Survived the group presentation on Wednesday and turned in my final paper on time!!!! One more day until I'm officially finished with History & Philosophy of Music Education and this 6 week madness. Instead of discussing the last philosophical question (when?), I would like to use this post as a course evaluation. Enough hours were spent working on those questions, and my brain needs a break from the philosophical realm.
After complaints and issues with previous courses, I believe this class was a great improvement for the instructor and curriculum. Although this is an extremely intangible subject area, I believe we made substantial progress through readings and group discussion. As is the theme with most VanderCook classes, the student can really only get out what they put in. I think that the material was presented clearly and effectively, and we were shown countless resources to check out on our own time. The final paper served as a great outline for the class, and hopefully got these kids thinking about their personal philosophies on education as they head out into the real world.
One of the greatest improvements in this class compared to others, was the use of Graduate Students as group leaders. This helped break the large class down into smaller, more manageable discussions. I was lucky to have an outstanding group where everyone contributed and did the work on time. It put the Grad students in a leadership position, and kept them involved in the class. I think it also positively affected the undergrads performance, as they had someone to hold them personally accountable. The coursepack was a useful tool for keeping the syllabus, project criteria, and useful resources all in one place.
I'm still on the fence as far as the overall usefulness of the weekly blog. I understand the need for incorporating technology and keeping up with the times, but no real reply or response came of them. It was like keeping a journal that no one read (or very few), and seemed to be blown off by many of the students. Other than 3 points participation credit, I don't know if the student gained much from the experience. My recommendation would be turning in printed copies either to the teacher or Grad group leader to comment on. Feedback, criticism, and discussion were the most beneficial parts of the class.
Overall, I thought the class was most productive as an open forum, and brought out many great ideas and opinions.