When I did a search for open source Spanish courses I was surprised to find very little quality courses available. I narrowed my search down to one site that lists many different ‘courses’ although most are simply short lessons rather than courses. I chose what looked like the best option, a Spanish Textbook Course called Aprovechalo.
The course is organized into nine lessons that cover some of the basics of the Spanish language using dialogue and examples. It gives a short introduction boasting that you should be able to read and write Spanish skillfully by the end of the course, but by browsing through the material I quickly note that many lessons warn ‘page may need to be reviewed for quality.’ I start to wonder how this course will offer a rich learning experience.
Lessons are organized into sections and at the end of many sections there is an exercise you can complete. By clicking on the exercise you are directed to another page with all of the exercises of the lesson. It can be a bit confusing to try to find the correct exercise, but at least correct answers are given. You don’t fill in anything but are supposed to write down answers and check them against a key.
The presentation of material is decent but not something I would recommend for a beginning Spanish student. For one, to get a pronunciation you have to click on a word that then redirects you to another page to click on the word again to hear the audio file. It’s a bit cumbersome, and the file is played so quickly you have to repeat it a few times to understand. I also noticed pronunciation isn’t always accurate – for example, the word ‘uno’ sounded more like ‘oh no’!
This course is best for a very motivated individual trying to learn the Spanish language on his or her own. It would require a lot of time and patience to get much out of this course, at least for a beginner. It might be better for a review for someone who took beginning Spanish a long time ago and needs a refresher.
The course differs from a traditional classroom in many ways, the least of which is lack of interaction and communication with other classmates and the teacher. It is designed to be self-taught and has only basic explanations and clarifications. I noticed a few of Marzano’s 9 strategies at work, such as Homework/Practice and Cues/Questions but overall it was very straightforward. I’m looking forward to learning how others found Open Source Courses in their field of study.
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