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Music Fundamentals Online




Course Syllabus



Instructor:                               David Betancourt                   

Contact Information:    

Office Location:                      BC 52c

Online Office Hours:              Online and by email or on Canvas

                        Please email me if you would like an appointment

Prerequisite(s):                        None


Course Description


Welcome to the Music Fundamentals Online Course at Cerritos College.  I am looking forward to having you in this class! This course is an introduction to music theory.  Topics include:  notation, rhythm, pitch, harmony, chords, scales, intervals, harmony, music terminology, and listening skills.  THE IS AN ON-LINE COURSE!!!  Learning new skills in an on-line environment takes time and commitment. In this course, or in any other online course or workshop, you must be self-motivated and self-disciplined to complete the class successfully.  This is a six-week summer course.  As a result, THE CONTENT (LESSONS) WILL BE COMPLETED AT AN ACCELERATED PACE.  You can expect to spend 3-5 hours a day reading, completing assignments, and taking quizzes (another way to calculate time spent is to think of it as 12-20 hours a week).  We will not meet face-to-face but will have ample opportunities to communicate through Canvas or email. Please contact me early in the week if you do not understand instructions. Do not wait until the day an assignment is due or even the weekend the assignment is due to work on the assignment; if you have problems then, I will most likely not be available to help you. Remember, late assignments, for whatever reason, will be considered late.


An interesting aspect of this class is the need to complete handwritten work. This class requires you to learn how to write music on staff paper, and that requires handwritten assignments. These assignments will be available to download and print. You must complete each assignment and submit it electronically for grading.
In addition, you will be learning how to identify various musical elements that you hear in audio examples. There will be practice available in the Canvas Modules and listening quizzes to assess your mastery of this skill.

Finally, there is a small "performance" aspect to this class. We will cover the basics of reading rhythm in music, and you will be creating "selfie" videos to demonstrate your ability to clap and count rhythms. These will be uploaded to Canvas. The "Technical Information" link provides information about how to make the videos and upload them.

You can email me anytime with questions or for help. I believe there is only one bad question: The one that is never asked.


 Your Responsibilities in This Class

  • Watch the video on Canvas in order to complete the video quiz.
  • Read through all the links in the syllabus so that you can complete the syllabus quiz.
  • Refer to the syllabus during the semester for questions regarding policies, content, procedures, and course schedules (when assignments and quizzes are due).
  • Enter the Canvas website regularly to read announcements and participate in discussion forums.
  • Stay engaged in the class by organizing your time so that you can complete the readings, assignments, quizzes, practice exercises, musical listening, and participate in online discussions when appropriate.
  • Contact me if you have questions, do not understand an assignment, or if there is an emergency that will cause you to miss a due date.
  • Learn as much as possible!!!


Required Materials 

  • Good News! No textbook is required for this course!  I just saved you a ton of money so start a class discussion with your classmates for this course, pool your money together, and buy me a new car!  Ok, I am just kidding . . . I prefer a full-sized SUV!  Seriously, all the readings, examples, assignments, and quizzes will be available on this Canvas course!
  • Other Materials: Pencil and eraser ( use soft lead pencils for maximum darkness).  Do not use a pen as mistakes are common and you want your work to be neat, accurate, and easy to read.
  • Staff paper:  You can download and print staff paper from the Canvas course, or purchase staff paper in notebook form from an online vendor.  If you choose the second option, just "Google" the words "staff paper".


Course Schedule


Please check the Canvas site for the course schedule of assignments, quizzes, activities, and tests.



Student Learning Outcome.


1.  Student will demonstrate music theory proficiency on the topics of notation, rhythm, pitch, harmony, key signatures, chords, scales, intervals, and music terminology, through the completion of ten topical quizzes.



Extra Credit and Final Exam

Extra credit is available and at the discretion of the instructor. There is a Final Exam. Please check the Canvas course site for the final exam schedule.



Participation and Attendance

In the case of a fully online course, if a student has not actively participated in the course on a weekly basis; this will be considered an absence. Not actively participating for two weeks will be grounds for instructor withdrawal. Active participation means completing the required quizzes each week.  Pursuant to Title 5, section 58004 and Cerritos College Board Policy 4104, it is the student's responsibility to participate fully in class(es) once enrollment is complete.  However, should it become necessary to withdraw from class, it is the student's responsibility to withdraw from the course.  Failure to officially withdraw from class(es) may result in an "F" grade for each class. Students may drop the class on-line on or before the last day to drop. Students should never rely on the instructor to withdraw them from a course.

Dishonesty Policy
Receiving a grade in a course, without acquiring the knowledge that goes with it, diminishes your chances for future success. A reputation for honesty says more about you, and is more highly prized, than simply your academic skills. For that reason, academic honesty is taken very seriously by the Cerritos College community. The following guidelines have been prepared so that you will understand what is expected of you in maintaining academic honesty.

Academic Dishonesty is defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for work by the use of any dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Examples of academic dishonesty would include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Copying, either in part or in whole, from another’s test or examination;
  • Discussion of answers or ideas relating to the answers, on examination or test when such discussion is prohibited by the instructor;
  • Obtaining copies of an exam without the permission of the instructor;
  • Using notes, "Cheat sheets," or otherwise utilizing information or devices not considered appropriate under the prescribed test conditions;
  • Altering a grade or interfering with the grading procedures in any course;
  • Allowing someone other than the officially enrolled student to represent the same;
  • Plagiarism, which is defined as the act of taking the ideas, words or specific substantive material of another and offering them as one’s own without giving credit to the source.

