Russian for English out of Beta
Russian for English started its development on March 11, 2014, which made it the oldest course that was not released yet (that honor now goes to Hungarian for English and Romanian for English, both started on March 12, 2014).
After a long development, it finally entered Beta on 2 November 2015 and quickly became one of the most popular beta courses, with now over 856.000 learners.
And today, after about 4.5 months of Beta-testing, it was released as the 47th fully-developed course on Duolingo!
It feels like yesterday when it entered beta :D I still remember the HUGE wave of excitment that flooded the community.
Congratulations team Russian! I have definitely noticed an improvement in the course since its release date.
Great news! From the time I started a month and a half ago till today I saw a lot of improvements of the course. Well done! :)
It is sad though that there is no official Word tab (even though I know how to reached it) or no Fluency with »Add to Linkedin Profile« button... :)
Congratulations to the Russian team for developing and refining such a wonderful course!
Nothing substantial. "Out-of-beta" means that most of mistakes regarding sentences have been fixed: sentences in translation exercises have enough alternative translations, listening exercises have proper audio, and so on.
In other words, you can dive into the course and expect very little frustrations related to mistakes in the course.
Do you know what the stats are for how long courses have been in Beta? I know Esperanto and Ukrainian have both been in Beta since I started on Duolingo in September, and Russian made it out of Beta in four and a half months.
Russian may have gotten out of Beta more quickly because it did spend so long in the Incubator, and because so many people took it so quickly. Esperanto and Ukrainian each have a little over 300k learners, whereas Russian currently has 850k. I don't really know anything about Ukrainian, but Esperanto could also be delayed because there's so many valid options for translating words and phrases back and forth--I know I've suggested a lot of corrections on things like "bonegas" instead of "estas tre bona" or "estas ege bona" for "is very good".
Ukrainian might still be in beta because they have not been responsive to reports. This was very frustrating when I did the couse, when many good alternatives were not accepted. I would like to think that has improved but it could be why it is still in beta.
Russian has been so much better in that regard. The time spent on the course shows. It is of very high quality. Rushed courses like Irish and Welsh are of far lower caliber.
Rushed courses like Irish and Welsh are of far lower caliber.
Very interesting. It really raises questions as to whether courses should be rushed through for external purposes, or indeed due to the vociferous demands of a few forum users.
If you're right about Welsh, it's disappointing that one of the newest courses needs so much work after being launched. It sounds as though quality control is all to pot.
For Welsh it isn't that there are so many reports to make but that the sentences are so short, not much more than vocabulary lists for which you could go to memrise. They seem to have gone so fast that they didn't have time to think of sentences to make full use of the duolingo format. A great shame. Irish was the same. Perhaps the only duolingo course the Welsh team had done was Irish so they thought that was good enough. Irish was racing Dutch to be the first incubator course, but Dutch made much better use of the format.
I haven't finished Welsh so maybe it improves after the first two sections, but Irish got worse towards the end.
Russian and Turkish and Norwegian, as later courses, were able to learn from the earlier ones, and make excellent use of the incubator, with interesting and challenging questions.
Interesting news, I actually didn't know that Irish and Welsh aren't good quality courses.
However, there is one more issue which is important - the prior experience with managing a DuoLingo course. The contributors who took part in the English for ... course than had a pretty clear idea how a complete sentence looks like and how to approach it as such. And clearly, Irish and Welsh contributors couldn't have had this prior experience and than unfortunately, took it the wrong way around.
I am pretty possitive that the Czech course will also get out of beta really fast, when the day comes, regarding the fact that I just mentioned.
I understand that Welsh just copied the curriculum/lesson formats that they already use to teach Welsh to adults in Wales... Not so much developing new material. I have also heard positive things about the Dutch course! Unfortunate about Irish, as this is the next tree I'm doing... I'm hoping they make improvements with tree 2.0.
This comment thread makes me concerned about the copyright issue, actually... I know many incubator teams have looked to existing resources for brainstorming ideas, but hopefully not to the point of causing a legal risk!
I understand that Welsh just copied the lessons out of a book that is commonly used to teach Welsh...
If that is true, there must surely be questions over copyright and plagiarism. I would be shocked if DL had gone down that route but nothing surprises me too much on the internet these days.
That would be intellectual property theft. Multiply the number of sign ups by sales and that would be quite a substantial claim for damages.
It's perhaps my misunderstanding of their incubator update:
"We are around 65% of the course completed (so a 15% increase this week). We've adapted almost every unit from the Welsh for Adults courses we've been using. This is the equivalent of four years of two hours a week evening lessons or 120 hours of tuition.
We'll now be concentrating on extending the current units and adding units which are more focused on content rather than teaching in order to extend the overall word count of the course."
They didn't specifically say they were copying from a book, but they also mentioned they designed the course as a support for Welsh teachers currently teaching in Wales, so I understand they followed the same curriculum... Considering that I think it's quite common for course teams to use existing books as inspiration for how to present the units, not sure how copyrighting goes with that.
cdub4language: Your claim of copying may be true, but I think a little more evidence should be accumulated before so casually accusing anyone of what would be considered plagiarism.
@Sialia2, I agree, and I have edited my comment to more accurately reflect what the course contributors have said themselves (see link in my other comment). My point was aimed towards why the course isn't so duolingo-adapted, and I didn't event think about the copyright issue when I wrote it. Irresponsible of me, my apologies. That said... the people I know personally who are doing the Welsh course are enjoying it!
I know the first incarnation of the Hungarian team said they were basing the course on a particular book. This might of course all have changed now that much of the team has changed and quite some time has passed.
Do you know what the stats are for how long courses have been in Beta?
The course list on the wiki is very interesting: http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Course_list.
From it, you can see that English for Japanese speakers spent a full two years (on the day!) in beta. Of the Incubator-baked courses, Polish was the quickest with an amazing 54 days in beta. French for Spanish speakers was the quickest overall (alpha+beta) of the Incubator courses, with just 157 days.
There really seems to be a big difference between the different courses in terms of quality, quantity, how well matched the sentences and grammatical concepts are to the specific language pair used, how much time is spent in alpha vs in beta, etc.
(It seems you found this list already, but I'll post this anyway for anyone else who's interested.)
Oh, awesome! I was just going from the dates on the Incubator posts for Polish. Thanks!
Ukrainian is currently the course that has been in Beta the longest; it entered Beta on May 21st 2015, so close to 10 months.
Esperanto entered only one week later on the 28th of May.
I don't remember the statistics (can look it up on the unofficial duo wiki), but English for Japanese and Chinese have been in Beta for a very long time too.
Oh, and Polish also got out of of Beta fairly quickly. It went into Beta after Russian, and it looks like it's been out of Beta for a month. Maybe courses DO graduate from Beta faster after spending a longer time in the incubator, since Polish has fewer learners than either Romanian or Esperanto...
It all depends on the contributors. I am quite positive that the biggest difference is caused by the fact that some contributors already have gained experience while creating/managing the reverse tree (English for Russians etc). By the way it's new information for me that Irish and Welsh courses actually suck. But it corresponds with my theory - they didn't have any prior experience.
I am also pretty certain that the Czech course, once it gets into beta, will be ready fairly soon. The English course for Czechs got out quite undone (some sentences had 2 or 4 valid translations in both directions and after updating it got up to 200 or even 800). Now, I guess, they are maybe even too thorough :-)