It’s not often an education institution can boast alumni that have worked with renowned recording artists Fleetwood Mac, helped run major music festivals and even managed surveillance recordings for a police forensics laboratory.

But students at Collarts – the Australian College of the Arts – have achieved all of this and more.

Jason Torrens, or JT as he is referred to by all who know him, is Head of Audio Engineering at Collarts, which offers a range of creative arts courses, from music and audio production, to entertainment journalism and animation.

JT was also one of the first Echo360 Academic Champions, a select and growing group of academic and technology professionals from across the globe who have received grants to help them boost the development and use of Echo360 in their institutions.

“As a college for the creative arts, technology is at the beating heart of teaching and learning at Collarts and I have spent the last few years working towards ensuring that every session taught is captured on video and made available to students via Echo360,” JT explains.

The long-term relationships JT has built with other Academic Champions in the region have been one of the true highlights of being involved in the programme and he has shared much of his invaluable experience in using Echo360 to support pedagogy during that time.

New Careers in the Making

“There are many career opportunities in the creative arts and related industries, and we want to help our students gain the skills they need to calve their own pathways to success,” says JT.

“I see Echo360 as a key part of this. Since moving to a new campus in late 2018, we’ve seen a staggering 700% increase in the number of lecture recordings students are accessing and this has largely been driven by student demand.”

The Academic Champions grant has enabled the college to take the successful work that has already been done to broaden the use of Echo360 to the next level.

The Importance of Capturing the Detail

JT invested part of the grant he received in 2018 into five new microphones for use with Universal Capture and cameras to enhance teaching in the college’s large auditorium.

“In courses such as music production and entertainment management, tutors need to be able to move around a stage or recording space easily as they teach,” JT explains. “Recordings of close-up techniques, such as the positioning of microphones around a drum kit, need to be captured in detail too.

“The new equipment enables us to capture more of the great teaching that is taking place across the college and makes it easier for students to use video to recap what they have learned or revise for assessments effectively.”

The Heart of Sound   

New tools are in place to capture the high-quality audio from the college’s digital sound engineering platform too, which is crucial to supporting students’ progress.

“When our students are viewing a video lecture capture, they need to be able to hear the minute detail in the output of each instrument that has been recorded, just as they would if they were in the room.

“The new cameras and audio equipment we continue to put in place help to give our students the same excellent experience, whether they are in class, learning online or watching a recorded lesson back to boost their understanding.”

A Champion for Student Success

JT talks passionately about the role of video recording in teaching the creative arts and how it has become increasingly essential for helping his students gain the qualifications and skills they need to navigate their way in a highly competitive industry.

“Our students are learning about really physical things like musical instruments, computer programmes and mixing consoles. Being able to see that in real life, rather than reading about it in a textbook – it just changes everything.

“Our students work hard to deliver fantastic musical performances and make sure they are beautifully mixed in our live sound rooms. Now, the whole class can watch and listen back to the performance and mix within the hour, alongside teachers’ feedback. This is happening across the college every week and it has transformed the way we deliver these classes.”

Reflecting on the experience of being a pioneer Academic Champion, JT concludes, “Echo360 works so hard to meet the needs of colleges and provide the technology to move teaching and learning beyond talk and chalk. This has made it much easier for us to work with staff to embed active learning tools more deeply across the curriculum and give our students the best possible chance of launching successful careers in the creative industries.”

To learn more about Echo360 or the Academic Champion program contact us.

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