We’re seeing a trend in higher education toward increasingly ambitious online courses. Instructors seem to be responding to the promise of a mass audience by bringing their most adventurous course offerings online. Why teach an inspired course to 50 students at Harvard when you can tape it for download by a worldwide audience of thousands?
Today, the online extension of Berklee College of Music announced a rock history course for the ages. Taught by longtime Boston Globe music writer Steve Morse, Rock History will feature original video footage from George Clinton, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Mike Mills of R.E.M., Joe Perry of Aerosmith and an Isley brother, among others.
Here’s Bob Weir on Janis Joplin: “She was a girl who didn’t have much going in life, and she discovered that she had a pretty amazing gift in her voice and her presentation. And it amazed her.”
In another snippet, Ernie Isley tells of watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, sitting next to Jimi Hendrix.
Berklee is hosting an online open house tomorrow. The course ain’t free — tuition is $1,200 to $1,400, depending on whether you’re taking it alone or as part of a certificate program.
Then again, the course plays like an online Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, and those aren’t cheap, either.