Berkleemusic Partners with Coursera to Offer Free Online Music Courses

October 9, 2012
Press release


Berkleemusic, the award-winning online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, is working with Coursera to develop four online courses with some of their most popular instructors. These free online courses will be available to students across the globe in spring 2013. The four massive open online courses (known as MOOCs) that will be offered are: Jazz Improvisation with Grammy-winner Gary Burton, Music Production Basics with Loudon Stearns, Introduction to Guitar from Thaddeus Hogarth, and Songwriting with Pat Pattison.

These courses are some of the fastest enrolling courses in Coursera’s history. Currently over 40,000 people have registered in the four Berklee Coursera offerings. Berklee is the first music college to partner with Coursera.

"Berklee is committed to helping talented artists create the world's next big musical idea,” said Berklee president Roger H. Brown. “Coursera gives us a way to reach people all over the world, many of whom have no access to music education, and provide them with the opportunity to learn at no cost from great innovators like six-time Grammy-winning vibraphonist Gary Burton.”

For the Jazz Improvisation course, Burton will adapt his existing online credit-bearing course he teaches for Students who enroll in the free MOOC version won’t earn credit and the class will operate “more like an interactive lecture series than the performance-based courses he teaches for credit,” Burton told Inside Higher Ed.

Berkleemusic’s partnership with Coursera—a start-up online education company that partners with top universities to offer free, online courses—is the latest innovative step taken by the online school, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Berkleemusic was an early practitioner of offering free online music lessons via its Berklee Shares program, as well as with YouTube. With nearly 35,000 subscribers and over 17 million video views, Berkleemusic’s YouTube Channel ranks fifth among more than 400 universities in the U.S. and Canada.

"Berklee College of Music has always been at the forefront of distance learning,” added Debbie Cavalier, vice president of online learning and continuing education at Berklee. “In the 1970s, there was the Berklee Correspondence course with lessons and assignments sent between students and faculty via U.S. mail. In 2002 we launched Berkleemusic, the first fully online music education program. And now, Berklee is a music pioneer in the MOOC space with our Coursera partnership. This partnership will further extend Berklee's reach and provide free music education opportunities to many more aspiring musicians around the world.”

Berkleemusic’s winter term begins on January 14, 2013.

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