Welcome Letter for MUS 236

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Music Appreciation: World Music MUS 236  

Welcome to the Distance Education section of Music Appreciation: World Music.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON TEXTBOOK PRICE!  Online Textbook: World Music: Traditions and Transformations 3rd Edition by Michael Bakan  THIS TEXTBOOK (online access) is $58.81 for the semester.   It will be automatically embedded in the course and will be charged directly to your student account, saving you 50% off  (usually $120 in the bookstore).   If you receive a book voucher, please contact me directly for further instructions.

My name is Dylan Johnson and I will be your instructor for the online version of MUS 236.  I am an active professional musician in SLO county, and a Cuesta College professor for the last 13 years.  I have been involved in world music extensively over my career, and look forward to sharing my excitement about this music with you!  

Instructor: Dylan Johnson

Email: dylan_johnson@cuesta.edu  

Office: SLO Campus, Room 7167, Performing Arts Building

Office Hours: By appointment

Contact:  Please contact me via email or Canvas messaging.   I will respond to your emails within 24 hours.

Start Here!

On the first day of class, you will receive an email to connect you to Canvas, the learning management system (LMS) used to deliver course content.   The syllabus and first introductory assignment will be posted on Canvas at that time.  If you would like to learn about Canvas now, here is a quick start pdf Links to an external site.that explains the basics and a series of videosLinks to an external site. that can acquaint you with the Canvas LMS environment. (To enter Canvas, just click the Canvas link at the top of www.cuesta.eduLinks to an external site. or go to www.cuesta.instructure.com.)

Course Overview: MUS 236 is a survey of the various musics of the world’s people. There will be emphasis on the fundamental elements of each kind of music, the instruments, form, style and the role that each music plays in its society.

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the elements of world music using appropriate terminology
  • Identify musical instruments and styles of different kinds of music
  • Analyze and evaluate live music performances
  • Discuss major world music forms in their historical context

Sample Syllabus

Course Requirements

For most modules, students will be required to read the textbook and answer Connect questions, view a powerpoint, and listen to audio materials that will accessible from Spotify (see below).  Additionally, students will be required to participate in the discussion forum and complete various assignments that are particular to each chapter (watching audio/visual presentations, etc.) The assignments for each module will be released on Sunday nights at midnight, and will be due the following Sunday at 11:59pm (really!)  There will be short quizzes for each week, a midterm, and a final.  You will be required to review two live music performances during the semester (NOTE- Because of the Coronavirus situation, there will be an optional assignment for this for this semester).  One can be done via online video (but must be a full concert).  We will discuss this more in the course.


Is Online Instruction For You? 

In an effort to assist the online student, Cuesta College’s Distance Education home page provides a solid overview to distance education and resources to assist the online student.  On that page is a tutorial for students taking online courses for the first time, and technical requirements to check that you can succeed in the course with the computer you are accessing it with.   Taking the Self Assessment Survey will help determine if an online course is right for you.  Please access these materials before the course begins to prepare for success.  


Online Communication

Communication for class will be through the written word. Please use the same respect and courtesy you would when speaking to a classmate or instructor in a face-to-face class. You may notice that written words sometimes are interpreted in negative ways, and you may be at a loss as to how to communicate a point. A term which may be new to you is netiquette which refers to internet etiquette. Please visit http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html for further explanation.

Using Canvas, McGraw Hill Connect, and Spotify

This online course will be using a Web-based Learning Management System, Canvas, for most aspects of the course. Canvas provides the framework for the class, including PowerPoint presentations, student data, the tools to receive and send course materials, and a grade book. Using the communication tools, you can communicate using messaging, and you can share materials and ideas with other course participants via the discussion forums and group. 

McGraw Hill’s Connect software system will be used for the textbook and reading portion of the course.  Reading assignments will be completed there, and you scores will be imported into Canvas.  

The textbook has switched from requiring students to buy CDs for the audio examples to using a Spotify playlist.  I have also created a streaming playlist on the home page of our course for you.


Academic Progress
Per school policy, students are required to maintain academic progress in classes at Cuesta College.  Students who consistently receive low grades on quizzes/exams/coursework can be dropped from music appreciation classes.  This is mostly to protect you from failing the course.

Quizzes and Listening Analysis
Quizzes will be given at the end of most chapters, and will be based on the powerpoint presentations,  listening, and reading assignments.   Listening analysis will be required for certain songs throughout the semester.

Examinations and Reading Assignments
There will be a midterm and a final exam, both of which are a requirement for passing the class.  Reading the book chapters require reading the chapter and answering the practice questions that are embedded in the Connect learning system.  When those are done, you will receive points for the reading assignment.  If the practice questions are not done, you will NOT receive credit. 



