[Smt-talk] [Smt-announce] CFP: Engaging Students, a crowdsourced ebook on music pedagogy

Kris Shaffer kris.shaffer at gmail.com
Tue Jul 2 08:51:50 PDT 2013

Dear Members of the Old Guard,
I appreciate the critical thoughts that Dave puts forward in regards to the Engaging Students ebook project (though, it seems, not exclusively in regards that project). However, as far as our project is concerned, there is little that is new besides the technology. This project seeks to leverage new technological possibilities to promote the free exchange of ideas. We also seek submissions that, in particular, center on undoing some of the negative aspects of the factory model of education, in favor of an older, more lab-, tutorial-, or apprenticeship-like approach. As for the review process, we are simply making use of tools like email, file sharing, and short essays to expedite the review process, providing something a little more like pre-publication department colloquia to those who do not have such a luxury. Versions of this model has been used effectively by multiple scholarly publications of late, two of which were mentioned in the original call for submissions. We are attempting to think critically about both the old and the new, in order to find the combinations of tools, techniques, materials, and publication models that best suit our various pedagogical and professional settings. These, I believe, are quite old ideas (and, where not current, I hope will be the "next new thing").
With that in mind, let this whippersnapper offer a few more specific responses to Dave’s email.
First, this project in no way subverts well considered thought processes. In fact, we hope that this project will attract a large number of submissions from those in teach-heavy positions that have many years of experience and many kernels of wisdom to share. I can speak from my experience of the last two years that a heavy teaching load in a position where only teaching and service count toward promotion can make it difficult to put out substantial research papers on pedagogical topics. Maintaining a blog is also a significant undertaking. However, writing 1500 words during July for a project with a wide distribution potential should be both feasible and, we hope, attractive. Many of those who have been working for years “in the trenches” in teaching colleges have myriad well considered, time-tested ideas to share with the rest of us. We hope that they will be attracted to this model of publishing.
Second, let me point out that for an idea to be time-tested, it needs to be put to the test. The traditional model of publication is one way to vet ideas. However, we believe that such vetting processes can also be done collaborative and in the open. In fact, we have seen that work in our own careers, as those of us who work in relative isolation as theorists and instructors of theory have shared ideas via blogs, social media, unconferences, and even SMT-talk. The feedback received both from critics and from others who have been following similar lines of inquiry have helped us to better our approaches. In this project, we will only publish essays that the reviewers find to have merit. In some cases, that merit will be long experience and successful vetting. In other cases, that merit will be theoretical or hypothetical, and we will offer the idea to the community for further critique and exploration. Those ideas that prove their merit will certainly last longer in public memory than a tweet. Those that put forward a viable hypothesis but do not ultimately prove meritorious may fade from memory, but we will be the better for having considered it, tested it, and found it wanting.
Lastly, there may be some confusion as to what the inverted class is (which, I should make clear, is not by any means the sole topic of Engaging Students). It is, in many ways, the antithesis of the online course. Using the inverted-class model for several semesters now has given me a much greater connection with my students, and a deeper engagement with the music from both me and my students. We posted a few introductory resources on the inverted class on the FlipCamp Music Theory website (including collaborative notes from the unconference in the form of public Google docs) that may be worth considering, and I have written a number of blog posts about it as well. However, like most things, seeing it in action is the best way to learn what the inverted class is all about. I highly encourage anyone who is curious about the inverted-class model to observe it in action, if possible. I, for one, would be glad to have visitors, and I know many others would as well. If no one in your department is “flipping” their class, there is a good chance that someone in your university is using some form of the model. (The time-tested, “peer instruction” model, which has years of research behind it, is quite popular in math and science courses.)
Thank you for your consideration and your desire to maintain high standards in our discipline and the way we seek to pass it on to the next generation of musicians. I believe we all share that desire.
In earnest (but with tongue firmly in cheek),
Kris Shaffer, on behalf of the whippersnappers

Kris Shaffer, Ph.D.
Instructor of Music Theory
University of Colorado–Boulder
Twitter: @krisshaffer

On Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 8:03 AM, Dave Headlam <dheadlam at esm.rochester.edu="mailto:dheadlam at esm.rochester.edu">> wrote:

    Dear next new thing-ers:

      This all sounds cool -- but, in an obligatory old-guard reply --
      what's the rush?  Do we want to create a music theory-based TED
      world of sexy but not-road-tested (and in the case of most TED
      lectures, hopelessly, romantically, pie-in-the-sky) solutions that
      last as long as a Tweet?  Tonal Theory in ten Tweets?  Check out
      for cautions ("meet the new boss . . . "), and also check into
      Dilbert's attempts at working from home for more cautions on
      flipping classes -- and that's before online Netflix!! 
      (http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Working%20From%20Home).  I'm an
      ipad-toting technology geek, but there's something to be said for
      a well-considered thought process.  And don't forget to check with
      your Provost on promotion requirements, which may not include
      "change the world by Tuesday."

      Otherwise, godspeed!

      Dave Headlam

      On 7/1/13 3:54 PM, Kris Shaffer wrote:

      Dear Colleagues,

      A new project has grown out of FlipCamp Music Theory, the
        unconference on the inverted music theory class that took place
        in Charleston last month. We are excited to solicit short essays (approx. 1500 words) on the subject
          of student-centered learning for a crowdsourced ebook,
        Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy. Submissions
        are due July 15, 2013, and we hope to publish the
        complete volume online by August, in time for these essays to
        assist readers in their planning for fall courses. Engaging
          Students will serve as an open-access, web-based resource
        for those teaching college-level classes in music.


        ​We envision a new format for scholarly
          communication based upon collaborative and swift peer review.
          We take our inspiration from hack-a-thons, in which creative
          solutions to a problem emerge from working intensely together
          in a collaborative environment for a limited time, as well as
          the crowdsourced ebook, Hacking the Academy, and the
          open-access journal, Hybrid Pedagogy. You will receive
          feedback on your manuscript within a week of the submission
          deadline. The revision process will consist of efficient
          online interactions between you and the editorial group.


        We are looking to combine essays of both a
          philosophical and practical nature on a wide range of topics
          relevant to the teaching of music at the university level. 



        ​For more information on the project and
          instructions on how to submit, please visit the complete call
          for submissions on the FlipCamp Music Theory website: http://flipcampmt.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/call-for-submissions-engaging-students-essays-in-music-pedagogy/.


          ​Thank you,


          the editorial committee:

          Sean Atkinson, University of Texas–Arlington

          Carla Colletti, Webster University

          Philip Duker, University of Delaware

          Gretchen Foley, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

          Anna Gawboy, Ohio State University

          Stephen Gosden, University of North Florida

          Bryn Hughes, University of Miami, coordinator

          Enoch Jacobus, independent scholar, Berea,

          Brian Moseley, Furman University

          Meghan Naxer, University of Oregon

          Deborah Rifkin, Ithaca College

          Kris Shaffer, University of Colorado–Boulder,



      Kris Shaffer, Ph.D.

        Instructor of Music Theory

        University of Colorado–Boulder


        Twitter: @krisshaffer


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Dave Headlam
Professor of Music Theory
Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs St.
Rochester, NY 14604
david.headlam at rochester.edu
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