MUSIC 324 

Tarleton State University

Instructor:  Dr. Vicky V. Johnson   

E-mail:  vjohnson@tarleton.edu    



PowerPoint Project


Study Guides

Online Help



Blackboard Help Desk: 254/968-1960

or 1-866-744-8900 – Option 3


COURSE OUTLINE:  Online Summer Session


Note:   This is an organic document!  It will change.  You are responsible for what is on this page, not a copy you made at the beginning of the semester.  Please help by notifying me if there are broken links - they may contain information that you will be tested on later!


You may not want to take this course if . . .


Week #

Week Dates

All are Mon. - Sun.

Topic for Study


Due @ midnight


Due @ midnight



July 11 - July 17

Tin Pan Alley,

American Musical Theater


no grade

Post: Fri July 15

Assignment 1

Music List

Sunday July 17

Exam info


July 18 - July 24


Discussion 1

Post: Fri July 22

Resp.: Sun July 24

Assignment 2

Blues Song

Sunday July 24

Unit 1:

Sunday July 24


July 25 - July 31

Country Music

Discussion 2

Post: Fri July 29

Resp.: Sun July 31

Assignment 3

ARM Episode 1 Quiz

Country Music Songkit

Sunday July 31

Unit 2:

Sunday July 31


Aug 1 - Aug 7

Rock and Roll

Discussion 3

Post: Fri Aug 5

Resp.: Sun Aug 7

Assignment 4

Powerpoint Project

Sunday Aug 7

Unit 3:

Sunday Aug 7


Aug 8 - Aug 10

(last class day)




Optional Final Exam

Wednesday Aug 10


Before we get started, here's a "word to the wise":

Have you ever seen a sign (usually behind a secretary's desk) that looks something like this:





The same applies to your grade.  Be aware that I use standard 'rounding' procedures.  An 89.4 is a B and an 89.5 is an A.  If you don't want your grade to depend upon 1/10 of a point, plan ahead,







do not beg me at the end.


Week 1 

Greetings online students!  

Welcome to Popular Music in America. On this Course Outline page, you will find links to the lectures for each week, as well as any general information for the class.  The animated bullets to the right will designate "action" items, so be sure you accomplish these each week.  There is an overview calendar at the top of the page for quick reference.


Please review this Pre-course Information.


Take a look at the  Popular Music Syllabus

This contains grading and policy information.  Let me know if you have any questions. 


Please read these instructions about the Discussions even before you give your introduction this week.

Note:  Please use the Ask Dr. J discussion forum for all questions unless they are only specific to you. 

For example, if you have a general question about an assignment or are having a minor tech issue, Ask Dr. J.  Otherwise, I end up answering the same questions over and over if individual e-mails are sent.  Feel free to use e-mail for personal issues.  When I log in, I check the Ask Dr. J first anyway!

"Working Ahead"

Students will sometimes energetically tackle the assignments for the course and turn in several ahead of time, or answer discussion questions in advance.  While there is no rule against this, be aware that the assumption is that learning is continually taking place and that a synthesis of information and understanding should be evident as the course progresses.  In other words, you will be smarter in Week 2 than you are in Week 1, etc., so if you complete your work too far in advance, you won't have the benefit of the things you learn along the way.  There is also the possibility that questions will be answered that will benefit you during the week of the discussion or the assignment or that assignments will be changed.  That having been said . . . . .




The assignment for Week 4 of this class is a PowerPoint presentation on a popular music topic of your choice.  The technology involved in attaching audio files (which are required) and zipping the project for submission causes significant anxiety for some students.  I am therefore giving you fair warning that tech savvy is necessary for that project.  Do not wait until the last couple of days to address this issue.  See the PowerPoint link on Week 4 for more information.)


Even if you think you are familiar with PowerPoint,


Have you ever used mp3 files linked to the slides? 

Have you ever made audio clips of mp3 files? 

Have you ever used WinZip for file compression?


If any of those answers are "No," then allow extra time.


Otherwise . . .

The animated bullets to the right will designate "action" items, so be sure you accomplish these each week.  Now, click in to the first lecture, and let's get started!

Lecture:  Introduction to Popular Music and Tin Pan Alley


Lecture:  Musical Theater

Note that at the bottom of each of these Lecture pages (linked throughout) there is a link back to this page.  Be sure to choose "Course Outline Summer" and not "Course Outline Long Semester" or you will not have the correct assignment!

Blackboard /Computer configuration


Follow this link  and make sure your computer is set to the specifications listed.  Testing and assignment submission will not work otherwise.


