Taking Notes: Eye on Education, HUMN 285

This column will focus on educational issues affecting post-secondary students. It will address a wide range of topics. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about.

SINGING THE BLUES: Recently, a new series entitled “The Blues” debuted on PBS. Hosted by Michael Scorsese, it takes a look at the history of the blues, through interviews and archival footage. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

The series brought back memories of an AU course, Humn 285: From Blues to Big Bands. It’s a great course, one of the most interesting I’ve ever taken. I’d highly recommend it, except for a couple of problems.

The first is the extremely heavy workload involved. A significant amount of time must be spent listening to music and reading biographies. This is very important, since the final exam involves identifying a piece of music and the artist, and providing other pertinent information about the genre and time period. The time span and number of artists is significant, requiring an excellent memory for details.

The second is that the course coordinator/tutors mark extremely low in comparison with other courses. I’ve had many students express disappointment with not just the marks they’ve received on this course, but the indifference and poor tutorial support. You know there is a problem when a student does well in every other course but this, and when there are consistent complaints from many about the way marks are assigned in the course. I’d highly recommend the course, subject to the following:
“¢ Allow plenty of time, its preferable to not take other courses simultaneously to get the best benefit from this course.
“¢ Don’t expect to get a good mark, no matter how hard you work or how well you feel you have done.

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