Reminiscing about “23 Things”

Ahhh, nostalgia – it’s not what it used to be…

23 Things Oxford (2010) was the first “23 Things” program in the UK, run by a team of 5 and initiated and led by me back in the days when we started to use the term “social media” instead of “Web 2.0”, and spent a lot of time trying to find out what Web 2.0 meant (if anything).  It was followed by 23 Things Summer Camp, an article in SCONUL Focus, a poster at a conference in Finland, and the 23 Things Team won an OxTALENT Award.

A recent discussion prompted me to wonder how far the 23 Things concept (link to Helene Blowers’ original) had spread in the UK after 23 Things Oxford.  Here’s a list of what I’ve found (and inaugural years) – please let me know if I’ve missed any:

  • 23 Things Cambridge (2010) – “23 Things is a self-directed course designed to introduce University of Cambridge UL, faculty and college library staff to Web 2.0 technologies.”
  • 23 Things Warwick (2010) – “23 Things is an online learning programme designed to introduce library staff at the University of Warwick to web 2.0 technologies.”
  • 23 Things for Professional Development (2011) – “23 Things is a self-directed course aimed at introducing you to a range of tools that could help your personal and professional development as a librarian, information professional or something else.”
  • 23 Things for the Digital Professional (2011) – “Welcome to 23 Things for the Digital Professional, the online learning programme for research staff and students at the University of Warwick. Over the next 10 weeks we will be posting 23 things on this blog introducing participants to a range of online tools for maximising your impact, research and teaching.”
  • DH23Things (2012) – Digital skills development programme for Researchers in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cambridge University: “23Things for Digital Humanities (DH23) is an online, self-directed, peer mentored reflective programme to help researchers in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cambridge University to explore digital technologies and the ways in which they impact on various aspects of their working lives, and thereby to develop their own strategic approach to engagement with digital technologies.”
  • 23 Things UK (2012?) – 23 Things is primarily an informal self-taught course designed for those working in Public Library Services.
  • Sot23 Things Southampton (2013) – “Sot23 Things is a self directed online learning programme designed to introduce library staff at the University of Southampton to web 2.0 technologies”
  • 23 Things York (2013) – “The current 23 Things programme is aimed at Information Directorate staff”
  • 23 Things for Research Surrey (2016) – “23 Things for Research Surrey exposes you to a range of digital tools that will help you in your development as a researcher, and a professional.” Happening now!  Give them a wave on Twitter with #23ThingsSurrey
  • [Updated Jan 2017] 23 Things for Digital Knowledge at the University of Edinburgh

What I like most about this list is that you can see how the idea spread across a network of people, including many people who knew each other primarily via Twitter.

Beyond UK – some other interesting “things”

  • 23 Things @ UL (University of Limerick) (2010) – “23 Things @ UL, an online learning discovery programme about Web 2.0 tools that encourages exploration and learning about new technologies. This programme is for faculty and staff at the University of Limerick”
  • 23 Mobile Things (2013) – “Exploring the potential of mobile tools for delivering library services” (based on Danish 23 Mobile Ting) “offers library workers the chance to build their awareness, knowledge and skills at their own pace is a fun professional development tool”
  • 23 Research Things at University of Melbourne Library (2014) – “23 Research Things is an online learning programme for university staff and graduate students, showcasing a range of digital tools that can support research activity.”
  • 23 (Research Data) Things for 2016 (2016) – “If you are a person who cares for, and about, research data and want to fill in some gaps, learn more, find out what others are thinking… then this may be for you!”
  • 23 Teaching Things (2016) – “For students at The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work – Each week we will share a few ‘Things’ about digital tools. Your goal is to spend a little time trying them out then reflecting on how they may be useful for your teaching.”

And there’s Helene Blowers’ megalist of all 23 Things programs inspired by her original idea.  That’s quite a legacy.

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