Follow this link to set Blackboard e-mail to forward to the one you check most often.  Otherwise, you will have to be logged into Blackboard to receive any e-mail from me and you may miss important information.  This is VERY important.


Also, please go through the Blackboard Orientation.  The icon is to the right of the Course Outline icon.


Finally, check the table above and note the test dates and assignment and discussion deadlines.  You might want to transfer this information to your calendar.  "I forgot" can easily be prevented.  You need to log in to your course every day to ensure success in an online environment.


Week 1 Reading

pp. 1-35

Note:  We cover the entire book in the class, so the reading assignments each week are long (you only have 4 weeks to read it all!).  Please note, however, that the lectures do not include all questions found on the exams, so skip the reading at your own risk!



Click here for a bit of info on me.  This is an intro Prezi.

In the discussion forum, please introduce yourself to your online classmates.  Include any personal information that would help us to get to know you; for example, your major, future career plans, home town, family info, etc.  For my own information, I would also like to know where you are living while taking this course and whether you are pursuing a degree at another school.  Also, tell us what your favorite popular music is and what influences have caused that to be so.  Did you grow up with that kind of music, were you more influenced by your friends, or do you just march to a different drummer?  Last of all, please give an overview of your experiences as a musician.  Did you take piano lessons, play in the band, join a church choir, sing in the shower?  Don't be modest.  I promise I won't ask you to perform!

Be sure to answer everything in blue above.  After writing your answer in the discussion forum, feel free to respond to your classmates' posts in order to get to know them a little better.  This discussion question will not be graded, but try to post your introduction by Friday so others can respond if they wish.

One more thing:  Before writing your introduction, please review the Discussion info and use this opportunity to practice correct discussion protocol, such as using correct punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, etc.  Then, if you refer to yourself as "i" instead of "I" we will all know who read the instructions and who didn't!


Assignment 1


Your textbook discusses over 65 types (or styles) of popular music in America.  After completing the lectures to your left, look through your textbook (all of it, not just the first reading assignment) and see how many you can find.  Hint:  the bold headings and chapter summaries of your book are very helpful, but not all of them fit the criteria. 


List the styles in the submission window in the Assignments tab.  Be sure to number them. If they are not numbered, I will return them to you.


 You will receive 2 points for every style of popular music that you list (up to the 100 possible points for the assignment).  It's always wise to throw in a few more than 50, to ensure that you get full credit for the assignment.  Type this information in the submission window in the Assignments tab.  Do not send as an attachment.


Make sure you list styles (Swing), and not times (Swing Era), people (Big Bands), or forms (strophic).  Ask yourself on each one:  Is this a popular American style?  Does it (or did it) make money in America?


Week 2 

Lecture: Jazz Roots and the Blues


Lecture:  New Orleans, Chicago, and Big Band


Lecture:  After Swing



Don't forget about the Unit 1 Exam on Sunday night. 




Please notice that I have posted a study guide (below) to help you prepare for the Unit 1 test which will be on Sunday evening.



Unit 1 Practice

Here is a fun way to review the material


Unit 1 Study Guide


Exam Info

Week 2 Reading

pp. 39-113


Discussion 1:  Discrimination and jazz


Before you begin this assignment, please review the Discussion Info


Based upon what you have learned through your reading and other valid sources (and NOT your assumptions or pre-conceived notions), how did race discrimination affect the development of jazz?  How might jazz be different today if there had been no discrimination against black composers and performers?  Be specific in your conjecture (not just "better" or "worse").  Do not limit your answer to slavery issues, but follow the path of discrimination forward as well, even to present day.  Be sure to use quotations marks if a phrase or passage is not your own.  DO NOT just paraphrase your textbook.  Use information - do not regurgitate it. 


Answer the questions by Friday (midnight) or before and post responses to peers by Sunday (midnight). Use the peer review function and rate all of the original posts that you read;  in other words, your classmates' answers to the question, but not the responses that are due on Sunday. 


Assignment 2

Write your own blues song


Compose your own blues song.  See your text (pp.57-58) and the lecture notes for more info.  You do not have to write the music, but the words only.  Your song should have at least 3 different verses (each verse would be 3 lines long as in the example on the bottom of p. 58). See more examples on the Blues page.  Choose your own topic - perhaps too much rain, or your part-time job, or online college classes can give you inspiration!  


Type your blues song into the submission window in the Assignments tab.  Do not send as an attachment.  These will be published for your classmates to see after the deadline (which is again Sunday midnight).


