16 Feb #chartership chat on Twitter – 16th Feb 2012
Wow, what an experience! I thought there might be a few of us interested in the #chartership chat myself and Tina had organised (a Twitter chat to support those working on CILIP Chartership), and had already had positive messages from people who were hoping to join in, but I certainly wasn’t expecting this…
That’s right – we were the number 4 trending topic on Twitter in UK – imagine that!
It was all a bit frantic so apologies if people were struggling to follow the conversation at times. Great that so many people were able to join in though – thanks to all of you who joined us.
I set up a TAGS archive for #chartership to collect all the tweets and made sure it was all working just before we started the chat this evening. Fortunately it has captured all the tweets so if you want to see the full list you can view all the tweets on the public archive.
Tina and I originally thought an hour would be plenty so we scheduled 6.30-7.30GMT but much of the conversation continued until 8pm. During the time, there were around 90 tweeters participating and a total of around 500 tweets were posted. Ever likely it trended, us librarians are clearly a chatty lot!
We decided not to set an agenda and let people discuss whatever they wanted to, though Tina and I did have some backup questions in case people needed something to respond to. This wasn’t needed though as a number of common topics arose and lots of spin off conversations started to happen. The tweet below warmed the cockles of my heart and there were plenty of others like it:
A number of people have asked for a summary of the conversation. I couldn’t possibly cover everything that was discussed but below are a few of the topics that were raised during the chat and some of the advice that was offered. (EDIT: @ellyob has also shared her own version of the conversation using Storify).
Choosing a mentor
Some people are currently looking for mentors due to starting the process now or because their previous mentor has left. Advice included whether to choose someone within your organisation or outside, within your sector or outside, and how to use the lists on the CILIP website. It was pointed out that these are not always totally up-to-date so even if it says someone is full it doesn’t hurt to contact them as they may no longer be. Also discussed was the location of your mentor – some prefer to be very close so that regular face-to-face meetings can be arranged, some prefer a more virtual relationship with fewer face-to-face meetings.
Finding time (and money) for CPD activities
Some people were concerned that they didn’t have time or money for CPD activities, particularly as budgets tighten and employers can no longer support these activities to the extent they once did. However, there are loads of very low cost ways to develop skills and knowledge (including one everyone was using – Twitter!). Fortunately, there was an excellent blog post on a similar topic earlier this week – see Katy Wrathall’s You can’t continue to develop professionally when unemployed – or can you? which has lots of tips for professional development opportunities without breaking the bank. Time is more of an issue, though I think everyone agreed that it’s more a matter or prioritising activities and doing little bits each week if possible, but that as it is a personal experience it’s fine to go at a pace that suits you.
I know for many people the reflective focus of the chartership puts them off (for me personally, I like it, but still…). Different options for reflection were discussed including the very private (only things you see like personal learning logs) to the very public (like a public blog). Some mentors mentioned that reflection had been something they weren’t keen on when they started the chartership process themselves but by the end of it they really appreciated it.
Linking your professional development to your day job
Something that I know a lot of people can find tricky is linking the extra professional activities together with the day job (particularly applicable to those working in para-professional roles or for whom the majority of professional development is outside the scope of employment). Advice was given by experienced professionals who recommended trying to get management support, speaking to your manager about how you can work together to align your work activities and professional development, and linking PPDP elements to your work (e.g. in appraisals).
Collecting and organising evidence during the process
A number of different tools were discussed to help organise evidence. Some prefer to use paper copies of documents, whilst others suggested using online tools such as a wiki (see Wiki-ing for chartership for more information), Google Docs, or an e-portfolio tool such as FolioForMe (using Maraha). Different techniques were discussed for organising the information – by area of PPDP, by criteria, or starting to think about the structure of the final portfolio.
Selecting evidence for your portfolio
The consensus here (confirmed by a number of mentors, thank you!) was definitely quality over quantity. There are no strict guidelines over the number or type of evidence to collect as it varies for each individual portfolio. The main thing to bear in mind is to ensure that each piece of evidence shows how you are meeting the criteria for assessment – if they don’t show that then they shouldn’t be in your portfolio.
Common pitfalls in submitted portfolios include lack of information on organisational aspects (linking to organisational strategies etc.) – many people commented that they do not currently have these or cannot link their work to them as they are too broad. Advice around this included speaking to your manager about developing strategic aims for your own department/area and possibly working on this together. Another pitfall is a lack of breadth of professional knowledge. It was great to see people starting to set up partnerships to support this element – some of the ways it can be achieved are by visiting other libraries, interviewing librarians to find out about their jobs, or just having conversations with them. Hopefully #chartership chat will help form links to support this aspect.
Support from CILIP
I was delighted to see many CILIP staff involved in the conversation and keen to listen to conversations and hear how they could help support us. Simon Edwards mentioned that CILIP are currently scoping requirements for a VLE which would clearly be of interest to anyone studying for a CILIP professional qualification:
I’m sure Simon would welcome any further feedback if you have thoughts on this. @CILIPcpd was also joining in with the conversation, and Annie Mauger (CILIP CEO) was keeping an eye on the discussion to see how CILIP might be able to help support chartership candidates (and she is also going through the fellowship process herself at the moment so can relate to what we’re all going through and shared some tips!).
I think we can definitely say that #chartership chat was a success – I never expected so many people to join in sharing so much useful information. I certainly made some new connections and have lots of ideas to follow up, and I hope others got the same. We’ll definitely be holding another #chartership chat, so the next one will be two weeks from now at 6.30pm GMT on Thursday March 1st (if anyone wants to request a different time, please let me know or feel free to organise something – I’m not precious about it!). I think we’ll do the same again in keeping it unstructured – that way people can bring their own questions and discussions and the conversation will depend on who is there. If anyone has any feedback/suggestions or thinks there is a better way please let me know, or jump in there and sort it.
Just one final note – a huge thank you to those of you who joined in and made it such a success, and those who helped spread the word to let people know about it.