Music Matters: A Unique Distance Education Opportunity for the Humanities

Music Matters: A Unique Distance Education Opportunity for the Humanities

Rebecca Gould (Kansas State University, USA) and Elizabeth Unger (Kansas State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-878-9.ch003


This chapter describes how the introduction of a learning environment can stimulate creativity and innovation in learning and extend that innovation to students at a distance. The learning environment consists of a room, technology, and Internet assisted set of tools. This music environment is one of a series of learning environments created to enhance learning especially in the humanities. Capable of enhancing the instruction in music both for distance learning and for traditional students, this was accomplished at a Midwestern comprehensive research university. The learning environment created through a strong collaborative partnership between faculty and professional staff provided an enhancement to music theory instruction. It has served as a stimulus to innovation in music performance, band director’s instruction at a distance, instruction of music teacher students at a distance and also in the dance program. The result to date is an environment that has encouraged learning, collaboration and outreach to the international world of music. It is being shared with another institution of higher education to enhance their music programs. Distance learning in music and music education programs began fall of 2008 and like the initial two years of uses to improve face-to-face instruction, the potential is limitless to develop innovation and creativity in students and faculty alike.
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“Never forget that music is much too important to be left entirely in the hands of professionals” (Robert Fulghum)



Distance learning programs were first offered on the Internet in the Fall of 1997 with a focus on graduate education to enhance the education of professionals already in the workforce. It was extended to undergraduate degree programs shortly after the turn of the century to serve those individuals place-bound or time-constrained who seek an undergraduate education. There are over 10,000 different individuals that currently take distance learning courses.

The strategy devised to stimulate the creation of distance learning was a by-product of an initiative to move to more interactive campus learning. The strategy consisted of a few important components. First create learning environments (room plus technology) in collaboration with faculty members; create tools and interfaces to make the technology easy to use; provide professional assistance without charge; capture the faculty creations from the face-to-face presentations and its materials and finally provide easy ways to edit this for reuse including use in distance learning.

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