Summer courses here are in two sessions that are four weeks long each. The course number MUS 399 indicates that it is a "special studies" course on a specified topic. This course will fulfill an elective requirement for undergraduate music majors. Because I need to take an intense summer course in the second summer session, I am only available to teach in the first session.
The basic idea behind a flipped classroom is that students view "lecture" materials outside of class and work on "homework" materials in class with the aid of the instructor and their peers. After attending FlipCamp Music Theory last summer, I have been waiting for a good opportunity to try a flipped class. I found further inspiration after experiencing a flipped "module" in an education course I took last term: not only is this a good opportunity for me to try it as a teacher, but I can also give my students experience creating "flipped" content so they are prepared to use this technique in the future. (For more information on flipped classes in music, see the chapter on the topic in FlipCamp's followup eBook.)
Weeks 1-2: Instructor Flip
The first two weeks are designed to act as a prototype for the last two weeks. I will create screencasts that introduce lieder or review topics and concepts necessary for the following discussion. After viewing videos, students will complete a low-stakes, P/NP "Concept Followup" quiz so I have a chance to review their understanding before class. The following class meeting will be a "hands-on" discussion of lieder from Schubert's song cycles. These classes may include group or individual activities, discussions using Twitter, or other class activities. In addition to screencasts, students will also occasionally be asked to read scholarly articles on issues pertaining to Schubert's song cycles, including form, music and text relationships, and other topics. After writing a reading response, students will be invited to critique the reading selection and share their reflections and insights. Die schöne Mullerin will be covered in the first two weeks.
Weeks 3-4: Student Flip
The final two weeks will be the same basic template as the first two weeks with a twist: students will be creating the screencasts and leading the in-class discussion. With one song cycle under their belt, students can approach 1-2 lieder with their own creativity and unique insights. Everything learned in the first two weeks will need to be applied during the last two weeks. This twist also gives students experience creating screencasts and leading class discussions: tools they may use again in other classes or when they are teachers. A final written assignment asks students to reflect on "take-away" aspects of the course and how they will apply what they learned in their musical lives. Winterreise will be covered in the last two weeks.
One Thing at a Time
After teaching second-year aural skills with standards-based grading, I was tempted to implement that into the course in addition to the flipped class design. However, as I am still a young teacher, I was hesitant about adding too many new design elements at once. In the end, I decided that a flipped class was enough and to try each new design individually before trying to mix-and-match. I hope the course design will be enticing to students, provide them with an appropriate challenge, and broaden their analytical experience.
About a month after proposing the course, I received an announcement that due to financial reasons, only two proposed courses can be offered by the theory department. This course was not selected. I can still offer the course, but must prove that it will have a "healthy enrollment" in advance. My current plan is to create flyers around the music building that direct students to a future page on my website with more information on the course, the syllabus, and an introductory screencast. I hope to market the class to vocal majors as an in-depth look into important vocal repertoire, theory majors for hands-on analytic experience, and education majors for a hands-on experience in a flipped class. Also on the site will be a form to "pre-register" to reserve a seat in the course so I can show a healthy enrollment to the dean.
Do you have a suggestion for the syllabus? An idea for creating student interest? I would love to hear your comments below!