The arts are taking a back seat to career-focused degrees on many campuses. A new online learning platform is trying to remedy that by offering an affordable way for students to fulfill their first-year requirements.
Kadenze was launched in June with 22 art courses from leading colleges and universities, such as Princeton, Stanford, and UCLA. Seven of the schools participating in the program are even offering college credit for completed Kadenze courses for as little as $300, depending on the number of units.
“We’re really trying to build that first-year experience where students can learn the key assets for their particular field and then apply to college, maybe with a semester done,” Kadenze CEO Ajay Kapur told eCampus News. “Our goal is not to replace the university; it’s to get people prepared for it while also reducing the costs.”
Kadenze also hopes to attract lifelong learners by allowing anyone to audit courses for free. In addition, for a nominal monthly membership fee, students can participate in as many courses as they want and earn official verification for completed courses.
The platform was built with an emphasis on collaboration, peer and algorithm-based assessment, and high production values. Each course provides students with a gallery in which to share their work and have it assessed by other students. The algorithm-based assessment tools were designed specifically for an arts education.
“A student can submit a piece of music, for example, and our software is able to actually listen to the music and provide feedback,” Kapur said.
“I really want to mentor the students, not just present information to them. I could put up YouTube videos if that was the only goal,” added Jay LeBoeuf, a Stanford lecturer who is teaching a Kadenze course. “The aim is to have a really immersive environment where students are asking questions in the forum and submitting their assignments. That way, students can make comments on those assignments and see how other students are thinking.”