A chapter I wrote with Catherine Zhao and Danny Liu drawing upon data from my MOOC, The Place of Music in 21st Century Education, for the Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning, edited by Janice L. Waldron, Stephanie Horsley, and Kari K. Veblen.
Despite several decades of ground-breaking achievements in music education research and practice, the discipline’s status continues to stagnate, especially among our children and our governments. To address this stagnation, in 2016 the University of Sydney launched an internationally available Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled “The Place of Music in 21st-Century Education.” The intent of offering this course was to provoke critical thinking among music educators in order to break the cultural cycle that centers curricular music education around teachers’ (most likely Western art music) experience, and ask them to grapple with social and technological changes in education more broadly. To address concerns with authenticity in learning and the MOOC model, the MOOC integrated social media use into every main assessment. Participants—over 1,600 educators, students, artists, and the general public—were asked to publicly blog their responses to provocations on these topics and then to read each other’s posts and respond. In this study, we analyze funneled (Clow, 2013) data from the blogs and MOOC interactions. We find evidence for critical thinking and worldview transformation from a number of participants, and conclude that the experience of engaging publicly via social media engendered a vulnerability that may have made those new to the field and experienced professionals alike more open to change. The blogging-feedback loop prompted the formation of a social structure reminiscent of a community of practice or affinity space.