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online learning

Blended Learning Student Experience

Online and blended courses are a new experience for a lot of students here at Berklee. Check out the following interview to gain perspective from a fellow student, Rachel Sumner. She took the blended classes Basic Keyboard Techniques I and II and shares her thoughts on the experience.

rachel's-profile-2Rachel Sumner is a 7th semester Professional Music major. She has worked for the PULSE Music Method as a workstudy for more than 2 years expanding the teacher training program and is currently interning in the Film Scoring department as music contractor for Berklee’s resident orchestra, the Scoring Sessions Program (SSP). Although flute is her principal instrument and composition is her concentrate in the Pro Music program, she is very active in the Boston bluegrass scene with her guitar and voice.

Digital Learning Department (DLD): How would you explain a blended course to someone?

Rachel Sumner (RS): A blended course is made of two parts. One part is physically being in class and the other part is going at your own speed, online and learning on your own. The online portion is all of your homework and all of the materials you don’t get in class. These are the things that you need to take a little more time with and go over. In the Keyboarding class I took, these materials included keyboard technique and learning the proper fingerings for scales. It was really efficient because the teacher didn’t have to teach each individual person. You could watch a video of someone doing the techniques and then practice it on your own.

DLD: What course did you take and when did you take it?

RS: I took ISKB 211 and 212, Basic Keyboard Techniques for non-piano majors. I took them Spring 2012 and Fall 2012, respectively.

DLD: How did you learn differently in this blended course as opposed to one in the classroom?

RS: There wasn’t too much of a difference. It was mostly the time-frame that was different. The teaching was still the same quality that you would get from one that was all in-class time. Each week you had to record yourself and listen to it before sending it to the teacher. It allowed you to make your own mistakes and discover them, which was really excellent. I think that is one of the best things you can do when it comes to learning music.

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Top 3 Tips for Teaching Online

This post was written by Ross Bresler, Professor, Liberal Arts. He is the course co-author and faculty for the online course, “LAHS-233 Themes and Variations in Western Art.”

I have taught “Themes and Variations in Western Art” successfully to on-campus students for two semesters and here are my proven tips for success:

  1. Make contact with students early and often. Students often have trouble organizing their time when taking an online course. It is easy to lose students who miss a few early assignments.
  2. Become human. Even if your class is fully online and not blended, do what you can to make yourself a real person and not a machine to your students. This can take the form of video chat, recorded video messages, photos, or setting out time for coffee with local students.
  3. Communicate to the individual and the group. Develop a weekly rhythm of individual comments sent to each student, as well as a weekly message to the group laying out the progress of the course such as where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. This establishes both a series of individual relationships and a sense of community.

You can read more posts on Digital Learning here:

Maintaining Tradition; Fostering Innovation

The following post was written by Susan Gedutis Lindsay, Associate Director for Instructional Design (Online Learning) and author of “See You at the Hall: Boston’s Golden Era of Irish Music and Dance” (University Press of New England, 2004). It was originally posted in the Boston Irish Reporter. She plays Irish traditional music on flute, whistle, and (gasp!) saxophone.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, and HONG KONG – In August, the Malaysian Ministry of Education announced its Education Blueprint (2013-2025), a plan built upon six attributes, one of which is national identity. Earlier in the week, while in Malaysia on an educational/business visit with the Berklee College of Music, I sat beside Tuan Haji Zainudin Abas, Malaysia’s Director of the Department of Curriculum and Arts, at a press conference luncheon at the International College of Music. In informal conversation, he pondered one of his charges under this new plan. He wondered aloud, “How can Malaysia establish formal performance and learning benchmarks in the study of its native traditional music?”

May I humbly suggest: Look no further than Ireland, Minister. Therein may lie your answer.

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