I’ve just finished a great course ran by the members of the Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland, I’d recommend anyone to do it...
I must say, I really enjoyed doing this course. There was a nice balance of revisiting old skills and knowledge with new material. It was a great opportunity to marry some 25 years worth of experience with exploring new applications and programs. The whole area of developing your online presence and corporate identity was fascinating and could be a separate course all on its own. Huge thanks to the whole team and all the people who wrote the different exercises. Special thanks to Michelle Breen, my course supporter who put up with me pestering her all the time.
For those just starting out, there were 22 different exercises to cover, after each one you wrote a blog post detailing your experience. For most people they have to set up a new blog for the very first time. To some, this can seem a daunting task but the advice I would give is just go for it, don’t worry too much about the content and appearance of your blog, these are all things you will work on during the course and tweak until you get to your liking. The most important thing is to just get going. If you are just starting the course, I hope this blog will give you an idea of what you are getting yourself into. Sometimes, if I was stuck, I would look to see how others approached the exercise so maybe this might help you in this way also. For me, this blog will act as a reminder of everything covered and allow me to reflect on the whole experience.
At intervals you do a reflective exercise on the section just complete and blog about that also. When you’ve completed these reflective blogs you are awarded badges which detail what you have covered.
So, here’s how it all went down. (If you want to just browse my blog, the best way to find the Rudai23 posts is to scroll down on the left until you come to labels. Then click on Rudai23 and you will find all the posts about the course)
Thing 1 – Setting up a blog.
The first exercise was to look at the different programs one can use to blog with. I chose Blogger which is owned by Google purely because I already had a Gmail account so it’s easier to cross-share your content. Set-up during the first week of September 2017, I already had an idea of what I wanted to do and the appearance of my page. I played around with the templates and settings and went with the name of John The Captain Ryan. My Blog website is https://johnthecaptainryan.blogspot.ie but .COM also works.
Thing 2 - Write Your First Blog Post
Posted on 12th September with a title of: The Girl with all the gifts, the link is HERE. Apart from doing the course, I also wanted to blog about the things I love so I planned on doing book, movie and TV series reviews and Scrabble. I went with a movie review for my first blog.
Thing 3 – Image Banks
Posted on 21st September with a title of: Copy Right or Wrong, the link is HERE. This was an interesting exercise exploring the use of images and understanding the use and sharing of images. A lot of the time now, I try to do my own artwork.
Thing 4 - Communicating Visually
Posted on 2nd October with a title of: Communication Visually, the link is HERE. This was great fun and something I will use again.
Thing 5 - Video Presentations
Posted on 5th October with a title of: Video Presentation, the link is HERE. I did my first ever screen capture video and learnt loads. Be well prepared before you start!
Thing 6 - Reflective Practice
Posted on 10th October with a title of: My Journey So Far Doing the Rudai 23 Course, the link is HERE.
At the same time you learn how to create an account with Open Badge Passport, how to use the application and get this sample badge:
Thing 7.1 - Online Exhibitions
Posted on 11th October with a title of: Online Exhibition (part 1), the link is HERE. This was also interesting, with lots of options to examine.
Thing 7.2 - Online Exhibitions
Posted on 16th October with a title of: Tintern Abbey Exhibition (part 2), the link is HERE.
During blogging over the previous few months I had noticed that sometimes images were disappearing from my blog. This was not ideal when an exhibition blog was all about images. After asking my course tutor for advice and searching the internet for solutions, I eventually found one so blogged about it, titled Fixing Broken Images in Blogger - HERE
Thing 8.1 - Infographics
Posted on 23rd October with a title of: Be Aware LGBT, the link is HERE
Thing 8.2 - Infographics
Posted on 31st October with a title of: King is King, I redid Thing 8 and the link is HERE. My first attempt was dreadful because I hadn’t prepared my information and honed my message well enough. This is the reason I redid this exercise.
Thing 9 - Reflective Practice
Posted on 31st October with a title of: Reflective Post, the link is HERE
After a couple of days, if successful you will get your first badge titled “Visual Communicator” (based on your Thing 9 reflective post) which looks like this:
During the course, I found the reflective practices difficult but they were interesting.
