Intermediate Spanish I
This is a third semester language class designed to review and expand upon vocabulary and grammar structures for communicative Spanish. Some schools and many majors on campus require 4 semesters of language courses, and Spanish is by far the most popular.
started on this project asa means of incorporating film into language courses in a meaningful manner, in order to expand students' culture knowledge while working on the vocabulary and grammar laid out in the textbook. Iwanted to create activities that would encourage students to practice grammarstructures and vocabulary in the context of the films. For consistency, I endedup creating an entire online workbook which interacted between the films we sawin class and the textbook used by all sections of the course. With the swineflu concerns potentially affecting attendance in Fall 2009, I also added in the lessoncomponent to cover grammar structures and provide links to useful resources forthose students who might miss class. A number of students used this as reviewof the materials we covered in class.
Students frequently used the Mail Tool for communicationamongst each other. However, they rarely read comments on their blogs,sometimes contacting me to ask why they hadn’t received credit, without havinglooked at the comments. I did not request that their blogs be opened in this case, because students at this level are especially hestitant to expose their mistakes.
The course is clearly laid out, with a focus on the grammaraspects for the Lessons. It was especially important to be able to provide focused listening and additional reading in these lessons. I also provided vocabulary and grammar drills via theAssessments, which students did as homework.
As stated above, the assessment tool was used primarily for homework, for students to self-assess. Many students used it as such and came to office hours or class with questions about kinds of activities; other students were more interested in debating individual points for their grades.
The university has set up the general site to provide thissupport: there is a link to Help (and with the exception of one work study student who was easily confused, the people on the other end of the Help link are always timely and extremely helpful!) and to the campus tutoring center on each page(in the outside frames). Additionally, I used the home page for the site forimportant links which alternated throughout the semester, starting with animage from the textbook and moving on towards sites dedicated to study skills.Students were also provided with appropriate links in most Lessons.
By using this technology to make our own, self correcting workbook, I was able to make the examples more interesting for students and more pertinent to their lives than other exercises online. Also, I was able to push students much further than most existing workbooks are willing to do. I was able to create drill work, as is common in workbooks, but also expand, so that students had to provide logical answers. In order to make statements with limited logical responses, I often local examples, which a published text cannot do. Furthermore, it is often difficult to provide students with up to date information, but having a course site allows me to link them to current readings and videos that they might find interesting, based on our class discussions.