Reading and Assessment Practice Questions- 10pts (each chapter)


Video Reviews/Listening Analysis, other assignments-10-15pts

Midterm 50pts

Final 50pts

Concert Reviews 30pts each 


Late Work

Work is due at the due date and time assigned for full credit.  You may submit up to a week late for half credit.  This does not apply to the Connect SmartBook questions, which can only be submitted by the original due date.


Computer Requirement: Browser requirements/minimum computer specifications http://www.cuesta.edu/student/aboutacad/distance/faqs_technical.html

Internet Service Provider (ISP) offering a DSL, cable or satellite (not dial-up

modem) internet connection.

➢ A myCuesta Gmail address.  All students receive this after registration. If you need assistance with your myCuesta.edu account please contact Admissions and Records on the San Luis Obispo campus.

Software: Microsoft Office Professional 2011 (Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint) or Google Docs/Drive  You may use Google Docs for free or purchase Microsoft Office software at a discount through the California Community College Foundation 

Sound Card, speakers or headset.


Cuesta College Policies:

It is very difficult to track students who have abandonded online courses due to the volume of students and the lack of face to face interaction.  To insure you do not recieve a failing grade, please drop the course yourself on myCuesta if you decide to discontinue.



DSPS-  If you have a disability and might need accommodations (support services) in this class, please contact Disabled Student Program Services in Building 3300 as soon as possible to ensure that you receive the accommodations in a timely manner. http://academic.cuesta.edu/acasupp/dsps/


DSPS/ADA Accessibility Challenges:

I believe that a diverse classroom offers us opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences.  For this reason I try to make my class accessible to all students. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, there is important material in this class that is inherently inaccessible and critical to achieving our Student Learning Outcomes. If you are experiencing accessibility difficulties, especially hearing impairment, you should contact me and we can work together utilizing resources available at DSPS for possible help.


Student Academic Policy, Student Code of Conduct, and Student Computer Technology Access Agreement:



Student Support at Cuesta

During this time many students are struggling financially, emotionally, and academically with all of the changes we are going through.  Cuesta has resources for you.  See below.


***Food Resources for students  can be found at  https://www.cuesta.edu/student/campuslife/studentlife/food_resources/index.html 

Food Bank Distribution:



***Cuesta CaFe Centers**** https://www.cuesta.edu/student/studentservices/cafe/index.html

CaFE Centers Cuesta College  Short description:  The CaFE Center provides comprehensive support, services, and resources to CalWORKs, foster youth, and EOPS/CARE students in order to empower, motivate and encourage them to reach their educational, career and life goals in a welcoming and safe environment.


CalWORKs at Cuesta College is a program designed to assist student cash aid recipients navigate an educational pathway to a successful career so that they can transition off cash aid. We are here to work with CalWORKs students to achieve long-term self-sufficiency for themselves and their families through career planning and educational opportunities.


What is CalWORKs?

Services include: Guidance in applying to the college, financial aid, and registration for classes, Academic and career counseling to determine educational pathways, Coordination with Social Services for educational supplies and supportive services targeted toward your educational/career goals., Assist students to ensure compliance of your Welfare-to-Work (WTW) or Self-Initiated (SIP) plan through a career oriented Educational Plan, One-on-one case management services available online or in-person to assist in problem solving school/life issues, Help with the Cuesta Scholarship application and resources to PAY for school,  Advocacy supporting resources and achievement toward school completion, Subsidized employment, work study and internships centered around your career, Development of a resume and a job search portfolio to facilitate long-term employment, Referrals to additional supportive services, on or off campus as needed, Advocacy and education regarding Rights and Responsibilities issues.


What is EOPS?

Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) is a California state-funded program that provides an accessible and rewarding college experience to low-income students facing social, economic, and educational disadvantages. The program was established in 1969 by the California Legislature with the goal to provide access and educational equity for community college students.


Final Note

I am committed to acknowledging, confronting, and actively striving to eradicate all forms of racism and ethnic oppression. Thus, this course operates from the belief that racism is real, is present, and is something that Black, Indigenous, and all people of color face daily. Part of my objective for this course, therefore, is to create a safe and brave space that enables all of my students to engage openly, safely, equally, equitably, and honorably with their education. In taking this course, you are expected to do your best to embrace these values. I also expect that we will work together to engage with all of our classmates and with the material through thoughtful respect of everyone and their individual truths.


I look forward to working with you!  Please email me with any questions or message me in Canvas!

Best regards,

Dylan Johnson


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