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Spanish Conversations RCOL 190-01

Spanish Conversations

This course was funded through a grant for the NY6 Teagle Blended Learning Project. For more information about this project, navigate to the NY6 web site.

Collaborators:

  • Alvaro Llosa Sanz, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Hispanic Studies
  • Juliet Boisselle, Director, Digital Learning Center, IT Services
  • Deborah Rasmussen, Digital Learning Consultant, IT Services

Goals and Objectives:

  • Develop and practice a blended learning set of tools and activities for an Advanced Spanish language and culture course
  • Develop student’s listening and oral proficiency to prepare them for the Spanish Oral Proficiency Interview which will be a mandatory test in 2016
  • Offer students an opportunity to practice an authentic mode of communication in order to prepare for the Spanish Oral Proficiency Interview

Virtual Classroom Toolkit:

Web Ex interface
  • Canvas
  • Canvas Discussion Forums, web-based video capture
  • Webex web conference platform

Student Feedback (surveyed):

Students appreciated freedom of space:

"It’s a fun way to learn and it's nice to be able to choose the best atmosphere for one’s learning, whether in your dorm or the library, etc."
"My favorite part about the online sessions are that I can be wherever I want on campus (based on how) I feel... the flexibility and mobility that we have is pretty great."

The web conferencing format leveled the playing field:

"Being in a comfortable space helped me feel less anxious when speaking with other people. It takes off that pressure where you feel like everyone else is looking at you like in regular class."
Web Ex
"Having a class that was mainly done virtually added a bit of a comfort in that I wasn’t necessarily speaking to 20 people sitting in desks looking at me. I was in the privacy of my own room when speaking, so I think it made me a bit braver and I had a little more confidence."

Conclusions:

  • To reduce and avoid tech issues, a one-to-one training session with a Digital Learning Team member is highly recommended prior to, or during the first week of classes with technical support in close proximity during the second week of classes.
  • Using the same technology tools every week was beneficial for the professor and the students in building familiarity and confidence.
  • Flexibility on space when participating online proves to offer the best personal atmosphere for all. Students especially appreciated the ability to connect to the web conference individually from any location and record their videos in Canvas at a time and place convenient for them.
  • Everyone felt comfortable using the web conference platform and students expressed that it reduced the anxiety some experience when talking in a classroom setting. Small groups of <8 (or divided groups) are highly recommended for the most engaging virtual conversation.
 

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.