BitTorrent X Berklee: Building the Internet’s Music Classroom

Berklee Online

Elite ed shifts from the Ivy League to the Internet

There’s a tsunami coming. At least, that’s what John Hennesy, president of Stanford and “godfather of the Silicon Valley”, has to say about traditional education as we know it. The problem’s clear: elite schools run on a limited supply model. Classroom resources have historically been finite. So, then, is access. We can’t all go to Harvard.

Or can we?

The Internet has shifted industry in favor of radical openness. Now, that disruption is hitting education. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are scaling access, lowering costs, and giving students access to classroom resources. By 2019 most of the world’s classes will be delivered online. The tsunami Hennesy predicts: it’s tearing down walls. Which is pretty much awesome for students everywhere.

Hey, what about the arts?

Especially music students. Over the past decade, 60% of schools have cut arts education. The next generation of professional musicians are scared out of pursuing song after school: 57% of college students in the U.S. say they chose their major specifically to land them a higher-paying job to pay off their college-related debt. (These majors, btw, tend to fall far, far away from the arts.) We all know how valuable music ed is. If we can lower costs, arts education doesn’t have to go when (or where) funding does.

Berklee Online: building the Internet’s music classroom

This idea – the idea of music education, accessible to all, is something that Berklee Online, the digital arm of the renowned college, is today pioneering. Their online courses, certificate programs, and degree programs are designed to give students the tools they need to build a career in audio arts. How does the art of sound get handed down? In June, we partnered with Berklee to find out.

The school wanted to build the first free, and free-form music learning lab. We worked with them to develop and distribute a survey course in musicianship using BitTorrent Bundle. 170 million BitTorrent users around the world instantly had access to a preview of Berklee’s coursework: four in-depth video tutorials. Those who wanted to learn more could unlock over 27 GBs of classroom content by subscribing to the school’s email list.

Berklee Online

Using BitTorrent to drive school recruitment

We distributed Berklee’s Bundle to the people of the Internet; inviting every aspiring musician to take a virtual seat. Students could sample the school’s survey through the BitTorrent Bundle. If they wanted to sign up for additional courses, they could check out the college’s website, or subscribe to the school’s email list.

The Berklee Bundle was downloaded more than 1.8 million times; driving 125 thousand new students to Berklee’s online home; and generating 34 thousand school subscribers. Class is now in session outside of the US: in Russia, Brazil, India, and Spain.

Source: Bit.ly, Google Analytics.

Using BitTorrent to spread classroom conversations

As any student knows: it’s the conversations that happen outside of school that lead to lasting learning. Berklee’s BitTorrent campaign became part of student culture. The content was shared by more than 19 thousand musicians and fans in social media. Total online conversation about Berklee increased by 17% through the campaign.

Source: Sysomos, Topsy.

Using BitTorrent to cut down classroom costs

27 gigs: goddamn. That’s a lot of homework. Distributing classroom resources isn’t cheap via traditional, server-bound platforms – files require hosting and storage. Because its decentralized, BitTorrent allowed the school to share teaching tools with over 1.8 million students – at zero cost.

Arts education belongs to all of us. That’s not an empty statement; a false promise about the future of music. It’s a right. And it’s a fact. Congrats to the more-than-a-million members of Berklee’s Class of 2013. This is education’s next wave. Call it a tsunami.

Get the Berklee X BitTorrent Bundle here.

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Editor’s Note:
If you’re having trouble getting the e-books, here they are, available for direct download:

Berklee Online Guitar Handbook: http://bit.ly/10X8TIR

Berklee Online Music Business Handbook: http://bit.ly/18Mn4FP

Berklee Online Music Production Handbook: http://bit.ly/11D1jSu

Berklee Online Music Theory Handbook: http://bit.ly/11gmVEg

Berklee Online Orchestration Handbook: http://bit.ly/10X93Aa

Berklee Online Piano Handbook: http://bit.ly/11gn0rz

Berklee Online Songwriting Handbook: http://bit.ly/10ORNAs

About BitTorrent Bundle

BitTorrent Bundle is an Alpha project, made with and for the web’s creative community. Our mission is to help artists connect directly with fans, inside the content they share.

Each BitTorrent Bundle, like this one, created in partnership with Berklee Online, allows artists to distribute content to 170 million BitTorrent users. And each Bundle comes with a key. Fans can unlock artist content with an email address, or a donation. The idea is to make each song a storefront; and each file more valuable, each time it’s shared. Got ideas for the next BitTorrent Bundle? Hit us up.

Straith
Written by: Straith

Straith leads creative initiatives at Bittorrent

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