Taking an Online Language Class: a CDL Student Perspective

By Julie Ogiba, student, Center for Distance Learning

April 11, 2011

“Parlez-vous français? J’ai aimé apprendre à parler français! (Do you speak French? I liked learning to speak French!)”

An option for students attending SUNY Empire State College is to engage in learning a foreign language. There are many ways to get credit for foreign language which include passing a Regent’s-level exam or taking a foreign language equivalency test. The Center for Distance Learning also offers foreign language studies online.

I must say I was quite nervous when I signed up to study French 1 online. I did have to fulfill my foreign language requirement, so I took a deep breath and readied myself for the challenge. I ordered the required books and CDs and nervously awaited their arrival. When my materials came, I dutifully downloaded the iSpeak French iTunes onto my iPod – very cool and a fun, easy way to learn French!

Before classes began I had to make sure that my computer was properly configured to support Elluminate, the software program that allows students to chat online with instructors and other students.

When my class began, I learned that I would not only have an introduction in speaking and writing French, but that I would also learn about French culture and its modern day applications. For example, one assignment asked students to look up French real-estate sites in a Francophone country and pick a house they would like to buy. I chose une petite et jolie maison (a small, pretty house).

Despite being nervous about speaking French online with my instructors and the other students, I found it exciting that I had actually two professors, my primary instructor and a teaching assistant who helped with online conversations.

I highly recommend taking an online foreign language class. I now have command of enough basic French to hold a conversation that could last several minutes and I feel confident in what I say and write in French. Vous prenez soin de vous et bonne chance! (Take care and good luck!)

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