Teaching Reflections on Two Decades of Online Music Courses

Teaching Reflections on Two Decades of Online Music Courses

Dan A. Keast (The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5109-6.ch011
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Online music courses can be as diverse as the musical styles taught; however, the basic premise still includes content delivery, discussion, and assessment. The work of creating the course is imperative to the success of the future students. Through 20 years of online teaching and over 5,000 students, the learning has been two-ways. This chapter shares a number of takeaways from this history: personalizing the learning; using grading rubrics for authentic assessments; scaffolding the learning; formative assessments, interactions are essential to engagement and motivation, ADA compliance (in the United States), respecting copyrights, and how the grade is not the end of the learning. A number of rubrics are provided illustrating authentic assessments for music courses. The use of virtual learning through a series of immersive activities is also discussed with a Second Life series of jazz styles. Finally, a mobile app is shown as a method of helping students to compose and perform a Blues song using 12-bar Blues and AAB lyrics.
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I teach in a field that still scoffs at requests to teach our content online. The concept is laughable and sometimes hostile to music faculty steeped in the tradition of occupying physical spaces to hear the music performed live, an instructor sitting next to the student giving immediate feedback on tone production during a private lesson, or pointing out precise nuances in a recording to their Music Appreciation course. The idea that technology can change this is frightening to some musicians! When will technology replace the concert audience or the auditorium itself? These are terrifying issues that force musicians to consider the future of their craft.

The teaching philosophy that I subscribe to is termed social constructivism. This, too, may be a challenging teaching posture for some instructors. Its basic premise is that knowledge is constructed by interaction with others (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Schutz,1967; Durkheim, 1922). I believe that online learning must be constructivist in nature. That is, students build on their previous experiences and supports of knowledge and skills. As a reviewer of several courses over the past decade, I have seen how the lecture-test model consistently fails to be an effective mode for teaching online courses. Online students need to be fully engaged in the learning for a quality experience and to achieve the course objectives. How I learned to fully engage students in an online course has evolved over the past two decades and continues to grow. This chapter will outline experiences, methods, and recommendations in several areas of online teaching that create authentic learning experiences. These are the social experience of students working together, technology, the importance of writing, and grading.

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