October 17, 2022

MSM hosts its international partners in the Global Conservatoire online learning partnership

The Global Conservatoire is an online-learning partnership that includes Manhattan School of Music, the Royal College of Music (London), the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen), and the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.

Since the Fall 2021, the Global Conservatoire has offered students from all four schools an opportunity to engage with one another in an online learning environment with courses offered by all four internationally renowned conservatories.

MSM Executive Vice President and Provost Joyce Griggs shares with us what took place at the recent gathering of Global Conservatoire leaders at MSM in late September.

Can you tell us more about Global Conservatoire and why it’s important?

Provost Griggs: The Global Conservatoire [GC] faculty and students participate in a global classroom — students from these four schools hail from more than 60 countries — creating social and cultural networks for our students and teachers, quality assurances in the delivery of content, and a deep level of engagement for students among their GC classmates. Having the opportunity to access faculty and coursework from three other premiere schools beyond their home institution gives students access to an enhanced catalog of courses to pursue.

The GC is also a vehicle for learning more about effective teaching. Special funding from the EU Erasmus grant program has given us the opportunity to create a research-focused element as well. GloCoDa (Global Conservatoire in the Digital Age) received nearly 260,000 euros to support the upstart, launch, and evaluation of the GC. With the Association of European Conservatoires we have built in an external evaluation component so that our progress can be measured and assessed, which in turn will help the GC continue to refine, enhance, and improve the experiences of students and faculty.

To create a learning environment that is of the same high-quality level as in-person instruction, a significant investment of staff resources and time has led to training GC faculty, as most are new to developing and delivering asynchronous courses and assessing the effectiveness of student learning in this modality. Ultimately, the GC is supporting a shared strategic goal to expand the offering of courses that our schools can share with one another. The GC enhances our individually distinct and differentiated curriculum by expanding the catalog of content, expertise, and culture for our students.

MSM President James Gandre speaks at the opening of the visit hosted by Executive Vice President and Provost Joyce Griggs (standing, second from right)

Tell us about the gathering of Global Conservatoire leaders at MSM.

Provost Griggs: The GC has held three transnational meetings since fall 2021; in late September, MSM hosted the third Global Conservatoire gathering. Although the GC has a strong online community, meeting in person provides faculty and staff a tremendously valuable opportunity to continue conversations over an extended period of time. It also gives members of the GC an opportunity to learn about each other’s schools, cities, and cultures through first-hand experiences, leading to more effective communication and sense of engagement.

Approximately 20 members of the four schools participated in our convening. The convening began with a presentation to the MSM Board of Trustees — sharing the aims of the Global Conservatoire, our early history of forging this new, online learning community, and an overview of the project aims related to the Erasmus Grant. During the following two days, GC faculty and staff met to discuss elements related to best practices for teaching and engaging students in an online format. Presentations were as wide-ranging as “Designing an Online, Immersive Experience for Teachers,” Markus Haider, MDW; “Supporting Development of Metacognition in a Digital Space,” Vaughn Watson; “Digital Teaching Resources,” Caitlin Duffy; and “Cultivating Engagement in the Classroom,” Rebecca Charnow.

SLIDE SHOW: Events during the four-day visit of Global Conservatoire leaders included presentations, tours of MSM facilities, and a reception at the MSM President's residence.

What are the main takeaways of the event?

Provost Griggs: With this being the third transnational meeting, there was a strong sense of community and enthusiasm for the GC that seemed to grow throughout the convening. The rich exchange of ideas between faculty and staff on supporting student learning was impressive, and I believe the convening created a space for new colleagues to develop important professional relationships.

What is coming up for the GC?

Provost Griggs: The project group will be presenting on the GC at the 2022 AEC Congress in November. Then, we will participate in the fourth transnational meeting that will be held in late April at MDW, the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. It will focus on a cohesive training program for faculty delivering online, asynchronous courses. While we have been developing the training tools and have created on online “how to” course for faculty, the complete training program will support faculty at differentiated levels of experience (novice to expert), and the resources will be available “on demand” to current and future faculty participating in the GC. The final meeting in academic year 2022–23 will be a muiltiplier event in Copenhagen. We will share our findings from the GloCoDa project and share outcomes that we will build upon in the second phase (year 3–5) of the Global Conservatoire.

We are exploring other features of the GC that can support global citizenship for our students through extra-curricular activities — creating student life experiences, exchanging scholarship in online conferences, and co-creating performances and collaborations with and among GC faculty and students.

The event gathered leaders from Europe and New York at MSM

What has been the response to the GC?

Provost Griggs: There has been a tremendous amount of excitement about this project. Faculty from four schools are building international relationships that foster collaboration, an exchange of pedagogical strategies, and a keen interest in the unique curriculum of each school. The funding from the EU significantly supported the initial launch of the GC, and it will help us evaluate the learning modality. We have also seen an excitement from students who take a GC course and then study through either exchange or for an advanced program at one of the GC schools. We are also excited to share our research findings about the link between teacher engagement, student engagement, and successful completion in the courses we are offering. By the spring 2023, more than 20 courses will have been offered for a maximum student enrollment of nearly 400 students.

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