Radio, Records & Popular Music

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A POST BY joey lopez phd, Associate Professor of the Practice at Texas A&M and director of the Media & Gaming Lab in the department of Communication

RADIO, RECORDS & POPULAR MUSIC – A JOURNEY INTO ALTERNATIVE WRITING COURSES

I had some students make awesome blog posts, for academic context see below, to see cool music blogs scroll on down and click away!

ACADEMIC OVERVIEW

*SKIP THIS IF YOU DON”T NEED TO READ ACADEMIC MUMBOJUMBO AND JUST WANT TO SEE COOL BLOGS!

So as many of you all know, I (joey lopez phd) teach at Texas A&M as an associate professor of the practice in the Communication department.  In addition to being tasked to teached technology courses, I have also been assigned media studies courses, one being Popular Culture and the topic of this article Radio, Records & Music.

Many know that I only do project based learning, no test, no quizzes in my classes.  My pedagogical approach has always been to facilitate each students unique ideas and talents into creating works that transcend the classroom.  Yes this sounds very hippy and whimsical.  However, after having received a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. as well as teaching with this model for the past 18 years I can say it has been amazing to see what happens.  Students tend to worry less about their grade and more about their performance.  Some points I make at the beginning of the courses are:

  • Do work that exudes you and who you want to be and be known for.  
  • Worry less about the rubric (and your grade) and more about taking your own ideas and as a team us figuring out how to make it fit.
  • I am here to facilitate, not dictate.  I want you to create not by what others have done, but truly what interests you.
  • Even if someone is doing the same topic, I know yours will be different and unique to you and your own lived reality.
  • I am not worried if you are extraverted, introverted, a seasoned writer, a first timer, a “good” or “bad” writer, I am just looking for you to create (writing, video, photography, physical art, etc)  in your own way.  
  • I am not looking for sameness or repeatability

These are just some of the pedagogical principles I employ to have students really buy into creating unique works.  

With this course being a W course it requires writing and because of this I have employed my own project based learning assignments in the form of academic blog posts, something I feel I pioneered, if not highly contributed to when creating my dissertation using WordPress and even getting to meet and ideate with one of their core developers at the time.  An example of an “academic blog” can be see at mygeekylife.com, the most recent being my SEMA 2019 blog where I write about attending one of the biggest automotive conferences in the world in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For this course the writing center requires at least 16 pages of writing (4,000 words) total for the semester, instruction on writing (workshoping, ideating, lectures, etc), formative feedback and the grade to be weighted towards their writing.

I approach this through assigning two Blog posts that each contain the following:

  • Minimum 4 apa style sources
  • Minimum 3 first source photos (exceptions allowed)
  • Minimum 3 images/charts (can be from the internet)
  • Minimum 1 embedded video as a source (No Time Limit, 2-5 minutes ideal)
  • 1 first person video embedded (4 minutes MAX).  
  • The post should be equivalent to a minimum of 2000 words

Now it should be noted, I get a lot of questions for the first couple weeks about adhering to the rubric.  I remind this while they are requirements, they can pitch anything and we can “hack’ them to work for what they are trying to achieve.  This breaks down objections through facilitating rather than dictating their ideation process.  

I use this method in all my courses, however in this W course it is very important as they are used to so much “structure” when it comes to writing, passive/active voice, tense, etc. 

What has transpired from this process (and much more I am not sharing due to time and length of this article, are blog posts that give depth not only to students topics, but their own lived realities.  Check it out:

COOL BLOGS FOUND HERE!!!

Below you will find thumbnails and hyperlinks to blog posts created for the course, shown with permission from the students.  

Title: Cantos ‘pa la carne asada’
Creator: Alondra G
Description: A reflection on music and family cook outs.

Title: My Love For Vinyl
Creator: Caroline C
Description: My Love for Vinyl. The depths of the love for vinyl and the insider look of an active admirer for vinyl.

Title: The Story of Easy Mac
Creator: Cameron
Description: The life of Mac Miller & his discography

Title: Women In Country Music
Creator: Shea
Description: The impact of women in country music.

Title: What Makes a $B Beat
Creator: Daniel
Description: The rise of $uicideboy$, plus my attempt at replicating their iconic sound.

Title: The Sad Song Enthusiast
Creator: Grace
Description: In this blog, I hope to explore the emotional journey of sad music through both the artist’s and listener’s point of view.

Title: Tik Tok & Music
Creator: Gracen
Description: FROM QUARANTINE BEATS TO THE GRAMMYS

Title: The Global Success of Kpop
Creator: Cumah
Description: An exploration of Kpop and the history of the genre.

Title: Silk Sonic
Creator: Annette
Description: A look at Silk Sonic and their cultural impact and the influences on their music.

Title: Spotify Vs Apple Music
Creator: Zoey
Description: Spotify versus Apple Music has been a widely debated and talked about topic for the past few years. Though they are quite similar, most people have a preferred streaming platform and it is common, especially in the younger generation, to hate on or poke fun at the other streaming platform through the form of memes and other social media posts and videos.

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