Practice Test


This is posted in the Assessment section and consists of only 6 questions.  You may take this at any time.  It will give you an idea of the types of questions that will be on the exam and will ensure that all of your technology is working properly.  There will not be a Practice Test prior to the other 2 exams, but you may take the Practice Test as many times as you need to ensure your computer is properly configured.


Unit 1 Exam


Sunday:  You may begin any time between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.  You will have 1 hour to complete the exam after you begin.  You may begin anytime within this window of time. 


Before you begin, be sure to print out the Listening ListThe answers to the listening questions will be the numbers assigned to the songs on that page.


If you answer with the names of the songs instead of the number, all of your answers will be counted wrong!


Note that there is a large question set for each exam and the questions are randomly selected for each student and each test.  Therefore, the test may not seem to be comprehensive because of this random selection of questions.  However, don't be fooled into studying selectively for the next exam based upon the chance selections you got on this one!


Please review the Exam Info before taking the exam - even if you have already read it!


Week 3 


Don't forget to check out your classmates' blues songs from last week.

Click on the "Published" tab in the Assignments section.


Also, be sure to look at the rubric attached when you get the email about your first discussion grade.



Lecture:  Country Roots


Lecture:  Country and Western


Lecture: Ladies of Country Music


Lecture: Bluegrass


Lecture: Nashville and Beyond




Don't forget about the Unit 2 Exam on Sunday night. 



Unit 2 Practice


Unit 2 Study Guide


Exam Info

Week 3 Reading

pp. 117-179


Discussion 2:  Country Culture

Your textbook paints a picture of the culture of the rural south that was reflected in early country music.  How much of that culture do you think still remains in the rural south today? (I’m talking attitude, not occupation).  Is it still male-dominated with macho tendencies?  Is it still shaped by Fundamentalist Christianity?  Is it still “behind the times”?  Many of you live or have lived in rural areas.  Others have lived mostly in urban areas and have a very different perspective.  Feel free to give specific examples to illustrate your conclusions, but be sure to read the text first.

Answer the questions by Friday (midnight) or before and post responses to peers by Sunday (midnight)  Don't forget the peer review tab - rate the original answers.

Week 3 Assignments


American Roots Music Episode 1

This video will give you an excellent background on the different types of music that form the basis (the beginnings) of all the popular music we have today.

  1. Watch the first episode (Parts 1 and 2) of American Roots Music.  You will see the link beside the Course Outline link. 

  2. Print out this page of questions and answer the questions while you watch the streaming video.  Just circle the correct answer as you watch the video.  The questions are in the order that you will see on the video. Remember that there can be more than one correct answer to a question, so you may have more than one answer circled one some questions.

  3. After you have answered the questions to your satisfaction, go to the "Assessment" tab and enter your answers into the ARM Episode 1 Quiz.  You can begin to enter the answers at any time until the Sunday night deadline.  Once you begin, you will have one hour to enter your answers.

Do-It-Yourself Country Western Songkit

This is just a fun exercise - a tongue-in-cheek version of country song-writing

Go to the link above and compose one for yourself.  Use suggestions from the list, or make up your own.  Don't change the other part, though, or it won't rhyme. 


Write your version out in verse form (as it is in the Songkit).  In other words, your song should have 8 lines when you are finished and not written out like a paragraph.  Submit this one by typing it in the submission blank (NOT in a Word doc).  I will check this off as completed, but it won't be graded.


If you'd like to see how your song would sound, here is a midi file to try it out.


Red River Valley


This tune will fit your newly created country hit!

Unit 2 Exam


Sunday:  You may begin any time between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.  You will have 1 hour to complete the exam after you begin.  You may begin anytime within this window of time. 


Before you begin, be sure to print out the Listening ListThe answers to the listening questions will be the numbers assigned to the songs on that page.


Week 4 

 Lecture:  Rock 'n' Roll Roots


Lecture:  60s Rock


Lecture:  Gospel, Soul, Motown


Lecture:  Rock in the 70's


Lecture:  80's and 90's Rock to the present

There IS no lecture for these decades!   The material is covered in the last chapters of the textbook.


Refer to the Unit 3 Study Guide below for the audio clips from these chapters




Unit 3 Practice


 Unit 3 Study Guide


Exam Info

Week 4 Reading

pp. 187-323


Discussion 3:   Your Questions


Based upon your reading about rock & roll, form what you would consider to be a thought-provoking discussion question.  This should be a question that could theoretically be posed in a discussion forum such as the one in which you have participated.  Then choose 2 or 3 of your classmates' questions to answer, which will be your responses.  (Note:  don't just comment on the questions, answer them!) 


