E-Publishing in the Undergraduate Music History Classroom: The University of Guelph Book Review Project

Kimberly Francis, Travis Stimeling


Perhaps one of the least anticipated and yet most fundamental skills undergraduate educators must nurture in their students is that of effective writing. Over the past three years, Critical Voices: The University of Guelph Book Review Project, a project that combines open-access journal technology with the dynamics of peer-review publication, has successfully worked to address this task in upper-level, undergraduate classrooms at three universities in Canada and the United States. Using the Critical Voices project as an example, this essay explores the pedagogical value of requiring undergraduate students in music history courses to write for a public audience, a more common occurrence in the social and natural sciences than in the humanities. Furthermore, by describing the process by which the project was established and the guidelines that participating institutions follow throughout the semester-long publication cycle, we outline the potential challenges instructors might face when attempting to integrate such projects into their own courses. Finally, through a discussion of the ways in which external institutions have engaged with the Critical Voices project, we suggest that collaborative, student-driven projects such as this offer valuable, low-cost opportunities for music students for international collaboration, an increasing need in an era of decreasing resources. We would like to consider the innovative potential this project holds for the musicological discipline as a whole. Indeed, in drawing our observations and methodologies into dialogue, we argue our work presents a cost-effective means of introducing currently uncommon para- and proto-professional training into the humanities classroom, the results of which would also have an impact on musicological research in general.


Para-professional training; writing; peer-review; e-publication; collaboration; para-professional training

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ISSN 2155-109X