If you take this course, you must read and agree to the following policies.

Weekly Assignments

There will be a series of weekly assignments designed to familiarize you with the tools and techniques discussed in class. Depending on class size, some or all of your work will be played and discussed in class.

Before that class (usually on a Wednesday), you should submit your assignment in Canvas. Please be sure to include any necessary sound files, subpatches, externals, etc.. If you’re using sound files, edit them first to strip out sound you don’t plan on using.

I will give priority for in-class review of assignments to people who have submitted in Canvas prior to class. If there is more time, I will look at projects that you bring on a flash drive. We won’t spend time downloading from web sites, logging into other accounts on the classroom computer, etc.

These assignments are graded Pass/Fail. If your assignment is not ready by the class time when it is due, you fail. A failing assignment deducts 5 points from your final grade.

I will grade the assignments harshly. In other words, you will probably fail some of them. The good news is that you can fix the problems and resubmit the assignment until it is satisfactory.

The expectation is that you will go beyond the bare minimum and show some creative initiative when doing the assignments. Work done on assignments can easily be incorporated into the final project. You are highly encouraged to experiment, once the basic requirements have been fulfilled.

Since this is one of the last classes that most of you will take in this subject, it’s a good opportunity to develop your ability to work out technical problems on your own. I’m here to help you, of course, but please try to figure things out for yourself first.

In-class Presentations

This is a graduate seminar, so you are required to make an oral presentation to the class on one of the topics we study. These will take place normally on a Monday. Start the class with an overview of the topic and a clear explanation of the theory and technique. Supply specific examples of the technique — your own sound, with a software demonstration, and music by others.

You should create a slide presentation to help you get your points across. We have PowerPoint and Keynote on the studio computer, or you can use an online presentation tool, such as Prezi. Don’t put too many ideas on one slide. Use graphs, photos, etc. to illustrate your points. Try to avoid reading your slides while presenting, thus turning your audience into zombies.

Think of this as practice for teaching a class during a job interview. One of the hard things about teaching technical topics with a computer is juggling the software demands (e.g., switching between PowerPoint and Max) while talking sensibly. Might as well get used to it now, rather than later, when it matters more how you perform.

Most important presentation tip: play some relevant sound within the first few minutes of your talk. Nothing is worse than hearing someone drone on for 10+ minutes about something we’re supposed to hear, but without actually making any sound for us.

You are encouraged to go beyond what is found in the readings by looking up other sources of information in the library or online.

Prepare around 30 minutes of material, leaving time for questions. The non-presenting students are expected to have done the reading prior to the class in which the topic is covered.

You should be prepared to suffer obnoxious interruptions from me, asking you questions about the material.

IMPORTANT: At least a week before your presentation, you should arrange to meet with me to discuss ideas for your approach. Do the reading before meeting with me. Don’t leave this until it’s too late.

Final Project

A final project, consisting of a composition of appropriate length and technical sophistication, will take the place of the final exam. The composition should exemplify some of the tools and techniques covered in class and give evidence of your artistry. We will have an informal performance/presentation of all the final projects during the assigned exam time.

Grading Policy

Here are the grade weights.

Pop quizzes (drop your lowest score) 30%
In-class presentation, class participation 30%
Final Project 40%

Remember that an assignment marked fail results in 5 points deducted from your final course grade.

Incompletes will be granted only as per University policy.

Catastrophic loss of materials for assignments or the final project is not an acceptable excuse!

So back up your data! Keep copies on several different media, in several different locations.

Attendance Policy

More than two unexcused absences, or being consistently late, will result in a substantially lower grade. Specifically, each unexcused absence over two lowers your grade by one grade increment (e.g., from A to A-, or A- to B+).

Being late is especially disruptive in this class because you might have to climb over other students to get to a chair in our small class room. We usually have to stop class to wait for this and will spend the time glaring at you.

Absences will be considered excused only in the following cases.

  1. Illness, verified by a note from a health care provider who is not a relative
  2. Family emergency
  3. Religious holiday
  4. School-sanctioned event, for which excuse letters are written
  5. Professional conflict (cleared in advance with the instructor)
  6. Travel for a job interview, conference, performance, etc.

In all these cases, please notify me by email before the missed class begins, unless there’s a good reason why that’s not possible.

There is no way to make up for unexcused absences. I do not offer extra credit assignments.

Academic Misconduct

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


Readings will be taken from books and articles available online, linked from the syllabus. Also, consult the bibliography.

Copyright ©2013-15 John Gibson, Jeffrey Hass