In case you hadn’t noticed CPD23, the online professional development course for library and information professionals started running again a couple of weeks ago. Although I completed the course last year, and got my certificate (hurrah!), last week I found myself revisiting the course in spirit, if not quite in practice. The Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) staff development group that I am involved with has decided that we would like to try and support staff in our local area who are working through cpd23. To do this we are aiming to run a number of sessions ranging from simple meet-ups to perhaps some practical events where participants can get some help on areas they are struggling with. Our first meet-up took place last Wednedsay evening in a bar in Cardiff (no, not a yurt this time) and was organised by @KrisWJ with details placed on her blog Taking for Binding .
We had a range of people turning up – some had completed the course last year, some had started last year but got stuck, some were thinking about starting the course this year, and some just came to meet up and have a drink with other information professionals. The bar had 2 for 1 cocktails on offer, and pretty soon most of us were indulging!
Lack of time seems to be the biggest hurdle for most people, both in terms of preventing them from starting, and also for holding them up, and preventing them from finishing. I talked to the few people who had finished the course last year to see how they had managed, and this is what I found.
- One person did most of the course at home.
- One person did most of the course at work – due to their institution having a generous staff development policy which gave them study time they could use.
- One person did most of the course at work – but in the lunch hour.
If you are lucky enough to have an institution that will support your professional development by allowing study time, then go for it! I think most of us, however, will not have that kind of generosity shown to us. At our meet up there was a group of people from one library who had started last year, and they initially all stayed behind after work one day a week to work on the course. Giving themselves time to do it, but also being able to support one another, which can be really beneficial. I think the answer to the time question is, if you really want to do the course you will find time – whether this means staying behind at work at the end of the day (or coming in early), doing it in your lunch hour, or doing it at home. Not everyone’s situation will allow for this, I realise, but you might be able to flexible elsewhere. One of the main driving forces, especially towards the end of the course, was the thought of getting a certificate!
To be completely honest, with cocktails in hand, we probably didn’t talk about CPD23 all that much! Not as a big group anyway, apart from establishing who we were, and where we were up to; but there were lots of other, smaller, conversations going on that night, and I think everyone enjoyed the chance to get together, and will look forward to the next time.
Strangely enough, the very next day I spoke at the CILIP Cymru conference about CPD23 and my experience. It is probably the first conference where I have actually been invited to speak, so I was very excited (nervous); even though it was essentially a re-run of the presentation I gave at the CLIC Social Media event last November. It seemed to go well (I was in the same session as Jo Alcock, who was fantastic), and I’ve heard comments that there were people in the audience who hadn’t heard about CPD23 until my talk, and were going to go and check it out afterwards (so hopefully I helped ‘convert’ a few new recruits).
I will probably keep an eye on the CPD23 blog to see how things are going, and it might encourage me to revisit a few areas where I had problems last year. I know one person who, even though they completed the course last year, is going to do it all again this year as she felt there were some areas that she didn’t focus on properly. Now that is dedication!