The University of Melbourne
SempreMetTmohe2022Paper_FitzgeraldSpreadboroughGlasser.mp4 (678.35 MB)

Exploring the ecosystem of online tools and pedagogies in the performing arts.

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posted on 2022-03-30, 02:00 authored by Emily FitzgeraldEmily Fitzgerald, Kristal Spreadborough, SOLANGE GLASSERSOLANGE GLASSER
This paper was presented by Emily Fitzgerald, Kristal Spreadborough, and Solange Glasser at the
SEMPRE MET and TMOHE joint conference 2022, 7 & 8 April 2022 (UTC), exclusively online.

Conference details are available here:

Please contact the authors for more details. The Abstract submitted to this conference is below.


Title: Exploring the ecosystem of online tools and pedagogies in the performing arts.

Introduction: This project examines the ecosystem of online tools and digital pedagogies at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music (FFAM) at the University of Melbourne, Australia. The faculty employs a learning-management-system (LMS) called ‘Canvas’ for subject delivery to over 13,100 students university-wide. The digital ecosystem is examined through an exploration of the rich, but underutilised, Canvas shell data.

Background Information: The COVID-19 global pandemic has seen many pedagogical practices be recast to accommodate the abrupt shift to online teaching and learning that was experienced at the commencement of the health crisis. This shift has been no more starkly seen than in the performing and creative arts domains. Understanding the impact of these changes on student outcomes is crucial to ensure the delivery of sustainable, world-class services into the future (1).

Methodology: Our aim when analyzing the data was to identify trends in content delivery and interactions over time. Using tools including Network X and Gephi we undertook social network analysis to identify and explore patterns of engagement and interaction between students and instructors. This analysis interrogated whether students in performing arts subjects connected with the same peers throughout the duration of a subject, or if their connections changed.

Findings: Findings indicate that social network analysis is a promising method for interrogating student-to-teacher and peer-to-peer relationships. This preliminary data exploration lays the groundwork for additional analyses across a broader intersection of performing arts subjects.

Implications/Recommendations: This paper is among the first to extend current social network analysis applications in the study of teaching and learning which rarely draws data from performing arts subjects (2). Future research can extend this work by including data from additional performing arts subjects, and by examining how networks present in online performing arts subjects relate to network theory more generally.

Conclusion: Understanding how performing arts subjects are taught and engaged with in an online environment is an important step in understanding best practice in online delivery. This will be essential for building resilient teaching and learning practices in the future. Social network analysis is a useful tool for understanding learning and teaching data across disciplines, and the performing arts subjects are no exception. The use of Canvas data to provide insight into online pedagogies in the performing arts is a fruitful area of future research.

1 For an exploration and summary of some of the impact of COVID-19 on higher education in general, see: Butler-Henderson, K.,Crawford, J., Rudolph, J., Lalani, K., & Sabu, K.M. (2020). COVID-19 in Higher Education Literature Database (CHELD V1): An open accesssystematic literature review database with coding rules. Journal of Applied Learning and Teaching, 3(3), DOI:

2 Spreadborough, K., & Glasser, S. (2022). A literature review on the use of retrospective LMS data to investigate online Teaching and Learning practices. Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 4(1), 12–13.


Online tools, social network analysis, digital ecosystems, digital pedagogies, performing arts, Learning Management Systems, LMS, Canvas.