SPA-1010 Syllabus

to:Elementary Spanish 1, 101771

Time June 29, 2013

Elementary Spanish I
Summer II      SPA 1010-59277 (    3 credits

Profesor Donta Varney 
Oficina: FA 102 (LaPlata campus)
Teléfono: (301) 934-7508
Horas de oficina: To be announced
regular e-mail address:

Please use Blackboard email once class begins:

Course prerequisite:  None

Course description: You will practice listening to, speaking and writing in Spanish, working with basic dialogues, and writing short compositions in Spanish. You will also read about and view on video various cultural aspects of the Hispanic and Latin American world.

Course Objectives:  Upon completion of this course, you should be able to communicate in Spanish in the following ways:
·         read at a basic level
·         understand basic clearly spoken Spanish in the present tense
·         write simple compositions in the present tense and preterit (past) tense
·         have a better understanding of the Hispanic and Latin American culture

Course Requirements:
study of textbook and electronically delivered material
completion of written and spoken electronic exercises
completion of three written exams taken in a testing center (no book or notes)
viewing of Destinos videos
listening to and speaking Spanish using your text and ancillary materials daily

Required Text: Blanco, José A. and Philip R. Donley. Vistas 3rd edition. Boston: Vista Higher Learning, 2008.   Please purchase your book from the CSM bookstore or Vista Higher Learning (the publishing company).   Students who attempt to find a less expensive source usually end up starting late and often end up falling behind and withdrawing from the course. Note: All new students will be required to use Vistas 3rd edition with the Vistas electronic Supersite.  Students who are retaking SPA 1010 and have the Vistas 2nd edition text with an active pass code (they are active for 18 months) do not need to purchase a new book or code.  
FYI-Students who successfully complete SPA 1010 and wish to take SPA 1020 can do so without any additional textbook purchases as long as their text passcode is active.

Special Equipment: Microphone.  The electronic exercises in Chapter 2-6 require that you record your voice to respond to the questions or pronunciation exercises.  If your computer does not have a microphone built into it, you will need a microphone attachment for your computer.  You can experiment with earlier chapters to see if it is working.  Fairly inexpensive microphones are widely available where electronics are sold.  Mine is a microphone-headset combo.  This is a terrific tool for us to work on pronunciation.
WebCT Instructions: This is a TeleWeb course.  The “Tele” portion refers to DVD videos you will be viewing, which used to be accessible only on television.  We now have copies of the series, which students check out for the semester.  The “-Web” aspect of the course refers to the use of the Internet to access both our WebCT course page and the publisher’s site.  You will be using both of these sites to submit most assignments, to access supplemental materials, and to communicate with me and your classmates (optional).  In this course, we use WebCT to post the syllabus and schedule of coursework, to email, to post messages on the bulletin board (optional), to access the course calendar, and to view your online grade book.   The course site can be accessed from any internet-connected computer, including those at the Waldorf, PRIN, LEON, and La Plata campuses or public libraries, etc.  Note:  WebCT course sites do not become accessible until 8:00 a.m. on the first day of the class in most cases.

CSM’s WebCT Access (your “virtual classroom”):  The URL for the WebCT is  To get into the WebCT site, you will need a password and a USER ID.  Login information is provided at the above URL.  Generally, your user ID is your first and middle initial and your last name (all one word, lowercase) and your password is your student ID number.   If you have any trouble logging into WebCT (not Vista), please call the CSM Help Desk at 301-934-2251 or

Check WebCT frequently.  Students should check the course email and announcements daily.  I will check the course email daily Mondays through Fridays and occasionally on weekends.  Grades are generally posted to the online grade book within one week of receipt of the assignment. Exam delivery maybe delayed by Testing Center and mail service procedures, especially if you take an exam on the La Plata or Prince Frederick campus.

Vista’s Online activities (This refers to your textbook publisher, not WebCT).   You will be completing a significant portion of your work for this course on the textbook publisher’s Supersite. In order to access this website, you will need the code that came with your text and a course code.  The latter is provide by me and will be posted on the our WebCT SPA 1010 homepage.  You should only need to input these codes once.  Then you will set up an account with a password, which will allow you to access the electronic exercises from any internet connected computer.  Do not lose the book key code before you input it or you will have to purchase a new one from the publisher.  Keep the code where you can find it if you have problems later!  Because people try unsuccessfully to transfer and sell these valuable codes, the publisher will not replace it or reset it if you lose it.   If you have problems accessing Vista’s online material, you need to contact their help desk, not CSM’s helpdesk.

