Seneca Music Students Add Original Beats to Innovative Collaboration
Seneca music students help create soothing beats for students to listen to while studying or relaxing.
Students across Ontario looking for soothing background music to help them study or unwind now have a free award-winning resource, thanks to students from Seneca College.
Under the leadership of John Switzer, Professor, Independent Music Production, Seneca students contributed to a collaborative project that won a global Open Education (OE) Awards for Excellence.
The project, called Liberated Learners, was led by Trent University, and brought together postsecondary institutions from across the province, including Brock University, Cambrian College, McMaster University, Nipissing University, Seneca, and the University of Windsor. The goal was to design an Open Education Resource (OER) guide to support students’ overall wellbeing.
Liberated Learners includes four themed modules that develop specific skills and competencies: The Learner (study habits); The Navigator (time management and wellness); The Collaborator (allyship, self-advocacy, networking) and The Technologist (technology competency).
Adding some beats to your studying
Student designers collected stories of struggle in higher education from learners around the world. Seneca and Brock co-authored The Technologist module, with Seneca creating a series of original, lo-fi, hip-hop beats for studying and relaxation. Lo-fi beats are a form of downtempo music that combine elements of hip-hop and relaxation music.
“We wanted to create our own lo-fi hip-hop beats,” said Terry Greene, Senior eLearning Designer, Trent University. “I contacted John Switzer to gauge interest from his students, and they blew me away with what they produced."
The Liberated Learners project began in April 2021 and concluded last February. Each module is now available free to students to students across Ontario.
Seneca students participate in real-world projects
“It would have been easy to use pre-existing stock music for this project, but Terry’s idea of having original pieces composed was brilliant and welcome,” said Mr. Switzer. “Any opportunity for our music students to participate in real-world projects outside of their normal schoolwork and assignments is incredibly valuable.”
“I had never made a beat that was lo-fi,” said Ian Marc, one of the Seneca students involved with the project. “I was pretty impressed on how it turned out in the end.”
Seneca wins international award
On top of the contributions of Mr. Switzer and his students, Alex Venis, Instructional Designer in Seneca’s Teaching & Learning Centre, was instrumental in the creation of the Liberated Learners Technologist module.
“This award a testament to the ability and dedication of all the students involved in this project,” said Mr. Venis. “This was a student-driven project that was up against professionals across the globe. I think it’s a great accomplishment for Seneca students and employees to walk off with an international award like this.”
Open assets are produced, curated, and distributed in ways that make them freely accessible, usable, and improvable by others. The OE Awards for Excellence provide annual recognition to outstanding contributions in the open education community, celebrating exemplary leaders, distinctive OERs, and open projects and initiatives.
The Liberated Learner project won for Best Open Education Resource (OER) in the Open Assets category.
“Just to participate in this inspired project would have been enough,” said Mr. Switzer. “To have the project go on to win an OE Award further validates and rewards the efforts of everyone involved.”
Learn more about Seneca’s Independent Music Production program