Day 52 Music Matters


Music has filled our house for years.  Both of our daughters play piano. Our youngest daughter sings.  I used to play the flute in the high school marching band, my husband took a few lessons with an acoustic guitar.  Creating music and listening to music is a vital part of our days. It elevates our mood, motivates and inspires.  I listen to music when I run on the treadmill, earbuds blasting the latest Billboard Top 100 songs.  And now with technology, our music libraries have grown.  With free Internet radio selections like Pandora, Jango and Spotify, multiple genres and suggested play lists are at our fingertips. Clicking on album titles, songs or composers helps navigate to a preferred channel or playlist. And there’s even programs like Shazam, an app that can identify songs using your smartphone or tablet. Instead of asking, “What’s that song?” or looking up the lyrics, voice assistants like Siri, Google Now and Cortana can do this for us.

My online students often tell me that without music, they have trouble completing their homework.  I can relate.  Sitting at the computer can be tedious work.  To break the silence with a back beat has the potential to move us forward and stay on task.  For complicated projects, I prefer listening to classical music like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I immerse myself in the music and the work flows.  But I have to be careful playing Vivaldi in the car — it has a negative effect on my gas pedal and I find myself speeding up when the windows are open and the music is loud.

The best type of music to listen to while studying is classical music. It increases positive cognitive functions while simultaneously being non-attention grabbing. It has no vocals. Words can be distracting. For example, if I am working and start listening to the lyrics of a song, I usually stop paying attention to the words on the computer screen. Sometimes students are unable to focus with music playing.  They are distracted and have trouble multitasking when studying.  Music can cause problems in even starting the assignment because it fractures their concentration — maybe they are singing out loud or even dancing!

But many students listen to music to alleviate stress and anxiety when engaged in complex cognitive processing, such as studying for a test, completing homework assignments, or while reading and writing. It’s beneficial for students to understand the role that music plays on cognitive performance. I encourage them to create their own “study playlist.”



Day 43 Excuses, Excuses

dog ate homework

I believe in student success.  I believe they do the work.  I believe they write with purpose.  I believe they give 100%.  My mantra is commitment and concentration — time management is key.  And when students miss deadlines, I believe their excuses. . . sometimes.  Life gets in the way of school.

Knowing when to take a hard line or acquiesce is a tricky balance.  I strive for fairness and will not extend a deadline for one student and not another.  If a student provides documentation of an illness, accident or other issue that prohibited submission of an assignment, I do allow more time or may suggest filing for a Medical Withdraw based on serious health or family issues encountered throughout a semester. But I have to be consistent.  With the number of excuses I field each semester, I occasionally feel gullible and even duped.

Here’s the policy for submitting assignments outlined in my course syllabus:


Although you will do much work independently, please remember that this is not a self-paced course. To be successful in this course, you will want to arrange your schedule to be able to check in with Blackboard several times a week or even daily as you would your personal email account.

Like any job you have, you’re expected to check in with your classmates and me as you would your co-workers and employer. For instance, if you unexpectedly disappear for a week or two from work, most likely, you would lose your job because you’re not doing your work effectively. In the same respect, if you fail to check in with me and your classmates through Blackboard, post to the Discussion Board on time, or meet your deadlines, your final grade will be affected. Throughout the semester, check your assignments and deadlines frequently and read the announcements.

Please check for due dates regularly and read your Announcements where I will also send reminders so that you don’t miss a deadline.

Late Assignments Policy

Late assignments will be penalized by the loss of one letter grade for each day the assignment is late (this includes weekends). All assignments must be submitted/posted by 5:00 p.m. on the due date outlined in the course syllabus.


I started recording a list of student excuses this semester teaching online:


  • I mistakenly pressed submit without writing any message, please disregard that.
  • The power went out on my whole block.  We had flashlights and everything.
  • My computer has a virus.  It’s bad. I can’t even play Candy Crush.
  • I went to my step dad’s birthday party and totally lost track of time.
  • I got a nasty looking rash.  Do you want to hear this?  Oh well, I didn’t do my homework.
  • My family took me on a cruise.  I didn’t bring my computer.
  • I changed majors and thought I didn’t need this class anymore, so I stopped doing the assignments.   But it turns out I did need the class after all.
  • This topic was kind of boring. No offense. But I just didn’t get into it.  So I skipped it.
  • Our new puppy chewed the computer cable in half.
  • I was binge watching Netflix.  My favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy.  Sorry.
  • I can’t gather enough information or brainstorm enough about a certain thing in my writing which then causes me to not even write about a certain idea, it makes me feel like that idea won’t matter in my story only because I can’t find enough things to back it up.
  • I had to drive my grandmother to the airport.
  • I just had a baby.
  • My screen froze and then it blacked out.  I didn’t know what to do, so I went to my friend’s house and tried to finish it on her computer, but she didn’t have a good connection.
  • My babysitter quit.  Now I use my mom, but she doesn’t come and get the kids all of the time, so I am stuck trying to get homework done with my two- and four-year old at my feet.
  • I lost my dog.
  • I was in the hospital.  Actually, my cousin was in the hospital.  But it was an 0utpatient thing, so we weren’t there that long.
  • I moved and lost my Wifi.
  • My boss wouldn’t let me do my homework.
  • I don’t know how to post my assignment in Blackboard.
  • I don’t have Microsoft Word on my phone.
  • I fell asleep.
  • I left my flash drive at school.
  • I have been really stressed out lately.  It’s a long story, but I hope you understand.
  • I didn’t understand what you wanted.  So I wrote a sentence and that’s all I could do.
  • I am taking 3 classes and working, I couldn’t meet the deadline.  Can I turn in 12 assignments? I know I can catch up.  I just fell a little behind, but it’s okay.
  • I didn’t know we had to do this everyday.
  • I lost my credit card and had to be on the phone taking care of it. I didn’t get to homework because my credit card was lost and I needed it.
  • I work in the city and my cousin wanted to see me when I got off.  I went out with my cousin.  It was too late to turn in my assignments.  Sorry.  But we had fun together.
  • If I read the Discussion Board does that count? I didn’t post, but I read it.  Is there extra credit for that?