2019-05-25 Spring Updates

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May 25, 2019

Hope everyone is having a nice Memorial Day weekend. Sorry this is kind of long. A lot has been happening. Please have a look.

Canvas Surveys vs. Assessments

I've been experimenting with Canvas Graded Surveys for some assignments this quarter. Surveys are cool because students can instantly confirm receiving full points and are "innocent until proven guilty." When I review the work I can grade them down or ask students to resubmit. BUT it turns out Canvas Surveys are time consuming and clumsy to grade and provide comments. So, I'm reverting back to standard Quizzes and Assessments in Canvas. If you have any ungraded assignments, don't worry I will backfill those and get caught up ASAP.

Student Audio Showcase

We are developing a media player that can be used to showcase student audio and video work in a shared playlist. I'm really enjoying the convenience of listening to student assignments in heavy rotation. Password protected in MusicTechWiki, only registered students can access ALL of the playlists to check out the community. It's like a private SoundCloud or Spotify channel.

Students will start seeing more assignments using the Student Audio Showcase instead of uploading files into Canvas. If you notice any issues, please send a comment to

Music Tech Closed Facebook Group

Our Closed FB Group is evolving into a cool community. It's better than a Canvas Discussion Forum because:

  1. All students in ALL classes can communicate with each other.
  2. The FB group will remain open after the Canvas classes close.
    • And some of our (successful and helpful) alumni are in this FB Group.
  3. We have 99 members. Please ask to join and kick us up to 100!

Student Reference Mixes - Spring 2019

  • This started off with DropBox and has evolved into a system where students can directly upload files to the wiki playlist.
  • MOST students have missed the boat on the purpose of reference mixes, but we are making progress.
  • Most students have not watched this video: Reference Mixes - Videos
  • The word "reference" means 'comparing' (referencing) to YOUR work. Your MIX.
  • The MAIN purpose of reference mixes is not to be moved emotionally by the melodies or lyrics.
    • That would be a collection of work for other levels and influences of inspiration. That's GREAT. But a reference mix is more of a technical tool.
  • The MAIN purpose of a reference mix to help our ears determine how much bass, mids and high end should be in our mix.
    • Low Frequencies 50Hz - 150 Hz. Bass is the most difficult to get right.
    • Hi Frequencies 8kHz - 12kHz. How bright is your mix?
    • Mid Frequencies 1kHz - 4Khz.
    • Drums vs. Bass vs. Vocals.
  • The more times you listen to your reference mixes, on your speakers and many other speakers, the more valuable your reference mixes become.
  • Note: Student Reference Mixes - Spring 2019 is the first wiki page students can edit. This is very exciting and the creative possibilities to collaborate are HUGE. For example, we can all add the credits for our reference mixes to learn about the producers and mix engineers. But, please be careful. Since everyone has full editing rights, it's possible to make a mistake and destroy an entire page. The system keeps a history of the edits, so we can restore. But, we still want to be mindful when making an edit.

Google Docs

The Google Office Productivity Suite just keeps getting better and better. It's a great compliment to Canvas. We are using Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets in our classes more and more. Google Docs are awesome for real time collaboration and all college students should learn how to use Google Spreadsheets.

MediaWiki - Student Edits

As a CMS, Content Management System, MediaWiki eats Google Docs, and Canvas, for lunch. MusicTechWiki is evolving into a very powerful database of knowledge and assets. And it is really exciting to open up sections for students to edit. It requires learning some basic wiki markup (syntax) and this is very easy. Here are a couple resources:

Bruce Tambling