By Dr. Karolina Kopczyński
Faculty Member, School of Arts, Humanities, and Education
All of our 100-level foreign language classes vary a bit in their weekly requirements. However, they focus on helping you to develop your skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking in a foreign language.
The limits of my language are the limits of my world. ‒ Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein
The University offers language instruction in Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. However, if you haven’t taken an online foreign language class before, you may be wondering about what you’ll be expected to do. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about our foreign language courses.
Do I have to write my forum posts in the foreign language I’m learning?
Most forum discussions are a mix of English and the foreign language you’re learning. Forum posts in a foreign language will help you apply the skills you learn through Rosetta Stone software and other resources. All of our foreign language courses, except Arabic, use Rosetta Stone.
In addition, you will also be asked to answer personal questions about yourself, your family and your hobbies during the course. English-language forum posts focus on the description of various aspects of a foreign culture.
Are there podcasts and videos to watch in the class?
Every week, you will have an opportunity to watch many videos to help you learn more vocabulary and master grammatical concepts. The videos also present the traditions and beliefs of different cultures from other countries. The videos will be posted in the weekly content and discussion forums, depending on the language you’re learning.
Depending on the class, you will have opportunities to listen to podcasts and music to improve your vocabulary and listening skills. Also, there are different games to play and practice your vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, and reading abilities. In addition, there are many opportunities to practice your pronunciation.
What do I do if I’m learning a language like Arabic or Russian that requires the use of special characters?
All of our language classes provide you with software that will allow you to use accents or special characters when you’re typing text in another language.
Are there audio requirements for the University’s foreign languages courses?
As a student, you are not required to purchase any additional programs to fulfill the audio requirements of the class. The Rosetta Stone software we use has a recording component. Also, Brightspace, our online learning environment, allows you to create video and audio files.
What is the Rosetta Stone software like, and where do I obtain it?
Rosetta Stone is divided into several units, and you will work your way through different units as assigned during the course. The Rosetta Stone book and software is electronically provided to you in the class.
What are the weekly assignments like? Do I write them in English or the other language?
The weekly assignments vary, depending on the foreign language you’re learning. These assignments are mainly in the foreign language, so you can display your understanding of vocabulary and syntax by writing or speaking in that language.
What kinds of final projects would I be expected to create?
There are no final projects in the 100-level foreign language courses. You will be expected to display your understanding of a foreign language through cumulative quizzes, written assignments and speaking assessments.
Am I expected to communicate with my instructor in English or the foreign language I’m learning?
If you have questions and need to email your instructor, you are welcome to communicate in English or in the language you’re learning.
What can I do to prepare for a foreign language class?
There are no prerequisites for 100-level foreign language courses. However, you are encouraged to log in on the first day the class opens and read the class syllabus. If the language you are learning requires Rosetta Stone, you should begin using it right away.
You’ll also need to check the daily and weekly announcements to be familiar with the weekly requirements for discussion forums and assignments. If you have questions, reach out to your instructor.
How do I achieve success in a foreign language class?
To be successful in our 100-level foreign language courses, you should manage your time well and participate more than required to practice what you learn. In addition, you should take advantage of many shared resources to help you master the foreign language you’ve chosen to learn.
Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. – Chinese proverb
About the Author
Dr. Karolina Kopczyński is a native of Poland, and her passion is learning foreign languages and their cultures. She completed her study abroad program in Oviedo, Spain, and she also lived and studied in Russia, Mexico, and Greece.
Dr. Kopczyński obtained her M.A.T. in Spanish and ESOL from the School for International Training, VT. She also completed her M.A. from the University of Jaén in Spain and the University Iberoamericana in Puerto Rico in Applied Linguistics in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and Formation of Professors of Spanish as a Foreign Language. Furthermore, Dr. Kopczyński earned an M.A. in Psychology and M.Ed. in Learning and Technology. Dr. Kopczyński completed her Ed.D. from the University of Phoenix in Curriculum and Instruction. Recently, she received the 2021 Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching Award from the University. She is also a co-advisor of the Spanish Club.
Dr. Kopczyński presented at the Teaching Excellence Summit on implementing Technology in Spanish Online Classes to increase participation. She has also presented at Northeast OER Summit about Interactive Tools to Engage Participation and MaFla about Podcasts for Presentational Communication and Communicative Tools for Interpretative Communication in Online Spanish Classes.