Your question is due by Friday (midnight) or before and your posts to peers' questions are due by Sunday (midnight).  Don't forget the peer review tab - rate the original posts.


Unit 3 Exam


Sunday:  You may begin any time between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.  You will have 1 hour to complete the exam after you begin.  You may begin anytime within this window of time. 


Before you begin, be sure to print out the Listening ListThe answers to the listening questions will be the numbers assigned to the songs on that page.

Week 4 Assignment

PowerPoint presentation

See the instructions on the link to your left.  This is due Sunday at midnight.

PowerPoint Project






Week 5 

No Discussion or Lecture material for Week 5

After this exam, assuming that all of your assignments were on time and went through properly, you are done!!


Important:  Even after you have finished your last exam and turned in your last assignment and discussion posts, continue to log into Blackboard.  Check your assignments to see if any have been returned to you and check the "My Grades" tab.  If there is not a grade on an assignment that you have done, then something has not been submitted or submitted properly.  Let's fix it or the grade book will show a zero when grades are averaged! Give me time to get the most current grading done before you ask about PowerPoints and Discussion 3.

Also Important:   In order to access your official grades for the semester, you will need to complete the course evaluation after the summer session is over. 


There is no final exam for this class unless you choose to take it to replace a low exam grade :-)

Those who wish to take the final may take it on Wed, Aug. 10 between 8 and 10pm.

  • The Final Exam will have the same number of questions as the Unit Exams (50 questions) and you will have the same amount of time (one hour). 

  • The same question sets (one from each of the 3 units) are used for the Final Exam. 

  • There will be listening questions from each unit

  • The questions will be randomly selected from each question set, so no two students will get the exact same questions. 

  • Since the possible questions are exactly the same as the Unit Exams, there is no separate study guide for the Final Exam.



Thanks for your hard work this semester!

YOU are an awesome class!!




Blackboard/Computer Configuration

Blackboard email setup


It is your responsibility to check into your course each day.  However, if you want to make sure you don't miss any e-mails from me or your fellow classmates, you can have e-mails inside Blackboard forwarded to the e-mail address you check most often.  The procedure is below.

  1. Log on to Blackboard (if you are not already)

  2. Click “My Settings” in the upper right portion of the screen.

  3. Select “My profile” tab and edit the profile to include the email address you actually check.

  4. Click Save.

  5. Now click on “My Tool Option” tab and scroll to the Mail portion of the screen.

  6. Select the box “Forward all mail messages to the e-mail address in my profile.” 

  7. Click Save.

Configure your computer BEFORE you need to submit an assignment or take a test

Computer Settings Troubleshooting Guide

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of whatever music player (like Windows Media Player, etc.) you will be using

  2. Set your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or whatever) so that it does not block pop-ups from this site.  The music files are streamed that way.  Also set it to allow cookies from this site.

  3. If you are using a slow connection speed, your connection may time-out before downloading the streaming file.  You can adjust this setting if you need to.  Do not try to take exams using a dial-up connection!!

Make sure the computer you will use has been tested for streaming audio files



Assignment Submission


Follow the instructions in your course outline.  Some assignments are submitted in the blank and some are submitted as attachments.


Use a heading at the top of the page which includes your name and the assignment number. Use a heading on every assignment you submit.


Do NOT send any assignment to me via e-mail.  If you can't submit it, contact me and I will reset the submission.


Look in the Assignments tab for comments after the assignment has been graded.  Don't just look at the gradebook.


Occasionally your assignments may be returned to you for a redo.  I will do this if I feel that you did not understand the assignment, but not if you just did a bad job.  Make your corrections and resubmit through the Assignment section as before.  I will count off 10% of the point value if I send it back to you, but if I graded what you originally sent, that would most probably be a failing grade.  If your original submission is late, you will be penalized 10% of the point value.


By submitting an assignment through the Blackboard system, the student is certifying that:

  • No part of this assignment has been copied from any other source except where due acknowledgment is made in the assignment and only where direct quotes are required
  • No part of this assignment has been written for me or dictated to me by any other person
  • No part of this assignment has been presented by me for assessment in any other course or subject at this or any other institution
  • I retain a copy of this assignment, which I can produce if requested by the course examiner

(Remember that plagiarism in this course will result in an F in the course.)



 It is very important that you name your file according to the instructions in your course outline.  Otherwise, I have to rename each file.  So please take a moment to rename the file before submission if you do not name it as instructed originally.




  Syllabus    Links  


Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson