Dear Conservatory students, 

Thanks to you and your families for your engagement and questions over the past few weeks. We realize you are confronted with a complex web of challenges amidst an ever-changing landscape of policies and guidance at all levels. We very much appreciate your input and collaboration as we prepare for the upcoming year, as well as your patience with the process. We will continue to address your direct questions and concerns as quickly as possible, but I wanted to share some further information today about the “delivery modes” of courses for the fall.

As is detailed in the new course catalog, a number of new categories of courses exist for the upcoming academic year. In the College of Arts & Sciences, for example, classes are defined as in-person, hybrid, remote-only, and remote-accessible. 

In the Conservatory, by contrast, all courses for the 2020-21 academic year are by default defined as “hybrid” in nature. This is due in large measure to the wide variety of courses that take place in the Conservatory: lessons and ensembles in different genres, academic classes, and many other types of performing activity. In all cases where conditions allow, courses will generally feature a mix of in-person and remote experiences, but it is important to maintain a high degree of flexibility and hybridity.  

The exact percentage of in-person and remote teaching will vary by student and teacher and may change during the semester. As outlined in the Conservatory FAQs  for Fall 2020, academic classes such as those in music theory and music history will take place primarily online. In some cases, such classes will be “remote-accessible,” so if you are a student likely to enroll remotely who requires a particular Conservatory academic course, please be in touch to confirm details. 

In most Conservatory areas of study, lessons, chamber music, small ensembles, reduced-size large ensembles, and other small group activities will occur in person, utilizing spaces that allow for social distancing and other safety measures. In areas where this is not possible in normal spaces, we will utilize larger venues, outdoor spaces as weather permits, several new pairs of rooms with direct high-definition audio/video connections, and other low-latency solutions for connections across and beyond campus. In certain areas, such as voice, in-person activities will not be standard, as per current health guidance.  

For all lessons and ensembles, students are encouraged to be in touch with their teachers to discuss exact plans for instruction. For academic classes and other activities, students are encouraged to contact the Conservatory Deans Office (condeans@oberlin.edu) with any questions.  

Finally, please know that we will fully support students who must study remotely. We realize this will involve detailed information and advising specific to each such student, so we strongly encourage you to be in touch with your advisor and the Conservatory Deans Office.

With greetings from Oberlin,

Peter Swendsen
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of Computer Music and Digital Arts