MOOC Spanish course alongside DL
As per today a MOOC Spanish course for beginners has started. Level A1. It's free, and anyone can apply. It turns out to be a complete immersion course, although the discussions are in English. Some people already left, screaming. It may not be an easy start, but as DL students we can have a good go at it alongside DL. :)
When one is learning a language, opportunities to practice are always welcome. For that reason, I am grateful to those who have taken the time to put this course together. Nevertheless, I must confess that I am a little disappointed in this course. This is not a case of sour grapes because the course is too hard for me: I have grown my Spanish tree and have also completed the Salamanca A2 course online and so I can follow the content of this course without difficulty. Rather, I am frustrated because the issues with the course that have come to light so far are putting people off learning a beautiful language and that is a great pity.
One of the biggest problems with the course is, as ep_nl mentioned, that it is an immersion course and this was not something that was made explicit beforehand. Immersion courses can be wonderful but they are not for everyone. Had some people known of this beforehand, they may not have signed up. Yes, the course is free so it is not as though people have lost money (unless they signed up for the certificate option) but the point is that people's expectations have not been met. In addition, I wonder how user-friendly an online course can really be. I have done an immersion course in Mandarin Chinese but it was taught face-to-face and the teacher's facial expressions, body language and movements, which were directed towards the students instead of another person in a video, were invaluable in building understanding. That assistance cannot be given so easily in an online format.
Another issue is with the videos. There is a problem with the sound on the videos with a lot of background noise and a lack of clarity overall. I do not envy anyone who is a complete beginner trying to work out what is being said with such poor sound quality. I would not have expected such amateurish production quality from such a reputable provider. Errors in the dialogue (one character forgets a letter in spelling aloud her own name!) only compound the difficulties for beginners. There have also been mistakes in the scripts that accompany the videos.
I feel that the Salamanca course was far superior to this one. There was less English support on the website but it did not take long to work things out and I could not fault the quality of the learning materials. The third edition of the Salamanca A2 course begins in two weeks. If you want to take an online course, it is the better option in my view.
I posted about this course in these forums as well. It has problems and I can see it can be pretty frustrating to a complete beginner. I agree Salamanca A2 course on MiríadaX was much more professionally done compared to this one.
Even I was put off by the audio quality in the first video and I can listen Spanish TV and radio and understand most of it. Another issue is that there is no participation from the production/teaching crew to address the problems.
Thanks to you guys! I just enrolled in the Spanish A2 course from Salamnca at Miríada. It will start at May 5. https://www.miriadax.net/web/espanol-salamanca-a2-3ed
Why did they leave screaming? I only did the first chapter so far but it seems to be nicely done =)
Sure, it's quite a bit of workload but if you want to make progress... Language learning is always a lot of effort. I don't know yet if I'll finish it but I give it a try!
Well, I guess they were put on the wrong leg. Such a pity!
1 - it was said the language exchange would be English. But English is only for interaction
2 - they suggested a beginners course, no Spanish knowledge needed - and then there is complete immersion
3 - they suggested some beginner 'hi there, I am John' level - and they started right away with much, much more
4 - they start every lesson with a video that is at normal speaking speed. Without undertitling. OK, you can put it down to 0.7 speed, but even then (would you see all the possibilities at first sight?). Only in the next step you learn that the video is sliced into smaller parts WITH spanish undertitling. And although the transcription is available on the same page, it is far too much out of sight
5 - they openend 4 sections at a start, and it wasn't clear you have a week per section
So - some people probably were overwhelmed, and I can imagine.
With my DL knowledge I managed to do the first 4 levels easily. :) I even dare to comment on people's questions. A huge thank to DL!
Well... Okay, if they suggested something different I could understand some disappointment. But it seems at a nice level for a "I only know a few basic phrases in Spanish" person like me. Either way, this immersion approach can also work beginners who are willing to make some mistakes in the beginning and learn from their mistakes. It's a bit more challenging than getting explained everything though.
You have one week per section? They said the course would require 8-9 hours per week... One section is nowhere near this duration (sections 1 to 3 took me less than two hours) - I'm a bit confused!
Also... Their text evaluation is really weird. They have ONE correct solution and you have to match every single character? At one point they asked me for a phrase which was also in the lesson dialog. ¿Puedes repetir, por favor? I tried it at least 5 times until I thought of removing the comma: ¿Puedes repetir por favor? which was accepted.
I finished four(!) sections in 2 hours. Apparently they closed the fourth section just recently.
After the course opened I got a welcome mail about 8 hours later. With some English to improve. LOL
Ah well, guess we are in a privileged situation, as Duolinguists!
I still don't know what is wrong with this word order: "Para hablar con mi amigos." Some others have the same problem
It's just like DL - there may be some flaws. LOL!