On Monday I took another step toward improving my Spanish by enrolling in the online course “Fundamentos de la escritura en español” (Fundamentals of Writing in Spanish.) Mexico’s prestigious Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey is offering it for free through the learning website Coursera.
The course will be a welcome review of spelling, grammar and punctuation. When writing in Spanish I find myself applying English usage to things like parentheses, commas, hyphens and semicolons, simply because I either never learned the correct ways to use them in Spanish or I have forgotten them!
This is my first time taking part in a massive open online course, or MOOC, and I’m interested to see what it will be like to interact with instructors and other classmates online. When I was young none of my college classes were online, but a lot has changed since I started college in 2003! My best friend has a degree in architecture from Tecnológico, so I’m excited to connect with her school in a small way.
This morning I took the 34-question initial diagnostic test. It doesn’t count toward my final grade, but it’s a way for the instructors see which things I already know and which things I need to work on. I got a 27.6/34, and hey, that’s a good place to start. I made some mistakes with prepositions, and that’s one of the things I hope to improve upon.
I also watched our first video for the class, Etapas de un alumno en la modalidad virtual, (Student Stages in a Virtual Setting) which describes adjusting to online learning in a way that sounds hilariously like the stages of grief!
There are only a couple hard deadlines in the course, so if you are interested go ahead and enroll; you can likely catch up to wherever we are. The first “real” lesson doesn’t even open until August 18th.
If I’m reading everything correctly, you can do all the exercises at any time up until November 16th when the course ends, except there will be one assignment in which you review the work of your classmates. That will have a hard deadline which hasn’t been announced yet, but I imagine it will be toward the end of the course.
Wish me luck!