Dr. Cleniece Mbeche Owino and Christine Wambui Maina have a few things in common. Firstly they’re both musical educators, based at universities in Kenya. Secondly, they both chanced upon Berklee Online music courses offered through Coursera, and found them so inspirational that they used the material to teach their students. Thirdly, they both recently came to visit the headquarters of Berklee Online in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where they spoke enthusiastically about their learning experience.
“I had seen other courses that I just stumbled across whenever I’d be looking for something else on the Internet,” says Dr. Owino, who is a music educator, lecturer, researcher, and consultant in the Department of Music and Dance at Kenyatta University. “Then I came across Coursera, and I always looked out for any other university that may be offering music courses specifically, and I came across Berklee Online.”
One of the elements she says she found most encouraging was the unifying aspect of a massive open online course.
“I believe it’s important for each and every student to be able to do these courses,” she says, “to get some other type of teaching from other people, and also to let them know what they’re doing is not very different from what other students around the world—those who are taking music—are doing.”
Maina, who is a lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya and a voice teacher at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music, agrees that one of the best lessons for students to take away from a Berklee Online music course through Coursera is how universal music is.
“You don’t feel like you’re alone, just trying to figure things out,” she says. “I’m grateful for the people who actually took their time to go through this whole process, to make sure that this is accessible to everybody everywhere. It’s opened my mind to a lot of possibilities, and that’s what I think education is about.”