Sunday, 16 February 2014

Spanish MOOC - done!

Last night (strictly speaking 1am would be 'this morning') I completed the Spanish MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that I've been doing for the past few weeks. Although the course was spaced over four weeks, we had an additional week (just less) to complete all the content - I got a bit behind in the last week and a bit so this was really needed.

The teaching methodology applied was quite different to what I've experienced before, which is why I wanted to do it.

Our teacher, Scott Rapp (American), uses mostly music videos - Shakira, Enrique, other Spanish artists and - my favourite - children's songs - to improve listening skills, reading and word recognition. Activities based around the video include clicking on the correct word when it is said/sung (while reading the lyrics with words missing) and variations on the gap-fill type of activities (text, no video) plus some verb conjugation and practice of pronoun (including reflexive, possessive as well as direct and indirect object) use. These can be challenging to use in practice even if you know them in theory.

Even though this was a beginner course and I've had some Spanish experience, I still most definitely benefited from the repetition of words (improved familiarity and recall), learning new words (expanding vocab), putting into practice grammatical things that I know in theory but have not applied much and also the discipline of working on my lessons almost every day. I also enjoyed the Google Hangout sessions, where you talk to other people on the course and use your Spanish on them - and they on you.

I dropped Scott a note last night thanking him for the course and directing him to some super music videos he may like to use - from my favourite group "No te van gustar". He responded promptly. I've also been curious as to how a person with absolutely no experience would fare as their learning curve would have been far steeper than mine. He says that total beginners score above 93% on the questions presented - so they're recognising and selecting the correct options.

This course has been free and there are other levels that can be done for a really minimal fee (I think about $29). I'm not up for it at the moment as I've got the other MOOC course starting next month; but I may consider it for later. There's never enough opportunity for practice and this course keeps me working away to expanding my vocabulary, spoken abilities and experience.

If you have any interest in learning Spanish, it's well worth a try. The course is called Spanish Basics I and it is on

This is my favourite of the music videos... It's about a snake from a hot place and people think he's crazy because he likes to eat bananas with hot water. One day he goes to a cold place. When he smiles you can see his teeth. He wants to get a hairstyle so he goes to a hair salon but he doesn't have a hair on his head so a hairstyle is not possible. Then then he goes to a shoe shop to buy shoes... but he doesn't have any feet so he ends up not buying anything. Totally silly, but very sweet.

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