Case study: Teaching music across multiple campuses using blended learning

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Arts
MUSC335 Music composition
Multi-mode
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Creative Arts, 3rd year
Professor Tim McKenry
school leavers, ½ doing a teaching qualification, ½ preparing for creative industries.
20

In this case study Professor Tim McKenry shares how he has incorporated blended learning in teaching contemporary compositional techniques across multiple campuses.

Highlights:

  • Creating efficiencies using pre-recorded screen capture
  • Regular peer-teacher formative feedback using blended approaches
  • Professional folio development

Hear about Professor Tim McKenry’s experience.

ACU Case study: Teaching music across multiple campuses using blended learning (MUSC335)
Many thanks to the Faculty of Law and Business for the use of their Pop-up Studio equipment to record this interview.

Length: 8 mins.

Unit design

Folio

This unit is a capstone unit for the music major, it is built around the production of a professional composition folio.

Formative feedback

Throughout the unit students build their knowledge and skills in the use of various tools and techniques to compose music. Students submit drafts to LEO and receive regular formative feedback either face-to-face or via annotated scores.

Structure

Format

Time

Type

Asynchronous online video and audio

~1 hour per week

The video lectures were designed to be short (10-15 mins) and having no more than four per week. Where they are additional they were put under a ‘bonus’ lecture section.

Synchronous face to face workshop

2 hours weekly

These workshops are run separately at each campus. They involve analysis, listening, composition, performance and discussion.

Assessment

Assessment task

Length

Weighting (%)

Description

4 short formative exercises in analysis and composition

1-3 page worksheet

40% (10% each)

The creation of small compositions or studio exercises.

Each formative assignment translates to approximately 3 to 4 hours’ work.

All assignments are submitted on LEO as a PDF file.

3 developed compositions

(approximately 2 minutes each)

60% (20% each)

A professional standard of music presentation is expected. Ideally these compositions are typeset using Sibelius, Finale or equivalent music notation program.  Assignment to be submitted as a notated score or sound file as appropriate.

Visual from the unit

Here is an example page from the unit, showing module outcomes, and an embedded 'mini lecture'.

Technology

This is a list of some of the major tools used in this unit.

Tool

Rationale

Resources

Kaltura for uploading video and audio

ScreenFlow for MAC

Tim used a screen capture program to produce videos that he then uploaded to ACU’s Kaltura streaming server. This allowed him to give the students an experience of him discussing, demonstrating, composing music, before attending face-to-face sessions.

Prerecording these lectures allowed Tim to capture what he was doing on his computer, without having to install the additional music software on multiple platforms.

See the eLearning 101 webinar, Embedding Kaltura and YouTube videos in your units

See LEO Kaltura guide

Although Tim uses ScreenFlow for MAC there are tools available for use internally that will allow you to do screen captures. Including Adobe Presenter and Kaltura.

Music composition and editing softwareStudents needed to develop competence in the use and application of music software.ProTools
Logic Pro X
Sibelius
Finale
Garage Band
Audacity
Music studio appPrevious to creating this unit, Dr Tim McKenry won a Learning and Teaching Grant to lead a team to create a multi-platform app designed to develop competencies around the use of industry-standard music and audio technology for undergraduate students. It sits apart from a unit of study, can be downloaded onto a mobile and is embedded in all relevant units.Here is a web-based version, see ACU Music Studio

Support

These are examples of the kinds of support the academic staff building this unit drew on.

  • Tim sought support from a media-saavy faculty colleague for advice on using Kaltura. This colleague showed him how to effectively use the tool and troubleshoot any problems.

Lessons learned

  • Planning month in advance
    • How you will engage with students
    • Pedagogical approaches
    • Technologies you’ll need to learn
  • Scheduling relevant colleagues for pre-planning before workshops

Student feedback

  • “I really liked how we had Formative Assessments as well as other Major Assessments. I honestly believed that after every single one I was getting slowly better and understanding more. Then if it was like other units were they only have 2 assessments.”
  • “We had weekly assignments which helped with memory. It exercised our understanding for the subject and weekly lectures."
  • “Each concept set out in an explanation, with an example and instructions on how to use concept.”

Next time

Tim would like to focus on the following for future iterations of the unit:

  • Continuing applying the School of Arts ‘Mixed mode strategy’, that may involve combining smaller student cohorts to create national programs.

Further reading

Portfolios

For more information about using portfolios in your teaching, explore:

References

JISC 2008, Effective practice with e-Portfolios, viewed 5 August 2016 <http://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20140615090512/http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/effectivepracticeeportfolios.pdf>.