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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 3

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Michael Schutz


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 424

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23159


Office Hours: As Requested

Course Objectives:

The objective of this course is to offer experiential learning opportunities for students interested in applying classroom discussion of music cognition to current research. Enrolled students at both the 3QQ3 or 4QQ3 level will receive direct, hands-on experience in a lab setting.  Those taking the course at the 4QQ3 level will be expected to work more independently, and on larger scale projects.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required readings:  There is no textbook for the course.  Instead, students will read assigned articles relevant to the particular project(s) on which they are working.  These articles will be assigned throughout the semester to complement student projects.

Method of Assessment:


Punctuality                  20%

Diligence                     40%

Effort                          20%

Written assignment     20%



Grading for the course will be done according to the official McMaster University grading scale. Please note that “excellent” work warrants a grade of “A,” corresponding to a numeric value of 85-89. Only “outstanding” work warrants a grade of “A+,” in the range of 90-100. I suggest spending some time thinking about the grade you would like to achieve, and then reflect on the quality of the work you should do in order to achieve this grade.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Other Course Information:

Expectations and Requirements:


1) Data acquisition


The core focus of this course will be assisting with data acquisition for an assigned experiment. At the beginning of term all students will be required to submit their weekly availability, which will be used to generate a term-long testing schedule.  


You are expected to arrive in the lab at least 15 minutes before your scheduled experiment slot.  If you are late, a verbal warning will be issued the first time. Any subsequent lateness will be noted and reflected in your mark.


If at some point you are unable to run participants during your scheduled time slot(s) due to illness, conflict, etc., you must do the following:

  1. Arrange a time slot swap with another student working on your team and inform your Project Leader via email.
  2. If you are unable to swap, contact your Project Leader to try to reschedule the slot(s). Additionally, you must personally contact all participants affected by the change and make up the lost time either by rescheduling or posting additional slots.


Note: All rescheduled or additional slots MUST be OK’ed by your Project Leader. Failure to comply with these expectations will be reflected in your mark.


When you have finished running a participant, make sure to correctly file all experimental paperwork (i.e. consent forms, surveys, etc.), assign credit for participation on Experimetrix or SONA and enter all data (if required). Note: all data entry MUST be completed in the lab within 2 Days of the scheduled slot. Failure to comply with these expectations will be reflected in your mark.


2) Refining writing communication


Early in the semester you will be given an outline of a written assignment to be submitted at the end of term. These assignments vary according to project, but will require you to review relevant literature and synthesize ideas in an academic format.  Note: students taking the course at the 4QQ3 level are expected to demonstrate improvement in their written communication beyond their performance in 3QQ3.


3) Project support and research exposure


In order to gain an understanding of the full scope of a research project, students in the course will also perform additional tasks that play an essential supporting role.  As the focus of the course is on practical, hands-on experience, these tasks are based on current project needs.  They may include (but are not limited to) editing the wiki, testing software, generating stimuli, involvement in off-site testing, engagement in public relations, etc. Part of your grade will be determined by your performance and ability to fulfill these tasks.   Students taking the course at the 4QQ3 level will be assigned large scale support tasks, reflecting their enrolment level and background.