Theses Doctoral

Sustainable Education is Online Education: Designing and Instructing an Engaging and Effective Online Music Course

Castellano, Lindsey Grace

This study was undertaken to provide ways to strengthen and enhance existing online courses and to assist music educators in creating new online classes that are effective and engaging for students. Prior to the pandemic there was a clear lack of instructional expectations, guidance for online music education, and technical support for content development. Training initiatives and support for online education were launched during the pandemic, however, the findings from this study revealed that these initiatives were not adequate in assisting music educators, who found themselves needing to supplement their online classes with knowledge and resources from online communities of practice and assistance from colleagues.

Based on the analysis of online courses and methods, a 15-week professional development course design with synchronous and asynchronous components was created and evaluated to guide music educators in creating effective and engaging online courses. The online course design created for this study was intended to prepare primary, secondary, and post-secondary music educators in designing and implementing effective and engaging online courses through the exploration of issues surrounding content development, learning, and teaching online. The study was informed by the literature surrounding the related issues of teaching online and the necessary considerations to create and implement an effective and engaging online course. An overview of issues related to instructors, students, and content development was reviewed with additional consideration of the specific issues for instructors outlined in Kebritchi et al., (2017). The findings from this study supported the related literature that the instructor is the most critical factor in the effectiveness of a course.

The course design was evaluated, modified, and refined given the analyzed data collected in three phases. The first phase included a review of the course design by three academic scholars with extensive experience in online education and music technology. The second phase included three synchronous meetings with a public middle school music teacher, who had experience with music technology, to review the content, sequence, modules, and assignments. The final phase of data collection concluded with semi-structured interviews of five music educators, who reviewed the course design and provided their perspectives and experience with online education. The sample population from Phase 3 included music educators from across the United States in K-12 private and public schools, higher education, and private studios.

This study found that an engaging online course involves the instructor’s understanding of how to effectively present and deliver course content in an online environment and how to build an online community that fosters student engagement. The findings from this study supported that an instructor’s content delivery must be adapted for an online environment as a digital setting requires unique pedagogical, social, managerial, and facilitation skills than traditional in-person methods (Hurlbut, 2018). The findings suggest that effective training for online music educators include models of developed content, guidance in adapting existing content for an online environment, an introduction to available resources for music educators and students, and ways to integrate interactive elements to effectively design and deliver online music courses and engage students.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Abeles, Harold F.
Frankel, James Thomas
Ed.D., Teachers CollegeColumbia University
Published Here
June 12, 2024