Participation & Professionalism: The success of this class (and your success IN this class) depend on your active participation. This will include contributions to class discussions and a presentation (outlined below). In addition, there will be opportunities for you to participate in an ongoing “virtual” class discussion online.

Participation includes reading assigned material prior to class, asking questions, taking notes, and contributing to discussions.  Please arrive on time: two “lates” will count as an absence.  Leaving class during the break or during a screening will count as an absence.  Students who miss more than 3 classes will be strongly encouraged to withdraw.  Because the syllabus may be modified, you are responsible for contacting the instructor should you miss a class.

turn off all cellular devices before class begins.  Texting in class will have a negative impact on your grade.  Assignments should be completed on time, and printed before class.

Please note: due to persistent misuse, laptop computers cannot be used in class without first obtaining permission from the instructor. Permission will be limited to those students with documented disabilities restricting their ability to take notes by hand.

Writing: This is a writing intensive course, and we will focus a great deal of attention of the writing process. Written assignments will include a range of informal blog posts and more polished papers.  The parameters for each assignment will be discussed in class.

Musical Analysis Assignment: An in-depth analysis of one song that you deem to be significant to the history of popular music. This project will be posted on your blog, and can be revised based on instructor and peer feedback. Details to be discussed in class

Research Project: Most of your work this semester will revolve around an in-depth research project, culminating in an 8-10 page paper. We will approach this project in stages, with a proposal, outline, research exercise, and opportunities for draft revision and peer editing.

Blog-Journals: Throughout the semester, you will be asked to post informal “journal” responses to the readings. Rather than a formal paper, I am interested in your thoughts about the assigned texts: what did you find engaging? What didn’t you understand? How do the author’s ideas relate to your own understanding of the history of popular music? Detailed guidelines for blog participation will be covered in class, posted online, and outlined in a handout.

You will need to post 6 substantial blog-entries in total throughout the semester, 3 during the first half and 3 during the second (IN ADDITION TO your Musical Analysis project). You will also have to post 12 comments (half before and half after the midpoint of the semester). While I am looking at the content rather than the writing style, posts with excessive grammatical errors will not receive full credit.  You can earn extra credit points by writing up to two extra journal-posts.

The point of the blog-journals is to generate a genuine discussion about popular music beyond the classroom.  Posts that are put up at the very last minute, or weeks after a topic has been discussed in class, won’t generate any comments or discussion, and will not receive full credit. Please aim to submit posts by Saturday at 9am to give the class (and the professor!) time to read and respond to your thoughts before class.  If late posting becomes a chronic problem, we may have to institute a formal deadline.

Presentation: Students will be responsible for a presentation related to an aspect of the popular music industry. This does not need to be a formal or lengthy presentation, but should instead be a means of integrating your interests and perspectives with the course material.  During the relevant class, you will discuss your topic and share your research. You should also have read ALL the assigned articles carefully, coming prepared to link the readings and questions we discuss in class with your own examples.  Details will be discussed in class.

Late policy: Be forewarned: my late policy on papers is very strict.  Papers are due at the beginning of class unless otherwise specified.  If a paper is late, it will be marked down one full letter grade (e.g. a B+ becomes a C+).  If a DRAFT of a paper is late, the grade for the final paper will also be downgraded a letter grade.  Papers more than two weeks late will not be accepted. That said, do NOT skip class if you have not completed an assignment—it is wiser to explain the situation to me than to miss a week of material.  I will not give incompletes except in cases of emergency.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is an EXTREMELY serious offense.  All work submitted must be the original work of the student whose name appears on it. ANY text or idea taken from an outside source MUST be carefully cited.  Err on the side of caution when preparing your written work: always give credit to all your sources.  This is a particularly large problem when students consult websites.  Taking text directly from a website without quoting and citing your source constitutes plagiarism.

Plagiarism and other acts of dishonesty will result in an automatic grade of zero for the assignment and notification of the department.  Cases may incur further academic penalties, including a failing grade for the course and disciplinary action.  There is absolutely no excuse for plagiarism and it will not be pardoned under ANY circumstances.  Paper 1 and the Research Project must be submitted via Turnitin.

Grading: (subject to revision)

  • Blog-Journals:      30%
  • Participation (in-class and online) and Professionalism:      10%
  • Musical Analysis assignment:      15%
  • Presentation:      10%
  • Research exercise, project proposal, & peer feedback:      5%
  • Music Research Project (8-10 pages):      30%
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