We just added a new Audio Mastering course to the Berkleemusic catalog, and it seems to be just what the world has been waiting for! Students are enrolling fast and furiously! The authors, Jonathan Wyner and Marc-Dieter Einstmann, are both world-class audio-mastering engineers, and we’re excited to have them join the Berkleemusic faculty.

This new course contains some amazing cutting-edge, interactive learning tools. I’d like to give you a sneak preview. The first lesson is all about “monitoring.” Students go through interactive ear training drills to learn to identify frequencies. They study loudspeakers, calibration, graphic EQs, sound wave properties, room treatments, and more. Along the way, students can take interactive, virtual tours of two first-rate mastering studios. The tours are embedded below for you to enjoy. (Be sure to navigate all the way into the control room on the first one… that’s where things get very interesting!)

I hope you enjoy this sneak preview into our new online Mastering Course. Click the images below to launch the tours.

Virtual Tour 1: M-WORKS Studio in Boston, MA USA

M-Works Tour

Virtual Tour 2: MASTERLAB Studios in Berlin, Germany

Masterlab Tour


Community!
Whether online or off, we all want to be part of one.

Berkleemusic’s continuing education students tell us that a sense of community is one of the most important parts of their online educational experience. Throughout a 12-week semester online, students network and study with classmates from all over the world. The course community helps students form lasting connections that live beyond the semester and into their professional lives.

Picture 2

We have a number of tools, both asynchronous and real-time, available to students to foster communication and collaboration in any given Berkleemusic courses. They are a:

Discussion Board

– A “meet and greet” at the beginning of a course
– Lesson-specific questions presented by the instructor
– Student-generated questions or ideas
– Assignment feedback: instructors and classmates review and critique lesson assignments each week.

Chat Tool

The chat tool is used for a weekly office hour also known as a class meeting. The students and instructor spend an hour chatting about the lesson of the week. Sometimes, an instructor will invite a guest artist or industry luminary in to participate in the chat.

In addition to the discussion boards and chat tool, there are instructor announcements, private messaging for confidential exchanges, and even email to help to keep the communication flowing and the course community collaborative.

How important is a sense of community to you in your online education? What are some of the ways that help you feel part of an online course community? What’s lacking? What kind of tools or interactions would you like to see?

I look forward to your responses!

Education Dynamics conducted an interesting study on attrition in online learning. They found that the top five reasons online students drop out include financial challenges (41 percent), life events (32 percent), health issues (23 percent), lack of personal motivation (21 percent), and lack of faculty interaction (21 percent). Nearly half (47 percent) of students who dropped out did so even before completing one online course.

top5reasons

Although the numbers aren’t as strong, faculty interaction is an integral part of an online student’s educational experience. I’m very proud of the Berkleemusic online faculty and their dedication to our global community of music students. When it comes to faculty interaction, they are second to none!

Post Magazine’s article on continuing education opportunities for working professionals does a nice feature on Berkleemusic.

Interesting article in the New York Times.

Interesting article in the New York Times.

Faculty Are Key

Feb 04 2008

It’s true, especially in online learning. An engaged instructor can be the difference between a thriving online course and one that falls victim to attrition and failing grades. We see how effective online faculty can be every day with Berkleemusic.

I just read an excellent article on keeping online learners engaged and recommend it to anyone involved in teaching and learning online. The article is entitled “Distant, Not Absent,” by Ann McClure from universitybusiness.com.

“I don’t think there is anything that
can help retention as much as an
engaged faculty member.”

-Ken Udas, Penn State World Campus

Because online students are not receiving visual clues from the instructor, they can feel isolated. An engaged faculty member can help students overcome those feelings. “Teacher presence is a cornerstone of online learning, along with social presence and cognitive presence,” says George Saltsman, the director of Educational Technology for the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at Abilene Christian University.

For more information, please check out the full article.

And, thank you Berkleemusic faculty, for all that you do to help our continuing education students feel part of our educational community!

Chat can provide an excellent environment for education, especially when used in conjunction with other forms of communication including asynchronous discussion forums. For many of us, text-based chat is a very different way to communicate. Read any chat archive and, at first glance, it looks like a bunch of random thoughts without rhyme or reason. As you take a closer look, however, the threads and themes begin to emerge and you can see a number of productive exchanges taking place at the same time.

