“Zoom-ing” Music History During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Paper Presentation
26 August 2020
16:30 - 17:30 hrs (GMT+7)

Dr. Ch’ng Xin Ying and Assistant Professor Dr. Jeremy Leong, Speakers

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For the past decade, the offering of quality online courses has been a burgeoning trend. Prestigious institutions such as MIT, Yale and Carnegie Mellon University now all offer online courses. One of the advantages of these courses is that they are accessible anywhere in the world to enthusiastic learners of diverse backgrounds. 


In Malaysia, foreign universities, such as Curtin University Malaysia, have entered an untapped market in online education by implementing cutting edge technology, such as the distributed learning (DL) platform. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated developments in the field of online learning and teaching in unimaginable ways. As lockdown became a global phenomenon, face-to-face teaching became undesirable for reasons of safety, and online education became the preferred mode.


Zoom is one of the most popular online teaching platforms available in tertiary education. According to the UK newspaper The Guardian, Zoom was downloaded 2.3 million times around the world on 23 March 2020. This sudden spike of usership speaks to the utility of this platform. At the same time, the spike precipitated deep concerns over online security and privacy issues. Overall, Zoom has proven to be a useful online tool in the teaching of both classical and popular music history courses at UCSI University Institute of Music.


In this paper, we will examine the utility and potential issues of using Zoom in music education. In what ways do controversial issues of privacy affect the teaching of music history online? What were the positive and negative aspects of teaching music history on Zoom? How do we measure the learning outcomes of students when using Zoom? How do we motivate students in learning music history through Zoom? These and related questions form the basis of our inquiry.