Is online music education here to stay?

People are often surprised to hear that part of my job as a music professor has been to teach online.

I suspect is quite possible that will start to become part of the job of most professors in the future.

Second Life
, a popular Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE), is increasingly being used for virtual education, most notably by Harvard University:


Even Harvard University’s Law School is offering an online course:


The SimTeach website provides detailed information regarding how teaching works in an online environment:


Here are a few of my recent publications on this topic:

  • Hebert, D. G. (2008). “Reflections on Teaching the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music Online,” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Vol. 39, No. 1 (pp.93-103).

*Update (8/14/08) The Music Education Technology Network is a useful new resource for academic exchange in this area:


Eugene said...

The internet is a terrific vehicle for music education. My colleagues and I at The Dallas School of Music realized this 8 years ago and set out to develop software for our students to use at home. The program was so successful we began to make it available to individuals around the world at MusickEd.com and are in the process of making our curriculum available to school districts in the US. Not only is online music education not going away, it is thriving!

Sociomusicology said...

Thank you for sharing this information, Eugene. I am interested to hear more about what you are doing. It looks like I will be involved in some online education in Europe as well from now on.

David Hebert

Anthony said...

I just read your "5 Challenges" article, and I must agree with you on all points. Particularly poignant is the need for inclusion of "student behavior issues." It is troubling that some students cannot be trusted, even at the doctoral level.

I am a doctoral student (learner/researcher) in educational leadership at Capella University, and notice many of the same challenges. I particularly concur with your solution to the "prejudice regarding the legitimacy of online degrees." As you suggest, high quality output from graduates of online programs, spurred by high academic standards, will lead to the recognition of those programs who emphasize rigor over profits. Best wishes for the success of online education,
Anthony Bernard

Brad said...

I am now at about the halfway point in coursework towards the Boston University DMA in Music Education, and just finished a course in Music Education Research taught by Dr. Hebert. I have been in a full-time university teaching job for 13 years. I chose this predominantly online program because of the convenience factor, and because if I keep my day job my employer bears most of the expense.

At first I was a bit skeptical about online education, particularly in music. But having taken traditional doctoral-level seated courses as well, I must say that the content of online courses (if designed and taught well) is richer and deeper and more expansive than it generally might be in the traditional classroom. I have two friends who are in other (seated) PhD Music Ed programs right now, and we've been regularly comparing notes with each other. Both of them comment that it seems that I am likely learning more online than they are in face-to-face interaction with colleagues and professors.

I don't know this for sure, but think it's likely that BU has gone the extra mile to make sure that the content they deliver goes above and beyond the norm for seated coursework. My evidence is anecdotal, to be sure, and I clearly have a vested interest in the success and acceptance of online curricula. Regardless, however, I feel it is important to try and break down the stereotypes and resistance to online higher education that will likely linger for quite a while.

Vince said...

This is great! thanks for the information that you give about the online music education.

Thanks again