Thing 10 - Networking Tools
Posted on 16th November with a title of: Networking Tools, the link is HERE. This was the first exercise where we were setting-up social media accounts (if you didn’t already have some).
Thing 11 - Your Professional Brand
Posted on 4th December with a title of: From Aardvarks to Anoraks..., the link is HERE. This is a fascinating exercise which gets you to examine your online presence and create a cohesive online profile for yourself.
Thing 12 - Collaborative Tools
Posted on 8th December with a title of: Collaborating, the link is HERE. We looked at different ways of collaborating with colleagues but for me face-to-face is still the best way to work as long as everyone is well prepared beforehand.
Thing 13 - Reflective Practice
Posted on 8th December with a title of: Reflective Blog, the link is HERE. This exercise is based the experience of Things 10, 11 & 12. I also did an overview of my blogging experience to date.
I concluded with the following: “I’m really happy with where by blogging is going and my ever developing online presence. My blog has now over 3350 views with a massive amount of that traffic coming from Facebook. I will need to use Twitter and Instagram a little more in the future so all my eggs are not in the one basket and hope to help others shares their blogs too. A great way to get a blog noticed is cross promotion between other bloggers so I will be looking for a few other bloggers to do this with.”
This is the next badge you get after completing Thing 13 titled Online Networker.
We took a much needed break after this and restarted in the New Year. I was really enjoying blogging and couldn’t wait to get going again. Over the next couple of weeks I had a good look at my blog, wrote a couple of summary blogs, tweaked the appearance and installed a couple of new gadgets.
Thing 14 – Personal Information Management
Posted on 16th January with a title of: Personal Information Management, the link is HERE, this is massive and after the Cambridge Analytic & Facebook mess even more important.
Thing 15 – Evaluation information.
Posted on 25th January with a title of: Wikipedia - What is it all about, the link is HERE. You explore and are given the opportunity to evaluate and correct information in Wikipedia. Wikipedia want groups of volunteers to update and create new content for their website. I think Wikipedia should instead pay Library Professionals to do the job. This is the best way for Wikipedia to become a resource of repute.
Thing 16 – Your Digital Footprint
Posted on 31st January with a title of: Your Digital Footprint, the link is HERE, this exercise gets you to evaluate your online presence and think about your online security.
Thing 17 – Sharing Your Work
Posted on 13th February with a title of: Reflective Blog, the link is HERE . I had no previous presentation to share so had to create one.
Thing 18 – Reflective Practice
Posted on 19th February with a title of: Reflective Blog, the link is HERE. This exercise is a reflection based on Things 14, 15, 16 & 17. Following completion you get this badge for Critical Thinker:
Thing 19 - Podcasts
Posted on 22nd February with a title of: Podcasting, the link is HERE. This was awesome and I will be doing more podcasts.
Thing 20 – Advocacy and Engagement
Posted on 27th February with a title of: Advocacy in the Library, the link is HERE. This was interesting and something I have never done for the library, but I have extensive experience advocating for the LGBT community.
Thing 21 – Professional Groups
Posted on 27th February with a title of: Library Professional Groups, the link is HERE. This is all about connecting with Library professional groups around the World.
Thing 22 – Reflective Practice
Posted on 6th March with a title of: Reflective Practice, the link is HERE. This brings together your experience of Things 19, 20 & 21.
You get the 5th badge following completion of Thing 22 titled Engaged Professional.
I thought it would have been interesting to do a reflective post of the whole experience so that’s mine. As I move forward with blogging, I have to look into backing-up my blog and perhaps hosting my page as I don’t want to leave everything in the hands of Google. I’ve read some nightmare stories of, when a blog is reported for breach of conditions Google just closes down the page and people lose everything. Saying that, I don’t intend breaching any conditions, but, if someone reported my page because they don’t like the content, (e.g. an extreme right wing keyboard warrior complaining about my LGBT content) I’d hate to lose it all.
Picking up from my mid-course conclusion, I’m still enjoying blogging and since the 8th December when I had 3350 page views it’s now jumped to 16,390 page views so something is working.
Huge thanks to the Rudai23 team who started me on my blogging experience.
Blog On Peeps.
John the Captain Ryan