience so that you can show others how to do it when the time comes.)

1. Downloaded and installed Adobe Acrobat Reader to your computer
2. Downloaded and installed the PAF software from the internet and installed it to your computer (Recommended only if you are on a fast broadband connection. Those with dial up internet connection should not waste time and use option 3 below.)
3. Installed the PAF software from the CD to your computer.

The first part of the online lessons will be guiding you to achieve the above.

If you are truly seeking to be coached in this website, please don't tell me when you see me that you've read each post and understood everything or done everything but just didn't bother to enter your comment! Remember we need the interaction, the more lively the better especially when we are now getting to the more technical part of the coaching track.

Ok to start, you can click the link

Friday, July 15, 2005

Family History, the number one hobby in the United States

I was in the US recently and was informed that family history has become the number one Hobby in the United States. After pornography, I'm also told that family history sites receive the highest number of hits on the internet. How interesting!

Why the growing interest?

Besides spiritual reasons and the interest in family values, I think the internet has provided the information exchange that makes family history more interesting and accessible.

We will begin the BYU Online Lesson 1 next week and you will need to download a program called 'Adobe Acrobat Reader' to your computer to get ready. Check if you have one by clicking the 'Start' icon(button) in Windows to see if the name 'Acrobat Reader' is in the list of programs. You don't need to download it if you already have one but there is no harm downloading again if you are not sure. Hopefully the speed of your internet connection is fast enough to make downloading a much quicker process. The price of broadband service ( RM60 to RM88 per month in Malaysia) is definitely worth it when you are using the internet often and you should get it even if it's just for the convenience of access.

Let's do an exercise to download a free program through the internet and install it on your computer. You can begin the process to download Acrobat Reader by clicking here It will open the Adobe Reader screen and you are to click the 'download' icon(button) which will open a smaller window where you have to click 'ok' to save the file to disk. Another small window opens where you have to decide and remember which folder you like to save the file to your computer. (This is tricky for inexperienced users who click save and don't know where the file was saved to nor what the name of the saved file is so call me at this point to tell you what to do. Otherwise ask someone who is experienced and is close by for help. Downloading and installing programs in Windows is actually quite easy but like everything else, it just takes a little practice.)

If you can remember where the file was saved, you are now to find that file as it will be the setup file for Acrobat reader in which you have to click it to activate the installation process which may require you to click a few more times before the program can be fully installed. Again this requires some experience or familiarity to read step by step instructions to click where required till the process is finished.

I will now stop here and wait for everyone to confirm, through the usual comment method, if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your computer. This may probably be the most technical part of using the computer that you need to get past as there are many steps involved and after that, it will be more smooth going. Perhaps now you understand why I had all of you practice and practice to use the internet and follow instructions step by step. Some were lost in just following a few words of instructions that were not technical or didn't fully read the obvious on the computer screen. It gets tougher when you have to follow a set of technical computer instructions if you don't have some basic experience. It's just getting used to it and that is why you are encouraged to increase your dialogues here. You need to learn how to describe the problem you are encountering and receive written solutions for it. It is like learning a language. The more you use it, the better you become naturally.

I have successfully coached many middle aged users in the corporate world and if you can be patient with me and most important with yourself, you can surely do it too!

It may be timely to have a practical session on Sat or Sunday(July 23 or 24) at our Family History Center in PJ for those who need some hands on help. Do let me know who would like to make it for that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Keeping trying and repeat the routine until you become totally familiar

If you notice the date of this post compared to the one at the bottom which is at April 16, it is more than a month since we first started this medium of communication. So how have we been doing in this exercise? What are the difficulties you have encountered in using the internet and computer technology? Do you think the internet and computer technology can save time for busy people who want to learn something new and interact with others too?

Let's use this post to share our comments. As usual just go to(means move the mouse pointer to) the COMMENTS link at the bottom of this post, click it and type your feedback. Remember to choose the 'Other' option as your identity by clicking the middle radio button(means move the mouse pointer to the middle circle and left click your mouse) so that the dot is now in that circle. (known as radio button). By doing this the 'Name' field will appear where you type your name and you can ignore the 'Your web page' field as most of you don't have one for the moment. Finally you can just click the 'Publish Your Comment' bar at the bottom to send off your comments or preview it first before publishing it.

Repetition is the Mother of Learning! I will give you more feedback in the comments link of this post and I hope to see more comments from everyone of you! Keep trying until it works for you, do anything to reach your goal but don't be silent! It will not be golden if you really want me to help you become more computer literate and learn how to use the latest technology available in Family History work.

Remember, the computer and internet was designed for busy people to get things done in less time. I have faith that you can do it too!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Let's stretch our imagination and share our Vision

So you have been called as the Branch Family Consultant and like all faithful members, you accepted it as a manifestation of your willingness to serve. Very soon you find that this calling is unlike others you have been called before. There has not been a precedent to this type of calling before in our District and for the few of us who have been called for some time, we may be running into a wall as to how we can effectively serve. The additional factor that may discourage some from becoming effective in this call is the increasing usage of computers in family history work.

The purpose of this 'blog' is therefore a vehicle to get us going and be able to make a difference in the family history work of our District. I will be your official personal coach to guide you to success and it starts from your participation in this 'blog' or special website which facilitates communication with all family consultants. You will also receive communication from me via SMS and the phone from time to time to give you the additional attention that you may need but if you are able to visit this 'blog' regularly, other forms of communication may not be necessary except for an actual meeting of the group for hands on experience and discussion at the Family History Centre.

So lets warm up with some dialogues going and use your imagination for a few minutes to share your thoughts in the comments for this posting. Share with us what is your Vision as to what you can learn and do from this blog and how you can make a difference to others in doing their family history work?

For a start click here to watch a general presentation that makes us ponder about the past and the future. After viewing, please share your Vision or feelings after watching the presentation. (You can close the presentation window after viewing it by clicking on the X at the top right of the screen to return to this window and click the 'comments' link to share your thoughts after reading the other comments.) You can proceed to left click at the link above that says 'click here' to view the presentation.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Let's make a difference in doing our Family History Work


This blog is created so that anyone interested in Family History work can access it to gain tips, understanding, motivation, computer skills and shared knowledge about the subject.

It is proposed that family history consultants be the first ones to use this blog for their learning and sharing after which anyone interested to learn about Family History Work can access this blog for their guide and continued support.

Contributors will be added to this blog, who will most likely be the experienced family consultants, so that more useful postings can be added to this blog for others to benefit from. Anyone else can use the comments link to write their questions or thoughts which will be responded to.

Family Consultants have been requested to visit and participate in this blog often and in the recent leadership meeting, they are requested to sign in to say a few words by clicking the comments link found below.