Online Assignments
In order to help you keep to a schedule, I will ask you to complete online exercises electronically for each chapter (Lecciones 1-6) by a certain date.  You may always submit early.  I will check your exercises and record your grades within one week of the last deadline for the lesson if you completed them on time.   If you submit late, the grading will probably be delayed.  Some exercises require instructor grading before the points are granted, so keep in mind that your overall score will probably increase after I have reviewed the exercises.  You will receive the full 5 points if you complete them on time with an overall score of 95% or higher.  If your score is lower, it will be multiplied by 5.  The later they are, the greater the deduction.  See below.  The exception is the last set, which must be submitted by the deadline to be counted.

Deductions for late completion of exercises for Lecciones 1-5
20% deduction
1-7 days late
40% deduction
8-14 days late
100% deduction (no points)
15 or more days

Advice about completing the exercises:
1. Know the vocabulary thoroughly before you attempt the exercises.  “Know” does not mean “glance at” or even “read carefully.”  It means if you cover up the Spanish and look at the English, you can say 80% or more of the words. This is one of the two hardest parts of completing the course.   I recommend using index cards with the English on one side and the Spanish on the other.  One word per card (or two associated words, such as opposites).
If you complete the exercises with the book open in your lap copying from the book, you are not likely to learn or retain much. Copying does not increase retention, in general.
2. Watch the tutorial (the cartoon professor) while studying the book for each grammar component (four per chapter), and then complete the exercises that go with that component.
3. Communicate with me when you don’t understand something.
4. Review the material from the last session and quiz yourself on the vocabulary before you move on to the new material.
5. Conjugate every new verb in every verb tense we learn as you go along.  Check it against the verb conjugations in the site.  Say them aloud and drill yourself regularly.

Destinos DVDs—One of the requirements of this course is that you view the Destinos episodes. (This is not the same as the short video vignettes that are part of the textbook materials.)  After you register for the class, you can pick up your Destinos set at the La Plata library or call the circulation desk (ext. 7134) and request that a set be sent to another CSM campus library nearer you. This is an excellent series, a multiple-episode drama following a Los Angeles lawyer, Raquel Rodriguez, as she attempts to help a dying client find a son he never knew he had.  The series takes you all over Spain and Latin America.  As you watch it, you will not be able to understand each word.  The actors use a full conversational vocabulary.  Your job is simply to follow the storyline and to give yourself credit for each word or phrase that you do recognize.  Relax as you watch.  Imagine that you are Raquel’s English-speaking cousin who is traveling with her to keep her company.  I have no graded assignments associated with the tapes, but I do have simple questions on the exams that require knowledge of episodes.  It adds up to as much as 10% of your exam grade.  I would like you to take notes about the story as it unfolds.  For example, know who each of the main characters are and what cities they travel to.  The questions on the exam will not require 100% understanding of the dialogue to answer.  Enjoy this well-produced series.  I believe you will be given the series on DVDs.  One of the advantages of this format over the VHS version is that you should be able to turn on the Spanish subtitles, so you can read the Spanish as well as hearing it.   It is also available on streaming video accessible by any Internet-ready computer.  See the link in the our WebCT page.

Exams—You will have three required exams during the semester.  The first covers chapters 1 and 2.  The second covers 3 and 4.  The third covers chapters 5 and 6.  I will include questions about the Destinos series in the exams as well.  You must take the exams in the testing center on the campus of your choice.  Waldorf does not have a testing center. Prince Frederick requires an appointment at this time to schedule time to take the exam. You may use pencil or pen and scratch paper.  You will have 2 hours to complete the exam.  You must bring your student ID and a photo ID to take a test at the testing center.   Remember to allow enough time before the center closes to take the exam, particularly if you are taking them on the Prince Frederick campus.  If you are driving a distance, I recommend that you call the testing center to make sure it is open when you expect it to be.  I have a link to the Testing Center’s webpage on my WebCT site.

