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?
- You can subscribe to the SMUG feed directly here (assuming you’ve completed Social Media 102: RSS Feeds) so you’ll be made aware of new posts.
- Join the SMUG Facebook group. That group will serve as the virtual Student Union for SMUG. You can upload photos or videos, or post links to your projects, and otherwise network with people who share this common interest of learning about social media.
- Follow the Chancellor on Twitter.
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.