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Today, Social Media Week has announced its partnership with Skillshare to launch The School of Emerging Media & Technology in the US this fall with plans for international expansion in 2013.

This school aims to be the first accredited school on Skillshare that provides year round training in social media.

Through the Skillshare platform, leaders in social media have the opportunity to build courses around emerging tools, new technologies and best practices that are driving industry-wide change. 

We had a chance to speak to Toby Daniels, founder and executive director of Social Media Week, about this new partnership.

Why did you decide to create the School of Emerging Media and Technology?

The idea stems from the research that we did for ourselves three to four months ago that shows there is a skill shortage in social media, not just in the US but all the markets we have a presence in. The gap is being created as technology is advancing faster than we're able to retrain our workforce. Look at how important social media is becoming and look to the lack of training provided by organizations.

Why Skillshare?

We wanted to look at education and educating at scale. So we looked at a platform that could provide this. 

Though it's only a year old, Skillshare in a solid way to provide tailored classes and courses. More importantly, it brings teachers to students who want the knowledge of specific topic. With Skillshare, we can take on this problem of lack of skills in social media at scale.

Is there an approval process for those who want to teach or can anyone create a class?

With Skillshare, anyone can teach. But we're doing things a bit differently and will be vetting every teacher before they create a class or course. 

It's important for us to look for a certain level of expertise beyond the ability to teach. We're looking for other important traits such as personality and a established connection with the community. 

Once we accept an application, the educator will work collaboratively with Skillshare and Social Media Week to develop relevant courses.

What about cost?

We're aware that with this type of education, we need to reduce the barriers of cost. Traditional training can be thousands of dollars. So we're trying to strip out the complexity and capital overhead/other related costs and offer high quality education. 

Individual classes of 20-30 people per 60-90 minute class will cost around $50 and a course of 7-9 classes would be $500. Teachers will get 75% of all the revenue and the reminder will be split between Skillshare and Social Media Week.

What kind of accreditation will these courses have?

Initially we want to roll out a pilot of courses and then begin to roll out accreditation and progress through the courses we have on offer. Social Media Week and Skillshare will be the accrediting body. It will be different than what is awarded at existing institutions but we believe it will be comparable. 

What are your plans on rolling this out?

Our goal is to start in the US. We already work in five cities in the US and are connected beyond that. We will see how people respond and react in the first three months and then we will further develop programming depending on this reaction. 

Though only The School of Emerging Media & Technology will only be available in the US to begin with, international trainers can still contact us. As we're already in 26 cities in 19 different countries, we will take it step by step to places of high demand.

For more information or to sign up for The School of Emerging Media & Technology, you can find out more on socialmediaweek.org/school/

Heather Taylor

Published 10 July, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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