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. (To see when you can work, view the classroom 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 given a letter grade. 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.

Assignments generally list some technical and musical requirements. How well you satisfy these requirements forms the bulk of your grade. In addition, there is a subjective component of your grade, based on my judgement of the musical quality of your submission.

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 — and not an IU Health Center note that says “this person was not evaluated by a health care provider”
  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 or auditions, 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.

During class, texting, checking email, using social media, or visiting web pages not relevant to the course material 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 make up a quiz due to an unexcused absence. If you have an excused absence, you may arrange for a make-up quiz, to take place as soon as possible after you return to school.

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

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 1/8" plug (or 1/4"-to-1/8" adapter). For example, the Sony MDR 7506 is a decent-sounding, rugged, and portable headphone. Just about 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).

Class Preparation and Participation

Students in this course have a wide variety of backgrounds: some are music majors, some are music minors, some have been making music for a long time, while others have little experience with music beyond listening to it. Whatever your background, I expect consistent progress and effort throughout the semester. This means you should not simply fulfill the minimum technical requirements of the projects, but also challenge yourself musically and creatively.

Please take full advantage of the open work time we often have during classes. If you’ve stumbled upon a technical or musical problem outside of class, take notes about it and be sure to speak with me during class.

Academic Misconduct

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

Disability Services

Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities (e.g., mental health, learning, chronic health, physical, hearing, vision, neurological, etc.) You must have established your eligibility for support services through the appropriate office that helps students with disabilities. Note that services are confidential, may take time to put into place, and are not retroactive. Please contact Disability Services for Students at disabilityservices.indiana.edu, or 812-855-7578, as soon as possible if you need accommodations. The office is located on the third floor, west tower, of the Wells Library, Room W302. Walk-ins are welcome 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. You can also locate a variety of campus resources for students and visitors that need assistance at www.iu.edu/~ada/index.shtml.

Bias Incidents

As your instructor, one of my responsibilities is to create a positive learning environment for all students. Bias incidents (events or comments that target an individual or group based on age, color, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or veteran status) are not appropriate in our classroom or on campus. What should you do if you witness or experience a bias incident? See it? Hear it? Report it by submitting a report online at biasincident.indiana.edu, or by calling the Dean of Students Office (812-855-8187).

Sexual Misconduct

As your instructor, one of my responsibilities is to create a positive learning environment for all students. Title IX (federal policy) and IU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibit sexual misconduct in any form, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and dating and domestic violence. If you have experienced sexual misconduct, or know someone who has, the University can help.

If you are seeking help and would like to speak to someone confidentially, you can make an appointment with:

The Sexual Assault Crisis Service (SACS) at 812-855-8900 (counseling services)
Confidential Victim Advocates (CVA) at 812-856-2469 (advocacy and advice services)
IU Health Center at 812-855-4011 (health and medical services)

It is also important that you know that Title IX and University policy require me to share any information about potential sexual misconduct brought to my attention with the campus Deputy Title IX Coordinator or IU’s Title IX Coordinator. In that event, those individuals will work to ensure that appropriate measures are taken and resources are made available. Protecting student privacy is of utmost concern, and information will only be shared with those who need to know, so that the University can respond and assist.

I encourage you to visit stopsexualviolence.iu.edu to learn more.

Copyright ©2018 John Gibson