FLL offers Honors Spanish students live tutoring from Costa Rica
Prof. Michael Schinasi, the Department’s leader in the use of Centra for live DE Spanish instruction, has long wanted to find a way to offer students both a fourth day of instruction in 1001-1004 and a way to use the relatively low cost expertise of native speaking tutors in foreign countries to improve student language proficiency. He proposed to Jim Gehlhar in the Office of International Affairs a one semester experiment in hiring live DE tutors from ILISA language school in Costa Rica. Thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gehlar’s office, the department is able to offer an honors section of Spanish 1004 in Spring 2013. In this course students are refining their command of the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish. Readings further acquaint students with the life, literature, and cultures of the Hispanic world. Unlike other sections of Spanish 1004, the honors section has an additional required lab that is a graded part of the course. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays students have face to face meetings with their ECU professor, Alberto González-Valdés, and in their lab on Tuesdays and Thursdays they use Centra web conferencing from their own computer to meet with a tutor in Costa Rica. In their videoconference with Costa Rica students are receiving additional practice in oral communication, reading and clarification of difficult grammatical structures. The intent of this course is to promote a very high level of proficiency in Spanish to prepare students for foreign study or upper division work as majors or minors.