Knowledge Base

Course Structures


To foster student engagement, I have experimented with course formats.

Online Composition Formats

Online Composition Lecture

A year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself in the situation of having too many composers for my online 100-level lesson-based composition course. In the span of a few weeks, I developed an online composition lecture format. The course features twenty-six prerecorded composition lectures (generally two per week) combined with four 25-minute individual lessons throughout the semester. Topics are divided into four units based on my work with the Vanderburg model of creativity: Intention, Incubation, Illumination-Divergent, and Illumination-Convergent. Because the course is designed to serve a variety of student populations, the lectures are presented as a "lecture smorgasbord" with advice that can be accepted or rejected.

Former classes in format: VCSU MUS 120: Music Composition I.

Online Composition Masterclass

Because the Online Composition Lecture format is non-repeatable (lectures are static), I created the Online Composition Masterclass format. Students decide on a composition project in consultation with the instructor, and submit an up-to-date version of their current project weekly via LMS. The instructor reviews the projects, provides feedback and/or repertoire suggestions, and packages all feedback in video form. Students receive ALL feedback/first impressions from ALL submitted pieces in a given week so that multiple compositional issues can be addressed each week. Approximately two hours of video feedback (inclusive of all students) is generated each week.

Former classes in format: VCSU MUS 220: Music Composition II, VCSU MUS 302: Advanced Scoring & Arranging.

In-Person Formats

Student Autonomy Format

I created the Student Autonomy Format in response to COVID-19, but I had been planning to implement similar ideas for some time. The Student Autonomy Format allows students to choose all or some of their projects from a menu of possible projects in a range of points. The first project in such a class is for students to choose their projects and their due dates. This format requires students to take ownership of their education, and is designed to work for classes that may need a great deal of customization to be relevant for each student.

Current classes in format: NDSU MUSC 385: Music Entrepreneurship.

Limited Student Autonomy Format

In cases where full student autonomy may not allow students to be successful, a limited variant is possible. Students do not have the choice of which projects to do, but they have the choice of the order in which they do them. Constraints on due dates (e.g. one project due per week) is possible. As with Student Autonomy Format, the first project in the limited variant is to make a semester plan and choose due dates.

Current classes in format: NDSU MUSC 189: Skills for Academic Success.

Kyle Vanderburg