Bootcamp, One Last Time

This is the last I will post on this topic. I felt I had to write this. It is part therapy and part need to be honest. Nothing more, nothing less. In an effort to keep linkage down, I only linked to a couple things, the rest are easy enough to find, should you care to look.

I waited a week after Bootcamp was over to gather my thoughts and answer the survey they set up for the participants. I needed time to think about what I wanted to tell them and what I wanted to write in this space. I started out very excited about Bootcamp and ended up both content and sour. I was content and happy with the work of my group, and the work of the others, and soured that I was not able to enjoy the process. Some of that was my fault for being unable to let go and some of it was because of some people’s inability to understand the community with which they were working.

I was the person that Karen Schneider referred to in the comments of this post that was contacted by the owner of “the company” for defaming the company and Bootcamp’s efforts. I will not link to that company or mention that person by name because I feel that I must protect myself given the events of the past few weeks. I do, however, think that others should know how this was handled. It was as if I criticized Microsoft’s security and Bill Gates called me on the phone to complain and take me to task. This was unacceptable and unprofessional. Even though I explained that the post was meant to be critical of ALA and the technology than the company itself and apologized for the misunderstanding (an apology that was accepted), I believe that this person willfully misunderstood me. The next day, I was again called to task on the misconceptions, in public, in front of my other classmates. For an instructor to do that to a member of the class, in which we were all adults, is unacceptable.

After that, I did not feel that I could be honest on my Bootcamp space or even this space, which is wholly mine. I withdrew from the process in an effort to keep out of the light. I continued to work with my group, but my efforts did stop there in most cases. I did not feel safe voicing my opinions and knew that I would have to wait until it was over.

That being said, I do not want an apology or anything else. I just want to move on. I felt that I had to write this, so that other people know that Michael Casey was not losing his mind when he took down his post and and that I was so queit for so long for a reason. We were exercising the very real need of self-preservation .

I have many complaints about the technology, but that is a horse I do not want to beat anymore. Instead, I am reposting some of my answers to a couple of the ALA L2 survey questions, which I have modified for this format.

What was/were the most difficult or challenging aspect(s) of ALA Library 2.0?

For me personally, it was knowing that I could not be honest in that space. I think some of the business that happened really tainted my experience. It was obvious that they did not understand our community, that in an effort to learn, we often have heated and strongly worded debates, but end up with better ideas and a strong sense of community in the end. That is what L2 is all about! Open and honest discussion. I am proud that my group developed that project we did, but I did not participate in the larger group as much after the beginning in an effort at self preservation.

In response to a question about technology:

I think it would be better if you took more time on each tool. You expected too much of people that are juggling very heavy work schedules. It would have been better if we had a week on each tool and then a week to decide which tool would be the format of our final project.

In this format, you expected people to learn so much so fast, that many people felt too overwhelmed at the beginning. Many people, including me, do not learn well when they feel pressured and I had my job pulling me in other directions as well. We should have had more time to sit back, ponder, and ask the big questions.

There were also too many readings. I think it would have been better if we were presented with less reading at the beginning and then let loose to find out own things. We could have shared our finding with the group and, as a group, explored the web with new savviness.

Some of the readings were too technical. I have been following this conversation and these technologies for a couple years now, and some of it was over my head too. I think this added to some people’s anxiety.

(Microsoft) Live Meeting is a terrible tool. I would like to see ALA use something like OPAL’s set up that allows chat. Having 50 people on the phone together is, well, a bit ridiculous. I did not feel like we really got to participate or ask questions. The best part about having an integrated chat feature is that we can actually talk to each other and learn. I was very disappointed by this lack.

I should explain that Microsoft Live Meeting does not have chat, but does allow the viewers to see Power Points and take quizzes. However, the lack of chat meant that we were all on the phone together, at the same time. There was no side chatting and learning as there often are in OPAL sessions and I was very disengaged. When you have to be on the phone for 90 minutes, it is hard to stay focused when you have no means of participating in the conversation.

In response to how this would affect my work:

Because I feel that I have been keeping up with this conversation, I do not think it will influence my work, but it has affected the way I view ALA. I am proud that ALA has finally put a foot on the Cluetrain. I want ALA to be nimble and responsive to technology and opening up this program was the first step. I think mistakes were made, but failing is a part of learning. I hope that ALA learns and creates a better program for next time.

I would add that I hope ALA takes more care in choosing who will lead the efforts of future classes. Jenny and Michael were beyond fabulous, but if they are going to get an outsider to help in the future, they should choose someone who understands our community, who will not take our questions and discussions as attacks, and who will respond in a helpful, non-threatening way by participating in the conversation, instead of squashing it.

After everything, I am most grateful to be part of a community that has the maturity to disagree, discuss, disseminate, support each other, foster new ideas, and that is not afraid to stick our necks out there. I appreciate that. I am thankful everyday that I chose to be a librarian.

Jane, glad it is over and time to move on