Exploring the World through Music 

One of my favorite courses to teach is MUSI 150 – Survey of World Musics.  In this class, students explore global culture through the lens of music.  Because it is part of the Core Curriculum, the students who take this course are in pursuit of degrees from a variety of disciplines, and possess diverse musical tastes and experiences.   

During the early stages of the pandemic I decided that, in addition to the musics we examine from our text and the supplemental examples I provide,  I wanted students to explore global music of their choosing.  To this end, I created a “song share” assignment for this course.  The assignment itself is rather simple in nature – for each of the global musics we study, students find and share an additional recording from that tradition.  Even in its early stages, it was clear that there were pedagogical benefits to asking students to engage in this kind of work.  In order to successfully complete the assignments, students are challenged to apply digital literacy skills, critical thinking, deep listening, and written communication skills.  While these outcomes are developed and assessed throughout the semester in other contexts as well, the song share assignment presents students a unique opportunity to share songs that oftentimes have deep personal connections to their own ideas and tastes about music and requires them to contemplate their role as global citizens.

In the earliest versions of the song share assignments, I would simply compile and share a google document with links to all of the songs students had selected.  When I applied to be a SNC Practicing Digital Fellow in the Fall of 2021, my goal was to create a more interactive, open, and meaningful format for students to engage with the songs that were being shared.  With the help of Susan and her team, I was able to create a course domain that allowed students to effortlessly share their song examples.  

Feel free to explore our course domain by clicking below:

From the home screen, students can submit their assignments, view the grading rubric, and read about/listen to examples their classmates have shared by clicking the playlist for each chapter.  

As I checked in with students throughout the semester, I received a great deal of positive feedback on the song share assignments and the ease of utilizing our course domain.  A few students even commented in their SOOTS about how much they enjoyed the opportunity to study and share global music that was meaningful to them.

For future semesters, I am already looking forward to utilizing our course domain for the song share assignments.  I believe that I can build on the success of Fall 2021 and the  support I received as a practicing digital fellow to establish the song share as a sort of “signature assignment” in this course.  My next steps include embedding opportunities for students to engage more deeply with the examples their peers have shared through in-class discussion, and exploring the use of Spotify as an additional means of sharing student playlists.      

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