I recently began a new consulting job with the Master’s program I got my degree from. It’s the MSIDT program at California State University Fullerton (CSUF).
It wasn’t for any typical Instructional Design work which I’ve worked on (even in my side consulting jobs) but with social media skills at the center.
I’ve done a lot around social media lately including participating in several Twitter chats. For the past several years I’ve focused heavily on increasing my social presence from LinkedIn to Twitter, and even this blog.
This blog has been the focal point of my online presence and I think to build trust and authenticity in the social world, it’s a must to show a more personal side of yourself (or company). This blog has been precisely the place I’m able to be myself and jot down some of my thoughts.
I’ll get to the consulting job with my former Alma mater in a moment, but I wanted to get some things off my chest about online presence. Some readers may be aware that I’ve created a course on how to build a portfolio and blog similar to this.
Why does this matter?
Social presence and authenticity revolves around being real and not hiding who you are or what you’re thinking/doing. It’s a necessity to have a blog and depending on your type of work, possibly a portfolio too. If you don’t have one, check out my course for help on building one.
Now back to the important part of this website, the part where I spill my guts about what I’m doing.
Fitting Pieces Together
Another thing you may know about me is that I’m all for self-directed learning (SDL < ick an acronym). It may seem odd then to have started a consulting position to help a higher education program build their social presence and expand their program. Aren’t higher education institutions the epitome of non self direction learning? They’re all about formal learning right?
They are mostly about formal learning, but saying that they don’t fit into self-directed learning is wrong. I went through the program and I don’t regret it one bit. I had the opportunity to find my path and the tools to get a good footing on that path.
Since I went through the program I’ve been able to take my self-directed learning to an entirely new level. Formal education to the Master’s level is almost necessary for some, including myself.
Since I’ve finished my program I’ve taken off on a rocket-ship of learning though I couldn’t imagine ever going back to school for anything else. Since going through the formal steps of education up to the Master’s level, I’ve earned the tools to take advantage of all the self-directed learning tools out there.
My success has come from a lot of different activities over the past 10 years, one being my Master’s degree. Even though there are many options out there to learn on your own, I still think formal education has a huge part to play for most.
This is how I fit the pieces together and hopefully it doesn’t seem as if I’m doing it intentionally to fit my needs. I am a huge fan of self-directed learning and think you can take your career anywhere with it, but I also think formal education has an important place for getting most people where they want to go.
I wouldn’t have made it where I am as quickly as I did without higher education which was a big reason in giving me what I needed to benefit from the self-directed learning I now take part in.
Social Awareness Program
Now about the social awareness program I’m now heading to raise greater awareness into the MSIDT program.
One question I have to propose and I’d love to hear your answers is:
How do you gain authority in a Master’s degree program beyond the fact you get a universally recognized degree?
In other important words, what makes one Master’s program better than another?
There are better known programs out there which people speak highly of (you know, world-renowned) and they’re recommended by word of mouth.
If you look into these programs you notice a familiar pattern, they offer many of the same courses and they take somewhat similar paths to get to the end.
So what gives one Instructional Design program more authority over another? It’s easy to answer that question in the era of social media. The answer is usually (or should be) that they have a greater presence in the community and show their authority.
They’re out there helping the community beyond their program by doing research, sharing it, and synthesizing it so a larger audience can understand it. This along with personal attention to all of their students which I’d argue is more important, but the program I went through already has that very well in their practice.
The program was closed to a small cohort of about 26 students so they had personal knowledge of the professors AND each other.
Now with the expansion of the program and more students being brought in, it’s important to also expand the social presence of the program to help the Learning & Development (L&D) community outside of the program.
I’m going to be spending the summer working on ways of doing this and I’m looking forward to making arrangements with some of the L&D organization to showcase what great information and personal attention comes out of the program.
Have you helped build a presence of a newly expanding higher education program or something similar?
It will need a great deal of social media expertise for part of it, which I’ve worked at for several years. It will also need a great deal of marketing skills too though.
This social media thing is 50% social and 50% marketing if you’re dealing with some sort of organization. It’s a blending of the two and making most everything public is of course my goal, this funny working out loud thing.
I hope to hear from you along this journey and will be writing more about the activities I’m doing and how I’m trying to help promote the MSIDT program into its prime-time.