Engaging Students Unconference 2018

Engaging Students Unconference 2018

We would like to invite you to the Engaging Students Conference, an unconference on music theory pedagogy. This year’s meeting will be June 2–3, 2018 (Saturday to Sunday), at the Ohio State University STEAM Factory. Here is some helpful travel and lodging information.

If you are interested in discussing different aspects of pedagogy or would like to learn more about what your colleagues are up to in the classroom, please consider coming. Participation is open to everyone and we would especially like to invite non-tenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, graduate students, and public music theorists. Previous years have featured a wide range of discussion topics and this year we would be particularly interested in fostering discussions on assessment and curricular challenges. If you are interested in learning more or would like to share some of the things that you’ve found to be successful in your classes, then please consider joining us.

The format of this unconference will be slightly changed from previous years. If you would like to reserve a seat, please register for free below and begin thinking about any sessions you would like to propose, which may also be submitted below. Confirmation of your attendance a few weeks before the unconference will also unlock a voting system for all session proposals so we can hit the ground running on June 2nd.

What is an unconference?

Engaging Students is modeled after The Humanities and Technology Camp (THATCamp). Here is how they define an unconference:

The shortest answer is this: an unconference is a highly informal conference. Two differences are particularly notable. First, at an unconference, the program isn’t set beforehand: it’s created on the first day with the help of all the participants rather than beforehand by a program committee. Second, at an unconference, there are no presentations - all participants in an unconference are expected to talk and work with fellow participants in every session. An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture; going to an unconference is like being a member of an improv troupe where going to a conference is (mostly) like being a member of an audience. Unconferences are also free or cheap and open to all. For more information, see Wikipedia’s entry on the unconference.

Who is Engaging Students for?

Primarily professors, instructors, and graduate students in music with an interest in pedagogy. In the past, we have focused primarily on music theory. This year we are expanding the focus, to reflect the diversity of the community surrounding the Engaging Students ebooks and previous unconference attendees. (Aspiring) pedagogues from music theory, aural skills, music history, ethnomusicology, composition, performance, or education are all most welcome.

How can I register and what does it cost?

Registration is free! Click here to register.

How do I submit/propose a session?

Sessions will be decided democratically. Before the unconference, attendees can propose an idea for a session. Following the model of THATCamp, these sessions can be talk sessions (group discussions on a single topic), build sessions (collaborative creation of some tool, resource, or document), teach sessions (hands-on tutorials and demonstrations of tools or concepts in action), or play sessions (group activities of loosely directed exploration or inquiry).

If you propose a session, please be prepared to help facilitate that session. For talk sessions, that simply means leading discussion. Since you are not “presenting,” you don’t have to be an expert in that topic. You can propose a question you’d like an answer to, in hopes that others may have one—or can work with you to come to one. For teach sessions, that will mean more active leadership, and likely preparation. However, none of these sessions should be lectures or paper-readings. The idea of an unconference—much like the flipped classroom—is that the whole group is active, participating in a single effort to advance our mutual and collective understanding.

If you are unsure what to propose, no problem! Leave a comment below asking what people think, or talk it up on Twitter using the #esmusic18 hashtag. If others are interested, if it can be done (or at least got off the ground) in an hour, and it’s related to music pedagogy, it’s a good proposal.

On the first day of the unconference, we will work together as a group to schedule these sessions. We may combine, split, or alter the sessions proposed to suit the needs and interests of those present. And we’ll try to leave some extra time in the second day for more discussion. Chances are an idea will come up on day one that needs some follow up, and we want to leave space to do that.

Ready to submit an idea? Please fill out this form.


If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail one of the 2018 unconference organizers: