This module is intended for first year students of the Chinese Language Program at the University of Iowa. However, users who are beginners of Mandarin Chinese can make use of this site. The site addresses basic skills in tones, initials, and finals of the Chinese pinyin system. Users have opportunities to listen, model, write, and test their skills. Since the module is designed for beginners, English is used for the most part. There is no scoring, but there is instant feedback on correct and incorrect answers. There is a quiz as for all users, and UI students can take a test if they have a password.
Target Student Population:
Beginning learners of Chinese
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Type of Material:
Evaluation and Observation
The module is well focused and has a clear purpose. Practice exercises include listening and writing pinyin. The test at the end is especially useful.
The sound is sometimes not very clear, especially the male voice. The fonts are quite small and not user-friendly.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The module is very useful as a teaching and learning resource for students. They can use it independently at their own pace. They can also check their progress by taking the quiz or test. Teachers can integrate this module into classroom practice or use it as a homework assignment. The sections on tones, initials, and finals are clearly divided for practice of different linguistic skills.
Besides increasing the audio quality and font size, it is recommended that the words in the exercises be chosen so that they are useful for future tasks, e.g., learning vocabulary in lessons. Relevant images should be included in the module to make this learning site more interesting for students.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The technical aspects are consistent across the various sections of the module. Immediate feedback is also provided for the exercises. Navigation is relatively easy. The module also invites feedback from users through a survey. It also includes an e-mail contact in case of problems.
To make the module more engaging for users, there should be relevant images such as Chinese linguistic or cultural symbols and more use of color.