Options may be taken by the faculty member to the extent that the faculty member considers the cheating or plagiarism to manifest the student's lack of scholarship or to reflect on the student's lack of academic performance in the course. One or more of the following actions are available to the faculty member who suspects a student has been cheating or plagiarizing:

  • Review-no action.
  • An oral reprimand with emphasis on counseling toward prevention of further occurrences.
  • A requirement that work be repeated.
  • A reduction of the grade earned on the specific work in question, including the possibility of no credit for the work.
  • A reduction of the course grade as a result of item 4 above, including the possibility of a failing grade for the course.
  • Referral to the Office of Judicial Affairs for further administrative action, such as suspension or expulsion.

Even if you register after classes have begun, you are expected to submit all assignments on time. The instructor reserves the right to change the assignments and due dates if necessary. Check the course Assignment Page weekly for any such changes.

Student Services
Information about these services can be found online at:  and in print in the current Cerritos College Schedule of Classes.


The Habits of Mind are a common set of skills and practices that successful students possess.  iFalcon is a Cerritos College website dedicated to helping students understand and use the skills and practices that successful students possess.


Click on the icon below to access iFalcon



Below is a summary of of the six skills described in  iFalcon


Focus on the work to be done

Advance your skills and education by always improving

Link Up with other like-minded students, faculty, and campus services to help you along your educational path

Comprehend your course material instead of just reading and absorbing it

Organize your life to reach your goals

Try New Ideas to accelerate your learning and improve your skills


By exploring and practicing these strategies, it is anticipated that enhancing these skills will aid in your ability to comprehend the course material, while increasing the possibility of success in this course.


You should check the course outline in your syllabus daily to focus on the course content in preparation for the upcoming class quiz.  Organize your schedule to make sure you have time to prepare the necessary materials and that you have scheduled the necessary time to complete class reading and quizzes.


Creating relationships in class is a great way to advance on your path to success.  Plan to link up with students in the discussion forums on TalonNet, or to work in small group study sessions.


Take personal responsibility for your actions while taking this course.  There will be a large amount of material covered at an accelerated rate.  Your ability and willingness to focus is directly related to your success in the course.  Likewise, if you find yourself overwhelmed with responsibility due to family, jobs, and school commitments, use new ideas to solve your problems rather than succumbing to pressure.  Feel free to email me about possible solutions.  For example, link up with me during my “office hours” if you have any issues to discuss.




If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) at 562-860-2451 ext. 2335 or  


Please inform your instructor before the term begins (if possible) or on the first day of classes, if you are planning to request accommodations.


Financial Aid


Any changes in your enrollment may affect your financial aid award disbursement amounts which could result in an over-award, and you may owe repayment of your financial aid funds. This includes withdrawals and drops. For further information please visit the financial aid office or contact (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2397. The Financial Aid website is:


Web Etiquette

Some helpful hints with regards to taking an online class

1. Be respectful to your fellow classmates and instructor - be aware that what you write may be misconstrued, so think about it before you send it

2. Do not write in all capitals - this is considered SHOUTING

3. Do not belittle any of your classmates opinions/ideas - everyone is entitled to their own ideas whether you agree or not, it is OK to disagree in a constructive way

4. Do not write in texting language. If you are saying "U" make sure to spell out “you”.

5. Do not expect immediate responses to questions - just because this is an online class does not mean that fellow students and/or the instructor is always online and available. All questions will be answered within 24 hours unless it is a weekend, then questions will be answered on Monday.




Basic Computer Skills
This class has no official prerequisites, however, in order to succeed in any online course, it is important for you to have some general technology skills such as knowing how to turn on your technology device and turn it off correctly, how to use your operating system, and the applications you will need.

Most of all, you should feel comfortable enough not to panic when something goes wrong, but to calmly assess what has happened, what might have caused it, and how it might be remedied. You will need the following basic computer skills to complete the activities needed to be successful in this course:

Working on the Internet does not require fast keyboarding skills, but you should be able to express your ideas using text.

You need to know how to point, click, double-click, and drag if you use a mouse.

You will need to know the importance of remembering your username and password and of saving them in a safe and secure place. You will also need to understand the distinction between uppercase and lowercase letters and that the "caps lock" key can interfere with password entry.

Connecting to the Internet
You will be responsible for having your device properly configured and knowing how to connect to the Internet.

You should be comfortable using email. This includes using basic email functions such as Reply, Reply All, Forward, and adding attachments.

Web Browser
You should have some experience using a web browser. Sakai, the course/learning management system used by Cerritos College, has less problems if you use Mozilla Firefox, however, you may use Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, or Google Chrome, if you prefer.

You should know how to recognize and use links, how to type in a URL, and how to read, verify, and correct a partial or inaccurate URL. You should be familiar with buttons like "forward" and "back" and know the importance of the "reload" (or "refresh") button, and know how to print web pages. You should be able to download and use browser plugins or be able to find someone to help you with plugin installation necessary for this class. If you are not, I suggest you take EDT 50 – Preparation for Online Learning, EDT 100 – Integration of the Internet into Curriculum, and/or the recommended introductory computer/Internet course before attempting this online class.

Technology that you must supply

  • A computer or mobile device that gives you access to the internet, texting or word processing, audio and visual file access
  • An Internet browser (Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, or Google Chrome) with Adobe Acrobat Reader plugin
  • An email account
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