Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New course covers economics of sports

jadrian wooten

A new WSU Global Campus online course uses sports to explain economic theory.

EconS 321, Economics of Sports in America, examines such topics as salaries, sponsorships and ticket sales, said instructor Jadrian Wooten, above. “Students will learn how the laws of supply and demand have changed sports,” he said, “and how to make sports management decisions based on economic principles.”

Although it’s a 300-level course, he said, the only prerequisite is EconS 101, making it accessible to students in a wide variety of fields.

Wooten is creating the course for fall 2013 in conjunction with Global Campus instructional designer Charmaine Wellington. “Economics can seem abstract,” Wellington said. “This course uses sports to make it a grounded, relevant, immediately observable thing.”

Demand was high for the on-campus version of the course, Wooten said, and enrollment was eventually capped at 120. The online version has a limit of 50, he said, and is expected to fill up fast.

Along with teaching online, Wooten maintains his own website, which includes research topics, a blog, and a page with course documents and student comments.

Prof becomes oboe ambassador

Global Campus keri mccarthy2students may know WSU Professor Keri McCarthy from her online course, Music 160, Survey of Music Literature.

But the oboist and Fulbright Scholar is about to launch a side project: Bringing oboes to Burma, and eventually to Laos and Cambodia.  See the story on the WSU News site.

Monday, June 17, 2013

WSU announces spring honor roll

Honor RollYou can find the list of names  on the WSU website. Congratulations to all who made the list!

In case you’re wondering what it takes to get on the honor roll, WSU students must meet one of these two criteria:

  • An overall GPA of 3.75 while enrolled in at least nine graded hours in a single semester at WSU.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.50 based on at least 15 cumulative hours of graded work at WSU, provided that the current semester GPA is a 3.0 or better.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The beat goes online in new course

brian ward (2)

“Rock and roll music has distinct qualities,” says WSU music instructor Brian Ward, above. “A strong beat. Guitar driven. Lyrics about teenage things like love, cars, the birds and bees, drugs …”

He stops. He realizes there are a gazillion exceptions.

“It’s a very loose definition,” he allows. “But people know it when they hear it.”

Recognition is good, but understanding is better. That’s why hundreds of WSU Pullman students have enrolled in Music 262, Rock Music: History and Social Analysis. Both sections of the fall 2013 course in Pullman are already full, and each has a capacity of 250.

“Students sometimes say it’s their favorite class,” Ward says, “because they can listen to music they enjoy.”

This fall, Ward will launch an online version of the three-credit course for WSU’s Global Campus. Students start with the 1920s and end with the introduction of MTV. Coursework includes listening to music, watching videos, writing papers, analyzing recordings and taking “listening exams.” For example, Ward will play a rockabilly song, and ask students to identify a common characteristic of the genre. (No drums.)

More...Musical mix with ‘gospel gravy’

Ward brings a world of knowledge to Music 262. He’s widely known as a jazz pianist, but has also played with symphonies and gospel groups, world-beat pioneer Obo Addy and Cuban conga player Bobby Torres. He’s an arranger for Grammy-winning singer and jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding and has toured with Portland blues legend Curtis Salgado. One reviewer described his album “Wonderbread” as a mix of “jazz, funk, R&B, soul and Afro-Cuban flavors, all slathered in a gospel gravy.”

Students more willing to solo

As a musician, and as a faculty member, Ward is accustomed to a live audience. But the online audience at the Global Campus also has advantages.

Online students feel freer to share opinions and ideas, he says, because they don’t suffer from the stage fright of having to speak in front of peers. “Online discussion boards are terrific—they really help each other figure things out.”

Maybe, as a group, his students will come up with a better definition of rock music. But Ward says that would be—in several ways—academic.

“In music history, we’re always looking back, trying to define things,” he says “But at the time, musicians just play what they want to play. They don’t care what it’s called.”