Figure 1. Course Syllabus

TH 423
Computing for Pagogical
and Cognitive Research Applications

Spring, 1997

Course Description:

This course develops HyperCard programming and multimedia skills for application in music theory pedagogy and in music-cognitive research. We will present HyperCard authoring tools and HyperTalk scripting, and will introduce external commands and commercial extensions for integration of MIDI sound, sound files from commercial CDs, music notation, and scanned images. Students will develop criteria for evaluating existing CAI and apply these to selected programs, and will learn pedagogical principles behind effective stack design. In addition, the course provides an introduction to music-cognitive research, including basic concepts in experimental design and data analysis. Students will critique published experiments, design and carry out a group experiment implemented in HyperCard, and summarize the experiment's context and design in writing. Final individual projects will combine the skills developed throughout the semester by means of a HyperCard stack for computer-assisted instruction.

General Syllabus:

Weeks 1-3: HyperCard and HyperTalk Basics

Weeks 4-6: Importing Sound and Visuals; Introduction to Cognitive Research

Week 7: Stack Design Principles for CAI; Advanced Audio Toolkit

[Semester Break]

Weeks 8-9: Experimental Design; More on Scripting with HyperTalk

Weeks 10-12: Detailed Design Principles for CAI; Experimental Trials

[Jury Week]

Weeks 13-14: Evaluate Experimental Data; Finish Final Projects


Required Texts:

George Beekman, HyperCard 2.3 in a Hurry (Wadsworth, 1995).

Danny Goodman, The Complete HyperCard 2.2 Handbook, 4th Ed. (Random House, 1993).


Recommended Texts:

David Butler, The Musician's Guide to Perception and Cognition (Schirmer Books, 1992).



Aleck Brinkman, Annex M802; 274-1553 (342-3922); email:

Betsy Marvin, Annex 410; 274-1551 (328-2464); email:

"Office Hours" in the lab after class and by appointment (feel free to call us at home to schedule)


Course Requirements:

DAILY ASSIGNMENTS - Students are expected to prepare for each class, either by reading assignments and/or designing and implementing stacks. Each assignment builds on the previous one, so it is essential that students not fall behind.

ON-LINE JOURNAL - Students will be expected to examine and evaluate three existing software packages and to keep a journal, using an on-line HyperCard template. Despite the informal name "Journal," we expect polished writing and academic integrity, i.e., do not "cut and paste" from software or documentation unless you quote the material and give proper citations. Students will prepare a one-page summary of one assigned program to share with the rest of the class (make 16 copies).

CLASS PROJECT - Students will engage in music-cognitive research by means of a jointly designed experiment implemented using HyperCard and external commands. Although the project will be developed as a group, students will turn in individual papers in APA style that report on the experiment's context and method.

INDIVIDUAL PROJECT - The final project for the course will be a HyperCard stack demonstrating mastery of techniques developed over the course of the semester. Topics will vary according to the interests of the individual.



March 7 -- Journals due (before Spring Break)

March 10-14 -- Work on final project design ideas (Spring Break)

March 24 -- Final Project Title Page due (must include menu showing overall design of project)

April 21-25 -- Individual appointments for project progress check (Jury Week)

April 28 -- Psych papers due (Introduction and Method for Experiment)

May 14-16 -- Presentation time TBA during exam period



Daily Assignments 25%

On-line journal 20%

Psych paper (Intro/Methods) 15%

Individual project stack 40%