Friday, March 15, 2013

So many sessions, so little time.

At RootsTech 2012 the buzz was all “we need more classes!”  Apparently the good folks at FamilySearch heard the grumbling because they have added a boatload of new sessions to the schedule for 2013. So much so that one really needs to plan ahead of time which sessions to make a priority.  And don’t try to do that after you’re on the ground in Salt Lake City. As I found out last year, once the conference starts it’s a whirlwind with precious little time for looking at class syllabuses.  So this year I’m going in with a plan of attack.

·      Check out the schedule on the RootsTech web site.  All of the classes are listed there.  Click on "Schedule" on the left side of the home screen, then on "Main Schedule".  The individual sessions are all there arranged by day and with links to a detailed description and a syllabus.
·         Formulate a plan.  I went old school and printed out the schedule for each day.  Then with a highlighter in hand, I reviewed it, marking the sessions that sparked my interest. I’m not making any decisions at this point, just narrowing down my choices a little.  I also note if a session will be streamed. Those sessions will be available for viewing after the conference is over.  The streaming schedule is currently at the bottom of the website home page.  As good as the offerings are there are a couple of blocks of time that don’t have anything that particularly strikes my fancy. Since one of my goals this year is to allow more time for the expo hall and chatting with people, I also noted the blocks of time that might work for that.
·         Read the syllabuses.  Almost every class description has an attached syllabus in both MS Word and PDF formats.  These are hidden gems! When faced with hard choices, looking at the syllabus for the class can really help the decision making process.  And for the session you can’t attend they are an excellent resource for research when you get home.  I’ve already downloaded many of them and saved them to my Dropbox account.
·         Make the hard choices. Last year there was a class or two that I missed because I thought they were at another time.  Arrgghh.  Once I’ve narrowed down my choices, since I can’t be in two places at once, I have to make a decision. I hate this part.  I’m a greedy genealogist who wants to go to all of them! But decisions must be made and I starred those classes on my paper schedule.  When I get to the conference one of the first things I will do is transfer my choices to the “official” paper schedule I get at registration and will carry around with me.  Occasionally, a class will be full and another choice must be made on the fly.  Having a paper copy already highlighted with my second and third choices is a great back up.
·         Use the app.  There is a nice app available for the conference. I downloaded it to both my iPad and my phone.  Then I can go into the app, record my class choices and voila, it creates a schedule just for me.  However the app allows only one class choice per time slot, hence the aforementioned back-up copy with my second/third/fourth choices.
·         Be Flexible.  Remember that the schedule I just created was not handed down from on high written on stone tablets. I might get a suggestion for a class I hadn’t thought of or decide to hang out with a friend. It’s all good.  It’s RootsTech!

Disclosure:  I am an official blogger for RootsTech 2013 and received a complimentary registration for that. The enthusiasm is all my own.


  1. Oh, Nancy. We'll be run off our feet again but what fun we'll have.

  2. Thanks for the info, Nancy! Good to know that the live streamed sessions will be available later. I won't be able to attend one of the classes I really wanted to go or even watch it from home (I'll be just coming into town at that time) so I'm so glad I get to catch it later!

    Most of the time I will be in the BillionGraves booth, but I am free to roam around too. Where will you be at RootsTech? I would love to meet you!

    1. Hi Lisa! When I'm not in class I will be in the media hub or wandering the expo hall. Love to meet you too.

    2. Awesome! Well either I will wander over to the media hub, or when you're wandering the expo hall, stop by at the BillionGraves booth. That's where I'll be a lot of the time (when I'm not in class as well). Can't wait!


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