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Signals, Systems, and Music: General Education for an Integrated Curriculum

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Making Students Aware of Their World: Five Perspectives

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1289.1 - 22.1289.7



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Paper Authors


Linda M. Head Rowan University

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Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, I am currently serving as Interim Associate Dean of Engineering. I am Director of Student Advising for my Department and am co-faculty advisor for our SWE student chapter. My research area is bio-instrumentation and my teaching area is VLSI Design.

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Signals, Systems and Music: General Education for an Integrated CurriculumOur university’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Music programs arecollaborating on an electronic music composition course titled Signals, Systems and Music. Thiscourse is the first step in our efforts to develop a new concept for providing a general-educationexperience that transcends traditional disciplines. The concept that we work from changes thefocus of courses “outside” of engineering from "exposure" to novel points of view to"immersion" in interdependent knowledge. We are gathering music students and first-yearengineering students for this novel educational experience: Music composition from anengineering systems point of view, exposing all students to concepts fundamental to both musicand engineering. We emphasize the interconnectedness of the disciplines, and (hopefully)awaken the students' desire to explore, innovate and create. This course is presented as a generaleducation experience that does not presume a background in music, mathematics or electronics.Our presentation will address initial and second year offerings of this new, first-year course. Wewill present examples of the following aspects of the course: • Lectures and exercises on music theory • Lectures and exercises on principles of signals and systems developed to be relevant for electronic music composition • Laboratory experiences using both hardware and software • Assessment instruments for objective and subjective (student centered) evaluation of the creative experience. • Assessment instruments for evaluating impact of the course on the academic engineering experience beyond the first year.The course is co-taught by a professor from Music, a professor from Electrical and ComputerEngineering and a musician/technician with experience in electronic music composition. We willpresent examples of all aspects of this course along with student final compositions. In addition,we will address future projects in our efforts to renew and revise the general educationexperience across the entire university curriculum.

Head, L. M. (2011, June), Signals, Systems, and Music: General Education for an Integrated Curriculum Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18807

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