Overview: Why online participation?

The technology of now. Creating online content and participating in an online discussion forum (a blog) are easy ways for people on the Internet to share ideas, engage with communities of people with common interests, and do so from the comfort of any location—it’s the cliché of an interconnected global world in action. Computer literacy and fluency in online fora (“fora” is the plural of “forum”) are important skills to have, and practicing the skill of writing in this medium—as both a blog poster and as a forum commenter—is part of being a citizen of the modern world.

Best practices for learning. Because our class meets once weekly, it can be difficult to stay engaged or keep our course content at the front of your brain. In an ideal learning environment, you should revisit a topic every day in order to build the synapses and recall necessary to internalize and feel ownership of it. These weekly assignments, which you can complete at any time and in any place that you have internet access (at home, while commuting, at the park) require you to think about our materials at least once (but hopefully more!) outside of class. You can come back to these discussions and ideas as many times as you like and learn from each other’s ideas.

Low-stakes learning environment. No single online activity accounts for a significant portion of your final grade, although as a whole these assignments do constitute a meaningful proportion: 25% (instructor-led discussions are 12.5% and student-led peer critiques are 12.5%). This grading breakdown reflects how valuable and worthwhile the process of participating in these discussions is to the entire class experience, and at the same time it’s also a task in which you can easily earn full points and a single task poses no threat to your overall grade. Think of this portion of the course as an opportunity to engage in a lively conversation, learn from each other, extend or expand our in-class work, and practice your writing skills in an informal setting (with your peers and graded for participation).

Supporting your growth and development as a reader, critical thinker, and writer. Nothing improves your skills in an area more than intentional practice, and that’s what our online activities are designed to provide. In the instructor-led discussions, you’ll have the opportunity to see how your classmates react to different ideas, expanding the range of thought processes you’re familiar with. During the student-led peer critique sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to give and receive constructive feedback on your own writing. This will be invaluable as you refine your writing and prepare your Writing Portfolio.

Reference handouts, provided in class:

Creating a WordPress account

Following the first class meeting, you’ll receive invitations from WordPress.  Accept and create a WordPress account (if you don’t have one already). Remember your email/username and password for logging in.

Email me your username so that I know who you are online—do not hit “reply” to the invitation email (it’s a do-not-reply email and I won’t receive it)!

In the past, some students have found it helpful to download the WordPress app to their smartphones or tablets so they can participate in the blog without sitting at a computer.

How to comment on online discussions

Instructor-led online discussions are located at www.drjonesmusic.me (scroll down past the navigation header, and the first blog post you see will be the one assigned for the week).

Make sure you’re signed into WordPress using the username and password you created, and make sure you’ve emailed me your username—I cannot give you credit if you have not told me who you are online!

Read the blog post and any comments that have been made on it so far. You can leave a comment by typing in the comment box at the bottom of the page marked “Leave a Reply.” You can “reply” to other students’ comments by clicking “reply” next to their comment or using @ + username to specifically respond to another student, just as you would on other social media platforms.

Dates and topics

Sep 2-8: Our best practices
Sep 9-15: Defining the ethos of now: What makes 2019 “2019”?
Sep 16-22: Music and the brain
Sep 23-29: Music educations
Sep 30-Oct 6: Instruments and voice types
Oct 7-13: Peer critique #1 — Student blogging (see below)
Oct 14-20: Music and gender
Oct 21-27: Music and disability
Oct 28-Nov 3: Musicking
Nov 4-10: Peer critique #2 — Student blogging (see below)
Nov 11-17: Sound migration
Nov 18-24: Music and economics
Nov 25-Dec 1: Voyager Spacecraft 2019
Dec 2-8: Music and violence

Student blogging

Each student will publish at least two pieces of writing online, and each student has the option of adding blog posts each week for extra credit in response to a set of readings. We’ll go over the process of creating your own blog posts in class on T Sep 24 / Th Oct 3, but instructions are available here:

Section websites:

Your pieces for peer critique are due online by 11:59pm on Saturday Oct 5 and Saturday No 2. During the following week, you will provide constructive feedback on your classmates’ writing, and they will provide it for yours.

Extra credit, weekly (optional)

Instructions are available here.