"Atlas francophone" is a section of a larger website devoted to providing factual information on countries. In the "Atlas francophone" users will find information on all French-speaking countries and on various aspects of each country, such as demography, resources, economy, geography, etc. Most information is quantitative and/or factual (date of independence; name of current chief of state, etc). More detailed information on the labels and categories used on the site can be found by clicking the last button "Sources et Infos", which links to brief descriptions of each item from the table of contents. A comprehensive online atlas of the Francophone world.
Type of Material:
Reference: data on French-speaking countries.
Resource for data in research on specific areas of French-speaking countries.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Develop cultural awareness; study and compare Francophone countries among themselves and with other countries around the world. Users can learn all kinds of practical information on the Francophone states, from their geographical location to the political, social and economical structures of the countries.
Target Student Population:
Intermediate and advanced students in culture and language courses; native speakers and graduate students researching a subject in the domain of Francophonie.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
One semester of French minimum and basic French reading proficiency .
"Atlas francophone" offers data on a broad range of subjects. The choice of information is relevant to the field of study and the facts are up to date. The site is divided in folders and subfolders (e.g./"Afrique"/ /"tous pays"/ or /"Francophonie"/) and is easy to navigate from one area to another.
Users may find the content of the Atlas limited compared to other similar online resources.
Physical representation of the countries as well as their situation on the globe would be nice additions.Actual photo images of the countries would be a great enhancement. These could be accessed by clicking on the "images" button.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
"Atlas francophone" is simple in its presentation and rich in its content without being overwhelming. It can be used in class in culture or language courses dealing with French-speaking countries. Students preparing research papers, theses or presentations will find here valuable information in very short time. In intermediate and advanced language courses, teachers can design writing exercises that use the data as a basis (see assignment in MERLOT). Having the name for the inhabitants of each country is a welcome feature. Many students of French spend time researching the names of inhabitants of countries in an ever changing geographical landscape. Some of the name changes happen faster than print dictionaries can adjust. The addition of recent Olympic medal winners is an interesting statistic as well.
In some descriptions abbreviated words and telegraphic style (e.g. missing preposition) that make the text shorter may be difficult to understand for non-native readers. The texts cannot be recommended as examples of good writing to FSL learners who have no experience of this kind of style.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This website has a clear and consistent design. There are only a few steps to learn to become totally familiar with all the features. There are no cluttered pages. The information is up to date and easy to access. The website is optimized for both Explorer and Netscape.
It would be interesting to have links to the sources of the information presented.
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