Characteristics of Online Music Courses: A Survey of Music Faculty
Littles, Dan M
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The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of music faculty toward course suitability for online delivery, the pedagogical practices of online music faculty, and the current predominate characteristics of online music courses. A review of the literature found no studies that surveyed music faculty to find the current characteristics of online music courses. A researcher-designed survey was completed by participants (N = 230) from 160 randomly selected institutions accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The majority of participants were from large universities (10,000 or more students) and did not have previous experience teaching music online. Most universities offering undergraduate and graduate courses online have done so for 4 or fewer years. Music history, music appreciation, and religious studies in music were the most commonly offered online undergraduate courses, and music education, music research, and music technology were the most common graduate courses. Participants also rated the suitability of given course types for online delivery. Music Appreciation, Music Business, Music History, and Music Research were found to be somewhat suitable for online delivery, while courses such as Composition, Music Education Methods, Sight Singing & Ear Training, and Applied Instrumental/Vocal Lessons were not considered suitable for online delivery. Additionally, participants with previous online teaching experience rated courses as more suitable for online delivery than those without previous experience (p < .05), and they indicated that written assignments, quizzes, and discussion posts were their most used online assessment strategies. Faculty perceptions of online music courses resulted in a wide range of opinions from positive to strongly negative, indicating that this topic remains a polarizing issue in the field of music. Based on the findings of this survey, a holistic approach to online course development is presented that includes the institution, faculty, and student. Suggestions for further research are presented and include a) developing a theoretical framework for online music course delivery, b) developing best practices for online music learning c) developing faculty training in online course design and facilitation, and d) developing a holistic approach to online course development.