Students’ Learning Developments

The students each handed in their reflective journals at the end of each cycle of the course, which then were analysed by Krista de Wit, chair of the working group. The students were asked two open-ended reflective main questions: What have I experienced during the course? What have I learned from this experience? – as well as a small number of reflective questions about the application of the newly gained skills and knowledge in the students’ professional practice development. Through qualitative line-by-line analysis, the following categories of learning developments emerged:


The students reflected on their learning on how to collaborate with physical distance between each other, which also included elements of cultural exchange. Mostly, the distance collaboration happened through email, Skype and social media channels. A student in Singapore wrote:

“Through this process, we were also able to learn more about each other’s cultures and also a new form of art.” Building a team during the intensive days was crucial for the success of the distance collaboration. Well-established teams were strong in the distance project work. One student reflected: “We worked well together despite being geographically far away from each other.” Having a partner from another arts discipline was encouraging to the future practice-development of non-musician arts students. One media-arts student wrote: “Working with the conservatory students showed me that I should really pick up music again as an integral part of my artistic practice.”

Artistic development

The course helped the students to open up to new forms of art and feeling of becoming a more versatile practitioner. A student reflected: “I have learned that the internet can be used in different artistic ways. My thoughts, in the beginning, were only about connecting people to play together, but because of the lectures in Reykjavik I discovered that there is a whole world of possibilities. It’s for me a new way to broaden my perspectives, musically and creatively.”

Furthermore, the students began to expand their role as artists in the society, from a performer to becoming a connector. One student wrote: “This course helped me think out of the box and lead me down a path where being a curator or a creator had less to do with being a musician than being interested in bringing people together. I am now interested in finding ways to host long-term interactive projects online. I also want to explore how to use the internet as an invitation for perspective audiences to begin and continue to communicate with me as an artist.”

Similar reflections on participation through online engagement was made on the second cycle of the course, as well: “Internet as an art platform has enabled artists to present their work without relying on the traditional concepts of art representation.” The student continues, that the Online Learning – Cross Arts course challenged the students to critically think about the function and need for arts outside the arts institutions, especially the conservatoires: “This makes it one of the most influential courses for my future practice and intellectually raises me above the often conservative academic environment in which a student-musician is expected to embrace almost only the deliberate practice and craftsmanship as a modus operandi when working within the institutionalized music community.”


The students identified clear benefits of the internet for connecting with people in distance and for making one’s own work accessible for wider audiences. The online-mediated work also supported networking with other artists and provided a new performance tool as well as a way to archive artistic material. A student wrote: “The internet is a powerful dissemination and communication tool – aside from the obvious networking and communication opportunities, I see the internet's potential as a home for an archive of performance materials and inspiration of a project so that versions of it may be performed in different locations without needing to have all of the core artists present for each presentation.”

Limitations of online-mediated artistic processes:

A clear limitation for the online-mediated group work was the disembodiment it causes for performance. A student explained: “However, the internet does have limitations as a medium for artist presentation. I feel that especially considering the voice, the internet has limitations because it causes us to detach our consciousness and awareness from our bodies and to enter into a sort of non-physical space.” Similarly, an instrumentalist student wrote that whereas the internet serves as a working tool, it does not allow a certain “feel” of authenticity that one has in performance close to an audience: “I like to use it (internet) for networking and sharing. But as a musician, I like to work in a concert setting, not in an online environment, because I have the feeling that connecting is harder through a screen. It’s too impersonal for me. […] The online feels limited for me. One of my questions is how do you embody the digital? It somehow doesn’t feel real to me. You miss certain things, it’s like a Skype-call. You miss certain emotions and expressions.”