Lead Sheet: Beyond Berklee's Walls
Do you remember how you first heard of Berklee? Chances are a teacher or an alumnus told you about a college in Boston where you could study jazz and popular music. After a little research, you eventually found out how to contact the college and some weeks later received a catalog of Berklee's faculty and courses. The catalog was a revelation: this was the place for you. You could picture yourself at Berklee, studying the music you loved and launching your career in music.
Today, most students still hear of Berklee in the same way, but now most use the Internet to learn more about us. Berklee's web site, <www.berklee.edu>, receives over half a million visitors a year. Not all visitors are prospective students of course; many are alumni who have discovered the site to be an invaluable way of keeping in touch with what's happening on campus. On the site you can find up-to-date news and events (including a calendar of events and an on-line version of this magazine), listen to streaming audio of student recordings, or test your skills with practice questions from placement exams. Other offerings abound and recent additions include the Giving to Berklee section where Berklee supporters can make online contributions to various student scholarship funds, such as those created by the Zildjian Company.
Berklee's strategic plan for 2000-2005 calls for us to become even more active in building the college's Internet presence in ways that will benefit alumni. (If you have not yet had a chance to read the new strategic plan, you can find it on the web at <www.berklee.edu/Berklee2005>.) One of the ways we are doing this is by creating a special web site for alumni, <alumni.berklee.edu>. At this site you can register for your lifelong e-mail account and search and post job listings and "yellow pages" business listings. An alumni directory and many other services will be added to the site over time.
The most aggressive part of the strategic plan involves use of the Internet for distance education. We have already begun experimenting with this. Last summer, we successfully conducted workshops in Boston for a group of students in Athens (see BIN Summit 2000: A Glimpse of a New Era, in the Fall 2000 issue). In the future, we will begin broadcasting workshops like this over the web with programs geared specifically toward alumni. The web can also be used to present course work. We are closely watching the developments in online learning and will be developing content of value to alumni in the period ahead. The long-term plan is to offer these courses and workshops through a separate web site, <Berkleemusic.com>. Already launched is <BerkleePress.com>. Here you can order books from Berklee Press and from other music publishers. The site features many extracts from currently published books and an e-mail newsletter.
These are the some of the initiatives we are pursuing to build our Internet presence, and the key to our success will be alumni participation. With your involvement, the Berklee community will expand far beyond the walls of our campus.