The Week's News In Simplified Standard Russian presents authentic Russian news adopted for college level Russian students. The news cycle covered is a work week - Monday through Friday. The site provides soundtracks of Russian news told at a slightly slower rate of speech, pre-listening background information and exercises, vocabulary support, post-listening activities such as interactive exercises, and written scripts.
Type of Material:
Soundtracks, written scripts, vocabulary lists with translations and explanations, listening comprehension exercises (fill in, multiple choice, and questions on general meaning and details).
The site is intended to be used by medium/high intermediate students of Russian, but it can be used successfully by college professors/instructors as well as by high school students and teachers.
In order to read Russian text, one needs KOI8-R or Cyrillic (Windows) fonts installed on the computer and browser. To listen to the sound tracks, one needs one of the sound devices such as RealPlayer of Windows Media Player.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Learners will strengthen their listening comprehension and reading skills by listening the news and doing the exercises.
Target Student Population:
Students with intermediate and high intermediate proficiency in Russian will find this site an indispensable source of practical, real life material.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
To use this site, one needs at least one year of college level Russian.
Evaluation and Observation
This site is an excellent ?bridge? from listening to adapted Russian texts to listening and understanding authentic Russian news. If used on a regular basis, this site can improve students? listening comprehension and/or reading skills and increase vocabulary drastically. Not only does this site provide soundtracks but also some pre- and post-listening activities, which would certainly help students understand and memorize the material well.The great advantage of this site is that words from the vocabulary lists are used in questions and interactive exercises. This certainly helps students to internalize new words.
Several grammatical errors were found, such as use of the second person singular and second person plural imperative forms in the same sentence.The True/False (Yes/No) exercises do not have an adequate explanation on how to use them, which can be confusing for users. Verbs on vocabulary lists are presented in pairs (Imperfective/Perfective); however, there is no pattern - Imperfective or Perfective - is written first. Traditionally, Imperfective verbs take the first place. However, in general, this site is an excellent educational material.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site is an excellent tool for improving and further developing students? listening comprehension skills. Both students and faculty as well as teaching assistants can benefit from this site. It can be used in class and as a part of homework. It can be used for student independent study or some individual, group or class projects.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
It is easy to navigate this site because it has a very simple structure. All the labels, buttons, menus, and text are consistent and distinct. The home page provides information on the purpose of the site,
possible audience, timeframe, and suggestions for listening. The creators of this site use colors as labels. The vocabulary lists have a light yellow background and the exercises are written on light pink background.
The only concern is the use of colors and font size. Background colors for vocabulary lists and exercises should be lighter. It would make them easier to read. In addition, font size might be slightly bigger.