New App Could Open The Way To Music Theory MOOCs
For other subjects, an app that allows teachers to create, analyze and grade assignments online, and provides students with instant feedback on their work, may seem like no big deal. For music theory, it's a big deal.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
University of Illinois music professor Heinrich Taube and former teaching assistant William Andrew Burnson have developed the university's first-ever app that's available in Apple's iTunes store. Harmonia automates many of the tasks involved in both learning and teaching music theory, including analyzing student compositions, creating assignments, and providing instant grades and feedback. Although functional, the app is currently about 90 percent complete, and Taube hopes to get additional funding to help finish it. In the meantime, he plans to use it in his undergraduate music theory classes this fall.
What's the Big Idea?
Music majors usually spend their first few years learning music theory, and the varying right answers to the assignments often require many hours of grading. When Taube entered academia in the 1990s after years of working in computer music production, he found that instructors were still using paper and pencils, "teaching theory the same way they did it a hundred years ago." Harmonia, he says, "[is] the only way that music theory can participate in massively open online courses. If a university wants to have an online academy for music theory, you need something like this. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of videos."
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.