Director and Creator

Director of Blue Marble University’s The China Program

This is my 20th year in China, and it has started off with a bang, for which I am continually grateful.  It has begun with the completion and approval of my Ph.D. dissertation as part of Blue Marble University’s online Chinese language degree program, The China Program.  The approval of my dissertation project then in turn led to the university graciously offering me the position of director of the program—a collaboration I gratefully and happily accepted.

The Chinese idiom 天作之合 means “a match made in heaven” and is usually reserved for those more romantic collaborations.  Regardless, it is the last character of the idiom, , that offers clues to how best collaborate, in any partnership.  Through a deciphering of these clues, an explanation can be had of how Blue Marble University and I approached our school-student collaboration…which has now resulted in a professional one.

That last character 合 means “to join, to fit; together.”  It actually is three characters in one–the characters for people + one + mouth

One implication of this character is that for good collaboration people need to be speaking in like terms—otherwise its disaster for efficiency and quality.

Another deeper implication is based on the fact that communication starts in the mind.  Therefore, in order for any size of group to get on the same page, be on common ground and have good communication, people need to be of the same mind.  The same thoughts?  No, not exactly. Rather, the same motivation inspiring those thoughts is needed. 

Confucius gives clarity about which motivation: 

The Master said: “is humaneness far away?  If I aspire for humaneness it is right here!” 

My Ph.D dissertation was the final project of my school-student collaboration with Blue Marble University. It was a great project to round out and put a creative cherry on top of my time in China and study with the university.  The innovation that resulted from it was a unique online corporate Chinese language learning program. The project also led to my new professional collaboration with Blue Marble University as director of its online Chinese language master’s degree program, The China Program

Due to both sides embracing the humaneness fundamental to any good collaboration, my own completion of the China Program and instruction of the program’s students, my Chinese linguistic and cultural fluency and long experience as an educator—becoming director was a natural progression into a win-win collaboration.

Blue Marble University

Self-described as “The World’s Most Innovative Online University For Working Adults and Career-Minded Students”, Blue Marble University has been trailblazing in the online higher education field for some time.  It boasts 3-year doctoral programs, 5-year fast track BA/PHD programs for high school graduates and homeschoolers, a long list of 4-year undergraduate programs, like The China Program, as well as their 2-year dissertation-only Ph.D. in any field of study

It’s world-quality programs are accessible and convenient with easy to use and understand Academic Record Page for each student. These are permanently kept online, password protected and accessible anytime, anywhere. 

Along with accessibility comes affordability.  Tuition costs are kept down by the university’s avoidance of common accreditation of degrees.  Instead, degrees are sent into foreign credential evaluation services that assess the equivalency of degrees with accredited USA universities.  These types of services are commonly used by anyone trying to study and work in the USA but whose degree was received at a non-American institution.  In this situation degrees are sent to foreign credential evaluation services and once they are deemed equivalent to a USA degree the degree then can be used for further education or employment. 

The China Program

One great master’s degree program offered by Blue Marble University is the Master of Science(M.S.) in Chinese Language, also known as The China Program.

Increasingly one of the most useful languages to learn in the world, Mandarin Chinese is a great skill to have on one’s tool belt.    Whether it be for STEM-industries such as AI, robotics, IT, medical science and technology; for the humanities like education, philosophy, history; for business, import/export, trade and finance; or for simply for digging into the vast treasure trove of a still extant ancient civilization and culture—learning Chinese is a great option for many people.

The China Program harnesses the best resources from the increasing number of Chinese language learning resources online.  It then puts them together in a clear, course-by-course curriculum that can help any general learner of Chinese to reach proficiency in the language in 2-4 years.

On a personal level, The China Program was perfect for fitting a degree atop all of the language skills, cultural understanding and experience I had accumulated while living and working in China.  It also allowed me to pursue further research into traditional Chinese culture, and, via the guidance and vision of the program’s faculty, develop experience, methodologies and clarity for what would end up being the creation of my own online corporate Chinese language learning program.

Creator of Executive Chinese Learning (ECL)

ECL was the purpose and result of my Ph.D. dissertation.  ECL is a unique online corporate Chinese language learning program. It is doubly special because it is a product of the vision and execution of practical and useable Ph.D dissertations, which are a highlight of Blue Marble University. 

Due to what director of the university, Dr. Walter P. Drake, coins as dissertation inflammation, his students’ dissertations do not become voluminous pieces of work that largely are read by only a handful of people, and too often don’t end up being used.

ECL was one such instance of guiding students to create and complete relevant and applicable projects as part of their Ph.D dissertation. 

Over the course of my studies with the university it became clear that learning Chinese online was not difficult in general because of online learning. The amount of resources were growing daily. 

The problems that existed though were two:

  1. For general learners, which of the myriad resources should be used? 
  2. For corporate learners looking to expand their professional skill set with Chinese language, what program was out there that wouldn’t waste their time learning useless skills and knowledge? 

Blue Marble University had solved the first problem already.  Yet, its focus, along with the rest of the virtual Chinese learning world’s, was lacking for the corporate professional learner. 

Thus, via the vision and guidance of Blue Marble University, the Ph.D dissertation project of Executive Chinese Language (ECL) was born.  The result was the design and implementation of an efficient and effective 2-year corporate Chinese language learning program, all online, convenient, affordable and easily accessible.

The Analects translation in the featured image is that of A. Charles Muller.

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