Crowd Control
For those of you involved in chat as part of an educational experience, there are a number of ways to reign in the randomness and engage a class in a more focused exchange. Here are some tactile approaches that can be used.

“h” can signify that someone would like to “speak.” The instructor can go back and invite that person to participate when the current discussion topic is complete.

“d” can indicate that you are finished saying what you wanted to say.

“…” an ellipsis is a good way to indicate that you are in the middle of what you are saying and currently typing more information to contribute.

Planning Ahead
Set the meeting time and the agenda a week in advance. If you give folks enough time to plan, they might be able to attend. Knowing the topic of discussion ahead of time will help to make the exchange more informed and productive.

Say it with Symbols
Chat symbols are short abbreviations, (think shorthand) for chatting online.

Say it with Emoticons
Emoticons are a good way to clarify the feeling attached to a message. If you are going to joke with the other party, a smiley :) is a good way to clarify humor rather than sarcasm. Think of emoticons as facial cues that you would make for clarification while talking.

Of course, the best use of technology in education is when the tools of technology are invisible to the experience. For more good tips on how to use chat as an instructional tool, please review this article by Ruth Reynard.

Happy Chatting! :)

Chat can provide an excellent environment for education, especially when used in conjunction with other forms of communication including asynchronous discussion forums. For many of us, text-based chat is a very different way to communicate. Read any chat archive and, at first glance, it looks like a bunch of random thoughts without rhyme or reason. As you take a closer look, however, the threads and themes begin to emerge and you can see a number of productive exchanges taking place at the same time.

Crowd Control
For those of you involved in chat as part of an educational experience, there are a number of ways to reign in the randomness and engage a class in a more focused exchange. Here are some tactile approaches that can be used.

“h” can signify that someone would like to “speak.” The instructor can go back and invite that person to participate when the current discussion topic is complete.

“d” can indicate that you are finished saying what you wanted to say.

“…” an ellipsis is a good way to indicate that you are in the middle of what you are saying and currently typing more information to contribute.

Planning Ahead
Set the meeting time and the agenda a week in advance. If you give folks enough time to plan, they might be able to attend. Knowing the topic of discussion ahead of time will help to make the exchange more informed and productive.

Say it with Symbols
Chat symbols are short abbreviations, (think shorthand) for chatting online.

Say it with Emoticons
Emoticons are a good way to clarify the feeling attached to a message. If you are going to joke with the other party, a smiley :) is a good way to clarify humor rather than sarcasm. Think of emoticons as facial cues that you would make for clarification while talking.

Of course, the best use of technology in education is when the tools of technology are invisible to the experience. For more good tips on how to use chat as an instructional tool, please review this article by Ruth Reynard.

Happy Chatting! :)

<img src="http://akamai.www.berkleemusic.com/assets/display/6030220/rick_peckham_b.jpg" width="176" height="100""
Rick Peckham, Berkleemusic Online Guitar Instructor

You can’t teach music online!” That’s what we heard time and again back in 2002, when we first began making plans for Berkleemusic.com, the online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music. And now 16,000 students, 75 countries, 85 courses, 30 certificate programs, and three National Awards later, “You can’t teach music online” has changed to a rousing affirmation that you CAN, in fact, teach music online; quite effectively, indeed! All you need is strong leadership, the best staff, and the finest faculty all working together to make it happen. These are the ingredients of Berkleemusic.com!

Online learning, also known as distance learning, has the attention of every major university in the world, most offering online degrees, certificates, and individual courses. Distance learning draws upon hundreds of years of established pedagogical principles and offers a student-centric approach to education. Berkleemusic is an example of a distance learning program founded in tradition. It all started in the early 1950s with Berklee’s original Correspondence Course, a 25-week “Berklee-by-mail” course in music theory and arranging. That early distance-learning initiative had the very same primary goal as the online school does today—to expand Berklee’s reach and provide educational opportunities by bringing Berklee to those who simply could not get to Boston.

What is it like to teach and learn music online? In this two-part series, we will look at online music education from the teacher’s side of the desk. Stay tuned!