We have been running this programme for just over a year now and it has been a learning experience for both the Library Team and participants.
So what is the 23 Things @ UL programme? It’s a 12 week online interactive self directed learning programme about Web 2.0 technology. Originally developed by Helene Blowers of the staff training unit within the Public Libraries of Charlotte & Mecklenburg in North Carolina as a means to keep staff informed about web 2.0 technology in a structured format. It uses the principle of Creative Commons so is very flexible and constantly evolving. This means you can use the foundations of the programme to build your own content, once you acknowledge the source. The whole ethos behind this programme is to foster a culture of life long learning among participants.
It’s a proven successful programme which has been adopted and modified by Libraries and organisations around the world for staff training purposes.
The University of Limerick is the first university in Ireland to deliver the programme
So how does it work? Participants register their interest in the programme by email They then set up a blog which they email to be listed on the 23 Things @ UL blog. They are then emailed a weekly task and use the blog to record their thoughts and experiences on undertaking each weekly task.
The Key to running a successful programme is planning. The only real cost is staff time since all the Web 2.0 tools are freely available Originally one staff member worked full time to develop the programme. Once the programme was developed we established a three person library team to manage its delivery We held weekly meetings to discuss the design and content of the blog.
In developing our programme we researched other 23 Things blogs.
Last March we ran the 23 Things as an in house training programme for library Staff. We originally intended launching it as a pilot for the Kemmy Business School in July but timing was bad since people were focused on their research and going on holidays after a hectic academic year. However timing was perfect for staff in both the Careers & Cooperative Education and IT division and they thoroughly enjoyed it. We reviewed and modified the content structure based on feedback from participants of the pilot programme We rolled it out again to the whole of UL Staff in November and this 12 week session has just concluded.
So you can imagine running the 23 Things @ UL programme has not always been a bed of roses
We have encountered many challenges along the way and I will elaborate on some of these in the proceeding slides. We had to avoid participants feeling isolated since the programme was delivered online. How do you keep them motivated for the 12 week duration? There was also the Production Technology challenges we encountered in making pod casts and videos. Throughout this journey of discovery there were many IT issues which had be resolved. How do you ensure the right message is being communicated, so that participants follow the structure of the programme.
These are just some of the motivation techniques we used. People will complete the programme by the deadline if there is an incentive such as a prize or certificate. Create the sense of a group learning experience and thus eliminate individual isolation. Praise people for completing each weekly task. Don’t allow people feel overwhelmed by the content and workload by building in breaks.
These were the main technical issues that participants encountered and they expected the Library Team to have all the answers. We had to be resourceful to resolve these problems In one case several blogs were disabled for 30 days due to a technical glitch in Blogger’s software which misinterpreted them as spam. We linked to another blog which explained step by step how to download a You Tube video to a blog. We are exploring the option of incorporating Google Wave into the programme.
Since the programme was delivered online and weekly tasks were emailed to participants, some message were misinterpreted. On the day we launched the programme I received several emails from individuals explaining they would be unable to attend the class, even though it was delivered virtually. If participants encountered a problem they tended to post it on their own blog and were reluctant to post a comment on the official 23 Things @ UL blog. Although it was a self directed programme of discovery, some people still wanted to be spoon fed.
One way to make people feel part of a common learning experience was to host a series of lunchtime talks. This provided a forum where peoples could physically meet and share advice or problems they encountered. The Idea of the talks was to have UL staff demonstrate or discuss their experience of using the technology in their work. It also served as a promotional opportunity for the Library.
As you can imagine participant’s blogs were as different as chalk and cheese. We encouraged people to adopt pseudonyms which resulted in them really embracing the spirit of blogging and having fun. One person a Basque Nationalist had a political blog which was quite anarchic and included videos of ETA nationalist being arrested by Spanish police. They later informed me they had to destroy it, since were returning home to Madrid and feared for the safety of their family if the Authorities read it. They replaced this blog with one about living with cats.
These are just some of the comments from participants who completed the programme and still blogging.
There are many benefits for Libraries running this programme. Its an ideal marketing opportunity for the Library. The library is identified as a centre for technological innovation It can develop cross sectoral collaboration on future projects. We have recently been approached by the Graduate School to adapt the programme for Researchers.
23 things @ ul a web2.0 learning experience for all
23 Things @ UL A Web 2.0 learning experience for all Peter Reilly Librarian, Kemmy Business School
Participants A Learning Experience Library Team
UL first university in Ireland to deliver the programme
Planning <ul><li>Costs </li></ul><ul><li>Blog design </li></ul><ul><li>Launch date </li></ul><ul><li>23 Things @ UL team </li></ul>
Challenges Participants Communication Motivation Production Technical
Motivation Create a Community Incentives Praise Achievements Catch up Weeks
Technical Issues <ul><li>Blogs being disabled </li></ul><ul><li>RSS Feeds </li></ul><ul><li>Downloading You Tube Videos </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporating Google Wave </li></ul>
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gibbons/2493945618/ Communication Misinterpreting Messages Reluctance to Post Comments on Blog
Lunchtime Talks Created sense of community Practical application of tools Promoting Programme
Participants Blogs Pseudonyms Basque Nationalists to pussy cats
“ It was very worthwhile and I learned a lot from it.” “ Even when things went wrong, I searched online for help and was always able to figure it out” “ It got me blogging, it opened my eyes to potential uses of Web 2.0 Technology” “ Overall the whole experience was informative, enjoyable and at times challenging” Gaelic Skier Seascapes She 2.0 Talktime
Contact Details Peter Reilly Librarian Kemmy Business School GL0-032 Glucksman Library University of Limerick Ph: 061 23 4380 Email: peter.reilly @ul.ie