To Schwa Or Not To Schwa: Optimizing Face-To- Face Efficiencies In Classroom Through The Use Of Automated Instruction And Assessment Tools: A Case Study Using IPA Diction For Singers Courses

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

INTED2011 Proceedings


Face to face classroom time is a valuable and limited component of collegiate instruction. Unfortunately, much of this time can be spent with mechanical course requirements. For example, teachers may be required to provide feedback from assignments or tests. This is time that could better be used in more directed classroom and mentoring activities. By careful analysis of learning outcomes, it is possible to identify the components of a class that are amenable to automation using computer programs and Internet connectivity. By reducing or eliminating these components from already limited classroom time, it is possible to concentrate more specifically on those parts of learning that absolutely require direct interaction between faculty and students. It is equally important to ensure that any task that has been moved from classroom to virtual environment is at least as effective and engaging as that activity would be in the classroom. Implementation of introduction, practice, and assessment tasks will need to provide active learning, challenge the students, allow for experimentation without penalty, and in the end ensure that the assessment accurately and completely covers the targeted materials. However, in today's glut of new online and assisted instruction, determination of how effective these newer techniques are needs to be demonstrated with quantitative assessment. In order to provide evidence of effectiveness, benchmark data needs to be obtained, and then compared to implemented methods. This paper examines the learning requirements for diction courses for singers. It then looks at standard pedagogical techniques of IPA instruction in these courses, analyses them, and suggests types of exercises, assessments, and other activities that could be automated with a net increase in effective face-to-face time in the classroom. A set of benchmark evaluations is presented, and the assessment protocol is introduced. A couple of example exercises and assessments will be demonstrated. This is an in-process research project: future timeline and implementations will also be presented. Finally, a discussion will be presented that can provide guidelines on how to generalize these techniques for a variety of other classes and disciplines.


Paper from the INTED 2011 : International Technology, Development and Education Conference, Valencia (Spain), 7th-9th March, 2011

Published Citation

L. McCann, D. Smith (2011) To Schwa Or Not To Schwa: Optimizing Face-To-Face Efficiencies In Classroom Through The Use Of Automated Instruction And Assessment Tools: A Case Study Using IPA Diction For Singers Courses, Inted2011 Proceedings, Pp.2286-2293. (Valencia, SPAIN)