Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Class Expectations

For the Students of K. Christian McGuire
(MUS-130, MUS-160, MUP-116, MUP-316)
Class Approach:  Class sessions consist primarily of discussion over the materials students have studied outside of class (readings, audio examples, videos, interactive online exercises etc.).  The Instructor will freely call upon students and/or groups to answer questions and spur on dialog.  

Student Expectations: Come to class having studied the materials.  As with all college courses, students should expect to spend on average a minimum of 2-3 hours prep work outside of class sessions for every 1 hour in class. Approximately 60-75% of that time will be devoted to studying the listening examples.   

Submit notes taken over each chapter to the corresponding assignment module on the Moodle Site.  The easiest strategy is to begin by outlining each chapter on your own and make notes on the bold terms in the text.

LISTENING: One of the best things to help you learn the music is to play it constantly.  For the assigned works, follow along with the timing vignettes in the text and replay each short section numerous times. THEN sing along with the various parts making notes of the salient features listed in the text.  Actively sing the excerpt at least 5 times until its unique features are internalized and committed to memory.  This does you more good than passive listening.  I have created a number of mix links on the Moodle and YouTube websites plus you can discover new works on your own; Create your own random mixes by putting course materials in with your own favorite tunes.

Studying the readings does NOT mean “read it once,” nor does it entail simply highlighting or underlining sections.  Make the effort to write / type out the important concepts and commit them to memory.  A typical college strategy is that for each chapter, read the concluding section first then go back and read the text three (3) times, taking notes on the third time through (In case you are wondering, the real world requires even more effort and no sympathy for excuses.)
Do not merely copy definitions verbatim.  Work for understanding by putting the concepts into your own words.  If after the 3rd time reading through the text you are still having difficulty, Make a list of the top 3 (or more) difficult things and post them on the Moodle “Student Announcement” forum for class discussion.  I have provided many extra links to help clarify materials.

MEMORIZE as much as possible.  Memorization is the key to innovation and entrepreneurship.  The more you memorize the less time you waste looking up information.   It becomes easier to contextualize and apply knowledge as well as discover relationships and differences between all sources.  It will make your future observations more meaningful and essays easier to  focus, conceive and write.  You will also discover that the more you memorize the easier memorizing new things become.

All assessments (exams, quizzes, daily assignments) are traditional in that they require the student to articulate in writing (complete sentences, paragraphs, essay) the concepts learned. You will never be graded by Limited (aka Multiple) Choice or True/False questions as they are bogus means of assessing understanding.  In case you are wondering what might be on any given test or exam, everything I assign is fair game, though it is typically fairly obvious through class discussions what the majority of the questions will be.

When in doubt, Do More than expected. That is, Be active and take control of your education! Do not take a passive role; Do not give up; and Do not wait to be told what to do.  You are not learning for the sake of school itself but for your own education.  A Liberal Arts degree entails that you know how to learn on your own, critically evaluate sources and Apply knowledge.  There is no such thing as a “blow-off” course as every course your take is intended to build these transferable skills.


Finally, Instructors are for your brain what weight-lifting coaches are for muscles: We can show you proper technique but you won’t build muscle unless you lift the weight yourself.

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