Last week the CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) staff development group organised a meet up for library staff in Cardiff who were thinking about doing, or had started, CPD23. I'd done the course last year, and one of the best things I got out of it was meeting other participants in my area, first through Twitter, and then at the face-to-face meet ups for Thing 7. Meeting up can really help if you find yourself struggling with any aspects of the course, and you'd be surprised how often other people tend to have exactly the same concerns as you.
Karen talks a little on her blog (dark-side-of-the-catalogue) about the time management concerns that a lot of people had. I really liked the suggestion of banding together with colleagues, maybe for an hour after work each week, to work through the 'things' and spur each other on!
We had a lot of people attending who had started the course last year, but not come to the end yet. Some of them were feeling a bit guilty that they hadn't finished, but I think as more people admitted that they hadn't finished either it was quite reassuring. The best thing about online courses is that you can work at your own pace, but if you don't know many other people taking part you can end up with the misconception that everyone else is way ahead of you. Meet ups can be very helpful to show that often the other participants are actually in the same position as you.
A few people expressed their nervousness at blogging, and the feeling that they never know what to say. I could definitely sympathise with that, I had never blogged before taking part last year, and I'm not much of a writer, I think my early posts reflected that. The best advice I could think of for overcoming that issue is to take a look at what other people are writing, they're often not blogging all that much either. I think once you make a start and get over that mental hurdle of 'what to write' it does become easier. Like anything, the more you practice the more comfortable you will feel about it.
Another concern that was raised focused on Twitter, and as we look at Twitter for Thing 4 I thought I might talk about it in a little more depth then.
It was a great night, the 2-4-1 cocktails were an unexpected bonus (I hadn't known about them when I booked it!) and I'm hopefully it will be the first of many such events.