Guest post by Saoirse Reynolds, Library Assistant, Maynooth University Library
The Rudaí 23 course started on the 7th of July 2015 and ran until Monday 12th October 2015 when the last Thing came out. The course was run by the Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland (WRSLAI). It was open to anyone studying or working in the information profession and we were encouraged by the promise of a LAI CPD certificate on completion. It was a great opportunity to learn about using social media and web based tools and to enhance my continuing professional development. We were eased into the course with Thing 1: Blogging. It showed how to set up your account on Blogger, Wordpress and Tumblr and promised that the next Thing would involve writing. Luckily the topic for Thing 2 was easy as you were asked to write about why you became a librarian. I thought it was a great topic as it was reflective and it was interesting to read other peoples experiences. One of the best pieces of advice within this blog post was to write for fifteen minutes and after that time if you wanted to keep writing you could or else you could leave it for another day. It made it a lot less daunting.
The facilitators from the WRSLAI were great, they helped turn us into a little online community all working together. Everyone was assigned a mentor who kept track of what the mentee was writing and commented occasionally. This helped motivate me as I knew at least one person was reading my posts. It turned out that more than just the mentor read them though which was great, and I enjoyed reading others posts to get their perspective on the different Things.
I thought the more practical Things were very good. This included trying out a new web based tool and demonstrating how to use it. For example in Thing 9: Video, we got to use Screencast ‘o’ Matic. It was great to have practice with this and other tools and I’m likely to use them in the future. We each had to write a blog post about using the new tool and this reinforced learning. For each of the 23 Things we wrote a blog post. Sometimes this was a little arduous: one or two new Things came out every week and if you missed a week you they could pile up pretty quickly. There were 23 Things in all but four of the Things that I found particularly useful were Thing 3, Thing 4, Thing 12 and Thing 19.
Thing 3: Your Professional Brand, covered LinkedIn, something that takes a lot of work and time and it gave great guidelines in how to use it effectively. It is very important to be aware of your professional brand online and this really gets the message across.
Thing 4: looked at the features of Google. Although I have used Google and Gmail for a long time and was aware of some of the features like Google Docs and Drive, this Thing highlighted a few more features of it for me and made me aware of how it could be used in a work context such as using use Hangouts On Air which allows you to give online training and record it.
Thing 12: Attending Conferences was also a very useful one especially for those starting out in the library profession and nervous about attending conferences. It gave an overview of what happens at conferences and why they are good to attend.
Thing 19: The Legal Side of Things was interesting as it gave a bit more detail I found this Thing particularly useful as I was not overly confident about copyright and the legal side of things. I thought that this Thing gave me more insight into what exactly intellectual property is and where it comes from.
The Course ran for fifteen weeks. Some weeks we had two Things a week and other weeks we only had one Thing. This may have been because some of them were more time consuming than others. I found that I actually got through them quicker when we had two Things as I work better under pressure. However, that is just me; others on the course may have felt it was too much to do and may have fallen behind. Luckily you can apply for an extension and we got a few catch up weeks as well. There was a Twitter chat and hangouts chat that I missed as they were held on a Sunday, and I didn’t have access to the internet that day. Although they gave lots of alternatives to different apps some people who don’t have compatible smartphones or iPhones may have found it difficult to use the apps and therefore get the full benefit.
All in all I think it was a very worthwhile course and I feel I have learned a lot and got a lot out of it. I would recommend those starting out in the profession to consider doing it if it is run again.
Find out more about the course at http://rudai23.blogspot.ie/ and my Rudaí 23 blog