Exam and Final Make-up Policy—The syllabus schedule (on the WebCT site) shows the deadlines for taking the tests.  You will have one week window to take the exam.  After that week, the exams will remain in the testing center for an additional week, but a late penalty of 20% will be incurred.  No excuses are required.  I understand that you guys have complicated lives.  That is why I make them available for an extra week.  After week two, though, they are removed from the Testing Center and are no longer be available.

Practice sentences—You will translate sentences from English to Spanish on the exam.  To help you practice and prepare, you will find a similar set posted on the WebCT site reflecting the vocabulary and grammatical structures we are learning for the lessons you will be tested on.  Complete the translations following the instructions and check your answers carefully against the answer key included with the sentences.  You may call or email me for guidance with any of these sentences before the exam.  I would suggest you begin work on them at least a week before you take the exam.  Use the text vocabulary and not a dictionary or translation software to complete these sentences.  They are specifically designed to exercise your knowledge of the required vocabulary.  You will not submit the sentences to me.

Listening and Speaking (Oral Exam)   You will be tested on your listening comprehension, pronunciation and sentence structure throughout the semester using the recorded online exercises.  Toward the end of the semester we will complete an oral exam together usually via telephone.  The oral exam will consist of a passage you read aloud and a series of question I will ask you in Spanish that you will answer in Spanish.  A list of questions reflecting the type I ask is posted on the web page.   In addition, you will receive 1 points for each of five chapters you recorded answers for (Lecciones 2-6)

Grading for the course—Your grade is based on the following:

1.   Exams (3 @ 20 pts. each)
60 pts.
2.  Online exercises for chapters 1-6 (6 @ 5 pts. each)
30 pts.
3. Recorded exercises (1 pts. for ea. lección)
5 pts.
4. Oral test
5 pts.
100 pts.

Final grades are based on this traditional scale:

90-100 pts = A     80-89 pts = B            70-79 pts = C           60-69 pts = D     0-59 pts = F
Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact Disabled Student Services in the Learning Assistance Department (301) 934-7614 as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Academic Honesty—Although receiving guidance from someone with superior knowledge of Spanish is acceptable, allowing someone else to do your work is an academic violation.  Don’t submit another person's work as your own.  Read the college policy on academic honesty in the Student Handbook for full details.

Terms of audit—To switch from audit to credit, you must have completed all the graded assignments to that point.

Unauthorized Persons—Only registered students are permitted in the classrooms or testing centers while classes are in session.  See the Student Handbook for details.

General Education Values incorporated in this course—At the end of this course, you should have practiced the skills and expanded the categories of knowledge listed below:

conceive ideas, select materials, and organize contents effectively for a purpose
set study goals and priorities to attain stated course objectives
plan for completion of both long-term and short-term assignments
prepare for different types of examination  or evaluations
adapt to a variety of methods of instruction
locate and use resources outside the classroom
ask pertinent questions
accept constructive criticism and learn from it
interpret, analyze, and evaluate spoken messages
recognize cultural diversity in others
know about major cultures, religions, and ethnic groups
have an awareness of philosophies and religions and their influence on culture
understand that cultures are influenced by myths, rituals, and shared beliefs

¡Bienvenidos y que tengan un gran semestre!
Welcome and have a great semester

Below is a list of topics covered during the semester.  Specific dates and assignments will be available on the updated syllabus posted on the course SPA 1010 WebCT site.

Weeks 1-2:  Introduction to the course.  Begin e-exercises for Lección 1:  Nouns and articles, Numbers 0-30, Present tense of ser, Telling time
Weeks 3-4: Complete Lección 1 and begin Lección 2: Present tense of –ar verbs, Forming questions in Spanish, Present tense estar, Numbers 31-100  Exam I:  Lección 1 and 2
Weeks 5-6: Lección 3: Descriptive adjective, possessive adjectives, Present tense of –er and –ir verbs, Present tense of tener and venir
Weeks 7-8:  Present tense of ir, Stem-changing verbs, Verbs with irregular yo form and Exam II:  Lección 3 and 4
Weeks 9-10: Lección 5: Estar with conditions and emotions, Present progressive, Ser versus Estar, Direct Object Nouns and Pronouns
Weeks 11-13:  Lección 6: Numbers 101 and higher, indirect object pronouns, Preterite tense of regular verbs, demonstrative adjectives and pronouns
Week 14:  Exam 3: Lecciónes 5 and 6
The specific course schedule for Summer 2013will be available on the course BlackBoard page on the first day of classes.

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