University of Melbourne, Southbank, Victoria, Australia,
The year 2020 will be remembered by many in education as a year for technology implementation and other online innovations. For some, it will highlight additional supports necessary for students to use synchronous and asynchronous technologies, while others may remember it as a year of fully online teaching. Whatever the memory, we can be sure that the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced what, how, and when we need to innovate in our online learning sphere.
Some disciplines are less inclined for online learning; these disciplines typically have practice-based teaching approaches. Music is a discipline that is learned through the practical, hands-on exchange of teaching instrument performance. The history of teaching music online dates back to the mid-2000s (Johnson & Hawley, 2017; Sherbon & Kish, 2005). The supportive frames for teaching music online focus on the social-constructivist model of teaching—a mere surface glance at its traditional face-to-face teaching highlights its use of master/apprentice teaching. That is, the context for learning a practice-based discipline, like music, provides online music teachers with the need for online learning supports that enable collaboration (Biasutti, 2015), and the need for quality video and audio exchange (Brändström et al., 2012), along with the basics of online teaching.
For some institutions, teaching music online involves teachers learning to teach music online through creative trial and error, or sharing learned experiences with their music colleagues. Other institutions situate the learning for instructors to be supported through generic online teaching seminars from their teaching and learning. The various approaches to supporting online music teachers have provided helpful insight into teaching this practice-based discipline in the online space.
In 2018, a special interest group was formed to better support those globally connected to teaching music online. Today, the interest group consists of over 40 global researchers, which has reinforced the importance of sharing research-informed practices. Their website, Teaching Music Online in Higher Education †, was developed to help better support the adoption of online learning approaches for various niche disciplines represented within music. This special interest group led to its inaugural conference in May 2020. Originally prepared and organized as a face-to-face conference to be held at the University of Melbourne's Conservatorium of Music, the COVID-19 pandemic required the conference to be transformed to an online conference, wherein online music teachers from 66 institutions across 13 countries shared a variety of teaching innovations that provided delegates with immediate practical takeaways for their current COVID-19 music class transformation.
Innovative teaching ideas and practices surfaced from the conference. With this in mind, the majority of Issue 2 of the International Journal on Innovations in Online Education (IJIOE) contains papers that highlighted innovations explored at the Teaching Music Online in Higher Education conference. While the discipline is music, a quick glance through the articles underscores the usefulness of ideas for disciplines beyond music. Innovative models to teaching music online are highlighted by two articles: “Changing mindset, perceptions, learning and traditional: An ‘adaptive teaching framework’ for teaching music online” (Merrick, 2020); and “A conceptual model for teaching music online” (Johnson, 2020). Further approaches to teaching music online are explored in “The use of scaffolds to help improve students' success on persuasive term papers in an online music course” (Keast, 2020), while Blackburn and Hewitt (2020) identify key creative music elements that can innovatively support “Fostering creativity and collaboration in a fully online tertiary music program.” Engaging in the practice-based tenets of music performance psychology via live streaming is addressed in Osborne's “Entering the live-streaming void and emerging victorious: Teaching performance psychology under pressure” (Osborne, 2020). The articles on the “Challenges and opportunities in teaching VCE music at Virtual School Victoria” (Nikolsky, 2020) and “Preparing an emerging professional to teaching piano online: A case study” (Pike, 2020) round out our issue in addressing practical solutions for those transitioning to teaching music online.
Keys to the success of online education not only lie with ensuring that teachers have adequate knowledge and support for teaching online. It also involves the bringing together of appropriate policy, leadership, and administration acumen such that inclusive learning and personalization of learning can be effectively supported for our students' learning needs. Former Co-Editor of IJIOE, Don Spicer, highlights the challenges of privacy legislation compliance across Europe and the United States in his Editor's Note “New privacy legislation and online education” (Spicer, 2020). Together, this issue underscores the changing nature of the world of online education—and how as educators, leaders, and policy makers, there is a need to continue developing innovations in online learning for the betterment of online education.
As we look to the future of education, and future issues of IJIOE, it is apparent that we need to address the elephant in the room—online learning in a COVID-19 world. Future call for papers will explore the following: the areas of online practice-based classes of other disciplines, the support of service continuity in a COVID-19 response, and the development of more innovative thinking on how to determine when to choose between using online learning versus remote/emergency online learning. We look forward to these future issues since their focused innovations will help ensure our students can access learning that is built upon effective online learning approaches while tackling the new challenges that are now a part of our learning world.
Stay safe and be well, everyone.
Biasutti, M. (2015). Assessing a collaborative online environment for music composition. Educational Technology & Society, 18(3), 49–63.
Blackburn, A. & Hewitt, D. (2020). Fostering creativity and collaboration in a fully online tertiary music program. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 4(2), 1–14. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020035099
Brändström, S., Wiklund, C., & Lundström, E. (2012). Developing distance music education in Arctic Scandinavia: Electric guitar teaching and master classes. Music Education Research, 14(4), 448–456. https://doi.org/10.1080/14613808.2012.703173
Johnson, C. & Hawley, S. H. (2017). Online music learning: Informal, formal, and steam contexts. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 1(2).
Johnson, C. (2020). A conceptual model for teaching music online. International Journal on Innovations in online Education, 4(2), 1–23. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020035128
Keast, D. (2020). The use of scaffolds to help improve students' success on persuasive term papers in an online music course. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 4(2), 1–13. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020035088
Merrick, B. (2020). Changing mindset, perceptions, learning and tradition: An ‘adaptive teaching framework’ for teaching music online. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 4(2), 1–17. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020035150
Nikolsky, T. (2020). Challenges and opportunities in teaching VCE music at Virtual School Victoria. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 4(2), 1–14. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020034533
Osborne, M. (2020). Entering the live-streaming void and emerging victorious: teaching performance psychology under pressure. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 4(2), 1–23. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020035052
Pike, P. (2020). Preparing an emerging professional to teach piano online: A case study. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 4(2), 1–14. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020034417
Sherbon, J. & Kish, D. (2005). Distance learning and the music teacher. Music Educators Journal, 92(2), 36–41. https://doi.org/10.2307/3400195
Spicer, D. (2020). Editor's note: New privacy legislation and online education. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 4(2), 1–2. DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2020032793