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Kiri Miller - Blogs, wiki and iTunes in Musical Youth Cultures

Kiri Miller

Manning Assistant Professor of Music
MUSC 0062
Musical Youth Cultures
Spring 2009

Objectives:  To critically engage with a wide variety of popular music genres and cultures, encouraging students to examine their own musical production and consumption practices.
Outcomes:  In the evaluations 97% of students indicated that this course encouraged independent and original thinking. In their written evaluations, many students praised the wiki, blogs, and other multimedia aspects of the class. For instance: “What I liked best about the course was that it was not all taught by lecture and reading but it was taught through videos, blogs, sound clips, songs, and even in a way by the students of the class.” “I also love the blog component of the course, and the fact that we could all read each other’s writings and research developments.” 
Methods:  The course used a combination of individual student blogs, a course wiki, and iTunes U. The wiki served as a central site for tracking multimedia examples, student-submitted discussion questions, vocabulary terms, relevant events, and research resources. The students used their individual blogs to post critical reviews of assigned readings and to track their progress on semester-long research projects about a musical youth culture of their choice. The blogs were all linked from the wiki so that students could easily comment on each other’s work. The class also made use of YouTube and many other web resources on a daily basis (and kept track of links on the wiki so students could revisit these materials). Students used a wide range of recording devices for fieldwork related to their individual projects. They also had shared access to a collection of equipment from Media Services, and provided sound-editing software training and tech support as needed.
Recommendations:  Be aware that the functionality of Brown's wiki system could affect the course.  However, potential problems can be solved with enhanced tech support (such as an additional teaching assistant devoted to tech issues, and additional ITG resources devoted to wiki support).