A Message from the Chancellor

Social Media University, Global (SMUG) is a natural extension of my family’s interest in education and the development of the Internet, as well as my experiences in speaking to conferences of professional communicators who are interested in exploring how social media relate to their jobs.

My Dad was an elementary school teacher before becoming a principal, and upon his retirement served a term on the local school board. I graduated from college the traditional way in 1986.

But since then, we’ve taken a decidedly non-traditional approach to education.

In fact, SMUG’s headquarters facility, Old Main (pictured above), doubles as the headquarters for Aase Academy, a primary and secondary school that has seen its first two graduates go on to complete their four-year degrees at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. I am the Superintendent of Aase Academy, and my wife Lisa is the Principal and Master Teacher.

Unlike SMUG, Aase Academy is an exclusive institution: you need to be born into it.

Accredited, certified, standardized degrees obviously have a place. My brother, Mark, graduated from college last year through a cohort degree-completion program that involved substantial on-line interaction and distance learning. He got a management job largely because of it, and was chosen to give the commencement address, which you can see here.

But while a degree (maybe even an MBA) may be a requirement for a particular job, it’s generally just a minimum price of admission to be considered. What matters even more is demonstrating what you can do and the results you can deliver, and how you continue to learn and grow and develop new marketable skills.

This leads to discussion of another type of learning that I view as necessary and beneficial, but not quite sufficient. Many professionals attend conferences and seminars for a quick immersion in social media. I enjoy attending and speaking at these because they give opportunities for face-to-face interaction, and I highly recommend them. But if you spend a couple of days and hundreds or even thousands of dollars at a social media seminar, but then don’t apply what you’ve learned personally and professionally, you have developed familiarity with social media but haven’t really experienced it.

That’s where Social Media University, Global comes in; it provides an ongoing framework for structured learning about a field that will become increasingly important for professionals, particularly in communications, sales, marketing and management.

SMUG uses social media to help you learn social media. So you aren’t learning alone; you’ll be part of a group that is learning together. And it’s not a theoretical, ivory-tower curriculum. It’s real-world stuff.

SMUG is not accredited by any higher educational body, so therefore the credits you earn don’t transfer. The learning does transfer, however. You can apply it immediately in a hands-on environment to your personal or organizational projects.

So how do you get started?

While SMUG’s headquarters facility, Old Main, was completed over a century ago, our curriculum is definitely under construction. Please join us in building it out. Associate professors are welcome to join the faculty. Compensation is the same as tuition.

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

3 thoughts on “A Message from the Chancellor”

  1. A FEW WORDS ABOUT DISSERTATIONS AND DISTANCE LEARNING

    The most rigorous part of the dissertation includes the

    Methods Section
    Study Design
    Research questions and hypothesis formulation
    Development of instrumentation
    Describing the independent and dependent variables
    Writing the data analysis plan
    Performing a Power Analysis to justify the sample size and writing about it

    Results Section
    Performing the Data Analysis
    Understanding the analysis results
    Reporting the results.
    When you enter this phase of the program, you are nearing the end of the journey. Given the difficulty of this phase, one often wishes they had previewed what was to come.
    Many Ph.D candidates seem to hit a brick wall and feel disarmed when called upon to work on the methods and results section of their dissertation.
    This is the point where many students diligently search for help calling on their advisor, peers, university assistance and even Google.
    This is also the time when the student asks themselves the question” HOW MUCH HELP IS TOO MUCH”.
    Surely no one will deny that having your dissertation written for you is very wrong.

    On the other hand, it is not unusual for doctoral students to get help on specific aspects of their dissertation.(e.g. APA formating and editing) It also is not unusual for advisors to encourage students to seek outside help.

    If you are a distance learning student it is almost essential you seek outside assistance for the methods and results section of your dissertation. The very nature of distance learning suggest the need for not only outside help but help from someone gifted in explaining highly technical concepts in understandible language by telephone and e-mail.

    Distance learning, and the avaiability of programs, has increased exponetially over the last few years with some of the most respected institutions (Columbia University, Engineering; Boston University and others) offering a Ph.D in a variety of fields. If you are enrolled in a distance learning program, or considering one, you will be interested in reviewing the reference sites listed at the bottom of this page.

    As stated above, many students hit their dissertation “brick wall” when they encounter the statistics section. Frequently, a student will struggle for months with that section before they seek a consultant to help them. This often leads to additional tuition costs and missed graduation dates.

    If I were to name a single reason why a PhD candidate gets off track in their program it is the statistics and their fear of statistics.

    So, the question is whether or not it is ethical to get help at all. If so, how much help is too much.

    I don’t know if there has ever been a survey of dissertation committee members who were asked this question, however, I know many advisors take the following position when they suggest or approve outside help:

    To a large extent the process is self controlling. If the student relies too much on a consultant, the product may look good, however, the student will be unable to defend his/her dissertation.

    It takes a committed effort on the part of the student and the consultant (resulting in a collaborative/teaching exchange) to have the student responsible for the data and thoroughly understand the statistics. The day the student walks in front of the committee to defend, there should be no question as to his/her understanding of statistics.

    When their defense is successful, the question of “was the help too much” is answered.

    If you are a Ph.D candidate and would like additional information, you may email me at:

    Boyd
    boyd67@comcast.net

    Reference sites:
    http://www.usdla.org/
    http://www.cgsnet.org/
    http://www.statisticallysignificantconsulting.com/

  2. Okay – so – where have I been? You’ve created this amazing “university” right under my nose, and you are one of my #1 clients! I am blown away. Brilliant. I want to sign-up!!

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