I took an Elementary French I course through the Open Learning Initiative. I have been to France several times and am planning on going back in the next year. However, I took Spanish in high school and stumbled around France using that knowledge and a smile. I have often talked about taking a French class to help me on my future travels. So, I thought this was a great opportunity. While I only took the first lesson in this course, I think I will be revisiting it.
This course is offered to students and to independent adults. Students are led by an instructor, while adults are self-led. This course is designed to take 15 weeks and students should expect to spend 6-8 hours per week. Since this is not an instructor led course, learners do have the option to lengthen the time spend as needed. This is a great option for busy adults who are hoping to further themselves and learn something new. While an open course can be a great option, it is not the best option for everyone. You really need to be a dedicated student who is motivated to learn the material and invest the required time.
After creating an account, I was able to explore the site a little more freely. I found it quite easy to navigate and was able to begin my class rather quickly. The course syllabus is easy to find and use. Each item has a link to the materials and assignments for that section. Each assignment has a short video to watch accompanied by questions. Students listen to the spoken language and answer questions about what they heard. They are then encouraged to practice speaking and writing the language. I realized that I was familiar with the words for introductions, but found that spelling the words was a bit more difficult. I liked that I was given several opportunities to practice and learned that I can always come back to a section and practice more.
I think a great piece of this course is the ability to hear the language spoken. A downfall is not having someone to practice with. Learning a new language is such an auditory skill that it requires having someone also familiar with the language to converse with. Not knowing anyone who speaks French fluently, the first opportunity I will have to try out my skills is when I visit France.