https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhxBob

Free College Italian Course

Wellesley College through edx.org is providing a free college level Italian course. They actually have three courses (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), somewhat corresponding to first, second, and third semester.

The course has 2 - 4 minutes skits with native speakers and many grammar videos (mostly in Italian), plus the usual exercises in each of 26 lessons. So far, the course is great. It is free (although they try to sell you a $49 certificate when you are done). And I am learning a lot!

The courses started Monday. I am starting with beginner, although I finished the Duolingo tree. Vocabulary is familiar, but I am learning more grammar. I hope to finish this course in a month and then take Intermediate.

February 15, 2019

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zseech

I will second Bob's recommendation. I am taking this course, and those "skits" Bob is referring to are very well executed. You get to hear and re-hear and move around within very credibly acted normal-paced casual Italian conversations. ...and, yes, it is free.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/01LearnFrench01

Great recommendation.

There seem to be three levels of courses:

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nathan632639

Thanks. I am working through the beginner course already. It's great to know there's two more advanced courses when I finish!

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lurkscience

Thanks for spreading the word. I personally recommend checking out edx.org, and not just for this sole Italian course. It's a web platform that hosts MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course(s)) with thorough curriculum taught by professors from world renowned Universities (e.g. MIT and Harvard). These courses are 100% online and free to take*. Coursera.org is another good place to find undergrad and grad level coursework.

By the way these 3 Italian courses are being taught by WellesleyX - as in an online arm of Wellesley College, one of the U.S.'s top liberal arts schools. If it weren't for that fact that I rolled an XY instead of an XX I might have applied back in the day!

The methodologies used in these courses will be more technical and traditional. They will fill in more of the nuances and subtleties of the language. That being said, given the right attitude and mindset, they should be complimentary vis-à-vis duolingo. Thanks again Bob for the post. I am definitely going to enroll!

*As Bob mentioned, MOOC's pay models are largely structured around the certification fees for the courses they offer. You can audit the class for free (typically ungraded) or pay a fee to become a verified participant (graded and if passed, given a certificate).

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Whimsicaltruth

Thank you so much for the details and the extra information. I'm not super focused on Italian right now but this is a great resource. I found a cool course on Korean and I'm taking it now. I'll go back to Italian once again after I improve my basics on Korean. It was really nice to see courses on coding so I'll be checking that out as well. Grazie mille! :)

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/01LearnFrench01

I was lucky to have some Korean friends. Although, I'm not currently studying Korean, there seem to be two Korean courses available for those interested:

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

This is becoming an addiction but what's the cool Korean course you found? :-)

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Whimsicaltruth

It's on Coursera and it's the "Learn to speak Korean". I'm really hyped because it's from Yonsei university. (One of the Top 3 universities like Harvard, Yale and Berkeley, except theirs is more specific to "SKY" which is Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University.) ^-^

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lurkscience

Prego! I kind of forgot the oddly exhilarating feeling of finding a desired course, taught by a top school...until today, thanks to Bob's post. That is awesome that you found your equivalent in Yonsei's "Learn to speak Korean" course on Coursera. If you've ever seen the movie, "Hot Tub Time Machine," I'm pretty sure we've both just encountered a 'Great White Buffalo.' hahaha. Lastly, we Italian's are totally cool about you taking a break from us. I even went as far as to call off the vendetta against you! ....for now.... Happy Learning!

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Whimsicaltruth

Omg yes! The Great White Buffalo! I can't believe I had forgotten about that amazing movie. I'm glad to hear you found something great as well. Good luck in your studies. :)

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhxBob

Thanks for the Coursera.org tip. I see Natural Language Processing courses, that I will want to take when I finish these Italian courses.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lurkscience

Certainly! I have used edx.com as a learning tool in the past, but I had not been on the site in 3-4 months. I wasn't checking for new courses; so without your forum post I most likely would have missed the opportunity. I owed you one! There is actually a list of all 20 or so MOOCs on Wikipedia here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MOOCs

...with khanacademy.org being the next biggest player. I believe that it is geared more towards the high school age group, but I have never used it so I could be wrong. Others on the list fill certain niches such as udacity.com - It is largely geared towards computer science and skill-based programming.

