Policies

If you take this course, you must read and agree to the following policies.

Course Work

Work in this course takes several forms: assignments, exercises, quizzes and a final project.

The assignments and exercises must be completed in M373. You can work in M373 any time there is not a class in session. (See the schedule. Unfortunately, this is not comprehensive; the Registrar may schedule one-off class meetings in M373 that do not show up on this schedule.) Assignments are creative projects oriented around a particular set of technical concerns. You make music while fulfilling requirements that help you learn the software. Assignments are graded. Exercises are more limited and less time-consuming than assignments; they are graded pass/fail.

Quizzes test your comprehension of the course web pages and interactive applications, as well as the things the instructor says in class. Topics include acoustics, the MIDI system, synthesis and sampling, digital audio theory, and various functions of the software we use. You take the quizzes online during class.

The final project will be a musical work that employs the skills learned in class. There are fewer technical requirements and constraints for this project than for the assignments, so this is your chance to branch out. Most people will want to use the equipment available in M373, but I permit those with access to other equipment to do some or all of their work on the project using it. The project is due at the beginning of the last week of classes. All projects will be played over the speakers during the remaining classes, accompanied by groovy video images.

There will be some time set aside during class for individual work, with help from the instructor. But do not assume that working only during class time will be sufficient. You must work outside of class time in order to do well.

Grading Policy

Course work handed in after the due date may be assessed a late penalty.

Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 15%
Assignment 4 15%
Final Project 15%
Quizzes 25%

The exercises are graded pass/fail. Each failing exercise will lower your final course grade by 2 points.

Note for N561 students: You have additional requirements.

Attendance Policy

Because much of the material in this class can only be mastered from hands-on experience and in-class observation, more than two unexcused absences will result in a lowered grade.

Absences will be considered excused only in the following cases:

  1. Illness, verified by a note from a Bloomington health care provider who is not a relative
  2. Family emergency
  3. Religious holiday
  4. School-sanctioned event, for which excuse letters are written
  5. Travel for a reasonable number of job interviews, cleared in advance with the instructor

In all these cases, please notify the instructor by email before the missed class begins, unless there is a good reason why that is not possible.

The same goes for being consistently late to class. Five late arrivals equals one unexcused absence. If you arrive after the instructor takes roll, you are late. In that case, it is your responsibility to see that the instructor has recorded your attendance by asking right after the class is over.

Leaving class early without having a very good reason and notifying the instructor in advance is equivalent to a late arrival.

Texting, checking email, using Facebook, or visiting web pages not relevant to the course material — doing these things during class may result in an unexcused absence.

Please make a habit of directing your attention away from the computer and toward the front of the room when the instructor is speaking.

Each unexcused absence after the second reduces your final grade by 1 point. For example, if you have 4 unexcused absences, and your final grade would otherwise be 91 (A-), then factoring in your unexcused absences would give you 89 (B+). If you have more than 6 unexcused absences, then each absence over 6 costs you 2 points.

There is no way to make up for unexcused absences. I do not offer extra credit assignments, nor do I let people take quizzes over.

Backing Up

Computer files are fragile things, and working successfully with them means backing up frequently to several types of media: a USB drive or a cloud service like IU Box or Dropbox. You should have multiple versions of every file you’re working on. You should have at least two recent copies of anything irreplaceable. Don’t keep them all on a single flash drive, which might break or get lost. Doing this is a critical part of making music (or doing anything else) with computers.

Keeping this in mind, catastrophic loss of files is not an acceptable excuse for a late project!

Readings and Quizzes

I assign web page readings, tutorial videos, and interactive applications. You must do these activities before the class in which they are due. There will be a brief online quiz during the class to test your comprehension of the material. Makeup quizzes are given only in the case of excused absences.

Required Class Materials

You will need a USB2 flash drive to back up your work. It plugs directly into one of the USB ports on the rear right-hand side of the iMac. 2 GB is plenty of space for this class.

Headphones are required for work in M373. Headphones are provided at most workstations, but these are not always in the best shape. I urge you to get your own set and bring it with you to class. You can buy headphones at Best Buy or a similar store; try them on and listen to them before buying. You want something comfortable. For the best isolation from noise in the room — like the guy next to you slamming on the keyboard — get a “closed circumaural” design, rather than an “open” design. Your headphones must have a 1/4" plug (or 1/8"-to-1/4" adapter). For example, the Sony MDR 7506 is a decent-sounding, rugged, and portable headphone. Every recording studio has these for tracking.

If you forget your headphones, and the ones at your station are missing or broken, you can check out a set with your student ID at the Music Library Circulation Desk (on the first floor).

Academic Misconduct

As in all your other courses, you will be held to Indiana University standards covering academic misconduct, as outlined on this page.

Class Preparation and Participation

Students in this course have a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are music majors, some are music minors, and still others have little experience with music or computers. Whatever your background, I expect consistent progress and effort throughout the semester. This means you should be prepared to answer questions about the reading assignments, participate in class discussions, and not simply fulfill the technical requirements of the projects, but also challenge yourself musically and creatively.

For technical questions, or to set up individual help, please email the instructor. It is your repsonsibility to ask for this help in a timely fashion (i.e., before assignments are due).

Copyright ©2013 John Gibson