Update 5/17/20 v2.0: Upcoming 4-day week and weekend, office hour definition, extension requests and more troubleshooting

Sorry, an accidental click of the “submit” button caused me to post/send an incomplete version of this post earlier today.  My apologies for any inconvenience or confusion!

4-DAY WEEKEND: Next weekend is a 4-day weekend in observance Memorial Day!  Next week’s instructional days will run Monday through Thursday, May 18 – 21 with Friday off.  As far as for your band/orchestra class goes, that means that assignments will be due Thursday at noon, not Friday.  The following week’s instructional days will run Tuesday through Friday, May 29 – 29.  Assignments for any class should not be assigned or due during the 4-day weekend of May 22 – 25.  As far as for your band/orchestra class goes, your new assignments for the week after Memorial Day will not be released/posted until early Tuesday morning.  Please see this post on the MMS website for info on the next two weeks and the adjustments that will take place for synchronous learning.

WORKLOAD ADJUSTMENTS: Since we will be having two 4-day weeks with the 4-day weekend in between, I will be adjusting the workload for band/orchestra classes.  During these next two weeks, there will be no assignment for Sight Reading Factory.  Students will continue with a music theory assignment as well as exercises on SmartMusic.

OFFICE HOUR/CHAT ADJUSTMENTS: Due to the adjustments in synchronous learning times this week, there will be no Thursday office hour this week (5/21/20), and next week, there will be no Tuesday office hour or music chat (5/26/20).

WHAT EXACTLY ARE OFFICE HOURS?: Many students are hearing/reading the term “office hours” a lot lately but might not be fully understanding of what that means.  Office hours is a term from colleges and universities.  The classrooms in which professors teach their classes are not their actual offices.  Office hours are specifically-stated times each week in which professors commit to sitting in their actual office, wherever that is on their campus, and making themselves available for one-on-one or small group help.  This is exactly what my office hours are for: individual or small group help, account recoveries, instrument repair questions, a few students pop in to play some pieces or exercises for feedback, and a few just come to say hello for a few minutes.  I’m sure there are other situations not covered there, but that gives you a general idea.  So, students, if a teacher has “office hours,” they generally mean optional help sessions at certain points during the week, not mandatory synchronous learning sessions.  Those would happen during designated class times according to the MMS Distance Learning Schedule.

EXTENSION REQUESTS/TROUBLESHOOTING: Students, please know that I have access to your practice statistics on Sight Reading Factory (SRF) and SmartMusic (SM).  If you are asking me for an extension on one of these assignments, but the stats show me that you only started working on them less than 24 hours prior to the deadline, your request will be denied unless you can provide a reasonable extenuating circumstance or situation that warrants an extension.  With certain rare exceptions, starting work on your assignments late in the week and running into technical difficulties is not a valid reason for an extension.  It is, however, a valid reason for rethinking how you plan schoolwork out over the course of the week.  Please keep in mind the following troubleshooting tips:

  1. SRF and SM work properly 99.9% of the time for 99.9% of its users
    • What that means is that the problem is only affecting you or a very small number of students
  2. Technical difficulties or glitches are generally user- or device-based issues
  3. Mr. Brown, unfortunately, cannot help with device-based issues
    • Mr. Brown is also not an IT professional working for any of the platforms we use for band/orchestra distance learning
    • Check out the settings and permissions on your computer/device and internet browser, try experimenting with settings/permissions to find solutions
    • Communicate with parents, siblings, and/or tech-savvy friends and relatives to try to solve microphone or computer glitch issues
  4. The troubleshooting advice from last week’s presentations is available to you in the “Classwork” tab in your Google Classroom under the “Materials and Resources” heading
  5. Try reviewing the tutorial for that platform – you might be accidentally forgetting a step or two in the process