MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) have garnered great attention in the media over the past few years as the great democratiser of higher education. Since Stanford President John Hennessy described the âgiving awayâ of whole degree units of study through online video as a coming educational âtsunamiâ, Sydney University has very carefully considered whether it was a wave worthy of getting on board, or another hype cycle (sic) that would pass. Two years later, and it's remarkable that the very first MOOC to be released (yes, free) by the University has been developed from the Conservatorium's âTechnology in Music Educationâ unit, part of the BMus (Music Education) degree, rewritten recently by relatively new lecturer Humberstone which seeks to provoke discussion on the place of music in 21st century education. In fact, that's what it's called. In this talk, Humberstone will explain how the 5 module course is structured, but more importantly, throw some of its provocations ("should we use or avoid technology?â; âdo 95% of students drop music classes in year 9 because it's completely irrelevant to their own musical lives?â; âknowing that music education is so good for children, how do we advocate for it best?ââ¦) out to debate for the first time. Michael Webb PhD, Chair of Music Education, will chair a robust debate following Humberstone's talk.
As a composer, technologist and teacher, James Humberstone believes that music education can lead all education through the challenges of the 21st Century. After all, there is no more experiential, creative, child-centred subject than music — or so he claims. A trained âclassical' composer, James migrated to Sydney, Australia in 1997 and has also worked in the fields of music software, education (with children and adults of all ages), and as a musicologist. Today he is a lecturer in music education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and remains an active composer. His recent musical output included a permanent electro-acoustic installation at the Australian National Maritime Museum on board a retired destroyer and a submarine. In 2016 James is collaborating on a Hip Hop album, and composing a song cycle. He has also just released the University of Sydney's first (free) MOOC, âMusic and 21st Century Educationâ at www.coursera.org.