U professor awarded for music technology

By By Ryan Shelton

By Ryan Shelton

U professor Renate Kesler received an Award of Merit from the Utah System of Higher Education on May 23 for technological innovations she implemented in her music class.

Kesler managed to update and transfer a print-based music correspondence course to the Internet last year.

The course, Music 3715, focuses on teaching future elementary school teachers basic approaches to music so that they can incorporate it into everyday classroom learning.

As elementary schools across the country are forced to slash their budgets and cut funding for the arts, a push is being made in elementary education programs to train future educators in basic music theory, Kesler said.

“It’s a required class in almost every program now,” Kesler said. “But not every school offers this class, so there is a need for an online version-most of my students are from small villages in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

The cornerstone of Kesler’s online class is a music composition program that allows students to write their own music, play it back and submit it online as homework assignments.

“My students are amazed how easy it is,” she said. “Even if they don’t have musical backgrounds.”

Kesler’s course is part of the U’s Distance Education program, which offers telecourses, print-based courses and online courses to students nationwide who cannot physically attend the U.

“Online technology isn’t new,” said Roberta Lopez, the program’s director. “But teaching online is new for most professors. There’s a lot more work that goes into teaching an online course.”

“(Kesler) is truly dedicated to her students,” she said.

The Utah System of Higher Education honored 18 faculty and staff members from 10 public universities and colleges in Utah for their implementation of technology into distance-learning courses.

Kesler was the only U faculty member to receive an award.

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