Assignments

The Sound Blog is a project where we collect, create, and curate examples of sounds that exemplify, augment, or otherwise enhance our understanding of the course texts. Students will make six original posts to the Sound Blog this semester; in addition we will add relevant listening examples that correspond with the course texts and discussions as appropriate. In addition to posting, we will also engage in a conversation with each other about the material on the Sound Blog by commenting on each others posts.

Why a blog? There are two answers to this question. The first involves the importance of writing, even in a class that focuses on audition and sounding as aspects of knowledge and knowledge-production. Thus while we call into question the dominance of the visual in the production of knowledge in university settings, we also acknowledge that paying attention to the acoustic elements of knowledge does not mean that we ignore or reject visual modes. The blog allows us to imagine, create, and collect a variety of sounds and then to interpret, question, and reflect on those sounds.

In addition, the ability to easily respond to a blog post via commenting, and thus provoke a discussion, makes explicit the centrality of conversation—discussion, debate, response, reaction—to the modes of writing that constitute knowledge-production in university settings. Whether we are working on literary, artistic, scientific, or applied forms of research we do not work in isolation but are in fact in conversation, with the texts, artifacts, experiments, or practices that are the subject of research as well as with others—other writers, other scientists, other artists.

The blog also allows us to open up this conversation to a wider audience. If we draw attention from the outside world, it will help us remember that college is not simply preparation for “the real world” but that it is in fact a vital part of the “real” world.

Requirements:

Students will be assigned SIX required blog posts. Be sure to assign these posts to the “Assignments” category. We will also “tag” our posts with the following information: author names (the name of all authors whose texts you draw on in the post), contexts (i.e. the location where a sound was recorded or a time period in which the sound was heard), and concepts (key words or terms that you explore via your post). Try to add at least three tags to each of your posts. You should also be sure that your tags are consistent with those used by your colleagues (in other words, names are spelled correctly, contexts are indicated consistently, concepts are uniformly described).

You should comment on at least THREE posts made by other students for each of the six assigned posts. Your blog comments should directly engage with the content of your colleagues’ posts. These can be short and informal, but shouldn’t be flippant. What points do you find compelling? What further questions does the post raise for you? If someone comments on your post you should be sure to read it, and if appropriate respond. By the end of the semester you should have made a total of EIGHTEEN comments on other people’s posts. You are, of course, allowed to go beyond the requirement and make additional comments on blog posts as necessary and appropriate.

You are encouraged to participate in the blog in other ways. If you find a news article, a sound file, a video, or anything that you think is relevant to our class and that you want to share with us feel free to post it to the blog. We will assign such posts to the “Listening” category. You may also feel free to comment on these “Listening” posts.

Grading

Comments on blogs will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

Blog entries will be graded according to the following rubric:*

A Exceptional. The blog post is focused and coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. The post demonstrates awareness of its own limitations or implications, and it considers multiple perspectives when appropriate. The post reflects in-depth engagement with the topic and answers the questions raised in the assignment prompt completely and appropriately. Post is well written: it uses an appropriate level of specificity, is clearly structured and focused, and is almost entirely free of spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.
B Satisfactory. The blog post is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples or other evidence. Fewer connections are made between ideas, and though new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. The post reflects moderate engagement with the topic and only partially or tangentially answers the prompt. The post uses words accurately and effectively, but may sometimes be too general. Sentences are generally clear, well-structured, and focused, though some may be awkward and ineffective. The post may contain a few errors but they don’t impede understanding.
C Underdeveloped. The blog post is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. The post reflects passing engagement with the topic and a minimal attempt to answer the prompt. Author uses relatively vague and general words and sentences may be wordy, unfocused, repetitive, or confusing. The post contains several mechanical errors which are confusing but don’ t impede understanding.
D Limited. The blog post is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of student engagement with the topic and no attempt to answer the questions raised by the assignment prompt. The post may be too vague and abstract, or too personal and specific. It contains several awkward or ungrammatical sentences and sentence structure is simple or monotonous. The post contains either many mechanical errors or a few important errors that block the reader’ s understanding and ability to see connections between thoughts
F No Credit. The blog post is missing or consists of one or two disconnected sentences.

* Adapted from a rubric developed by Mark Sample.