Anyways, thank you again for sharing such a great find! I like direction language learning sites/apps have been going, but the philomath in me had left me nostalgic for anything resembling the Italian courses I took in college! Grazie mille e buona fortuna!

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

This is a wider discussion so I apologize to those who get the notification but are not interested.

I find that MOOCs don't work as well as Duolingo and such because they limit your learning. This week you have to learn this much, and when you're done, you have to wait until next week to continue. Learning doesn't work that way. Some weeks I'm excited to learn and I could go on for hours and some weeks I'm just too busy or lazy. Duolingo works great because as soon as I finish one skill, another opens up. If MOOCs work that way, I think it would be much more successful. MOOCs don't send out daily reminder either. They don't really care if you come back.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zseech

That's not how the Wellesley Italian course works. All the material is available at all times. You can go at your own pace, fast or slow. You can jump to different parts of the course. You can skip any parts you choose. You can even move back and forth between the three courses (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced).

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Oh, really? Awesome. All the courses in edx are like that? That's different from Coursera then.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lurkscience

Yah, in my experience it has been the case that the EDX courses are self-paced. From what I've gathered, the decision to make a course self-paced (as opposed to administrator-limited) is left to the school teaching the course. That being said, there are probably some courses that have their content restricted. Regardless, they comprise a small minority; most give you the freedom to learn the material in your own time and in your own way!

I think it is important to note one last constraint: When you choose to enroll in a course, its content becomes available to you, but only for a limited time. For example, I enrolled in one of the Italian courses today and was given until May 10th to complete it. There was a change in EDX policy a couple of months ago; I am not sure if time per course is a constant or if it varies by course/school. I recommend to just be conscious of time constraints when making the decision to enroll in multiple courses at the same time.

I hope you have a better MOOC experience taking a course on EDX.

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhxBob

The entire Italian course is online on day one! You study as much or as little as you want each day. No restrictions, no pressure!

If you need constant reminders, set up a Cron job or calendar app to send yourself reminders.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/compsognathus

Bob - thank you so much, this is wonderful!!

Grazie mille!!

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Truckillac

Great tip, thanks

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Denaniel

I just signed up and it looks great. Thanks for sharing the info, much appreciated!

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/moogy

Thanks for sharing

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EVFT8

thanks

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

Bob, thanks for this. Will certainly look into it. Sounds good.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Do they focus on pronunciation? I think I'm going to focus on languages that I have a chance to be understood :-)

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhxBob

Each lesson have 3-4 minute sketch video with native Italians and several short video lessons with the instructor (who sounds like a native Italian). All videos have a side by side script with the word being spoken highlighted. The instructor also carefully pronounces each word in the vocabulary section.

There are two podcasts in each lesson. The podcasts have two native speakers and the side script. Once they go though the script once, you become one of the speakers the second time through the script.

I don't know if the course meets your needs. But it seems really good for me. It is free. Try it. If you don't like the first few lessons, forget it.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/autumn330

Hey! I'm taking one of their courses right now and they have certain exercises with audio and have audio with every new grammar topic for each unit and podcasts too.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/I-lean

Wow thank you so much for sharing! Will most definitely check this out.

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EVFT8

thanks

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Monika716542

Thanks a lot for this info Bob, very helpful, I will sure use also other courses.

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KJMarchese

I am currently taking the Intermediate course. It has been pretty helpful and challenging so far, will give a more detailed update upon completion.

February 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paul933981

Looks interesting Bob. just signed up for beginner - thanks! I'm a tom cat and never thought that I'd get into Wellesley :-)

February 25, 2019
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