This website consists of ten lessons arranged by topics with a variety of exercises for each lesson.
Type of Material:
As a supplement to third and fourth year courses in modern Chinese
IE 5.5 or later, Shockwave Player 8.0 or later, Flash Player 5.0 or later, RealPlayer 8.0 Basic or later, and Chinese Input Method Editor (IME).
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To improve the learners listening, reading, and writing skills through exercises based on authentic material.
Target Student Population:
Target students range from first to third/fourth year and beyond, with most exercises suitable for second/third year students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Most students should have studied at least 2 years of Chinese and preferably 2.5 or 3 years to handle all the exercises. Few of the exercises are suitable for beginners.
Evaluation and Observation
A broad range of topics is covered, from traditional zodiac animals to contemporary migrant workers problems and military tensions between China and the U.S. Among the ten lessons, the one on Olympic sports is perhaps the most sensitive as students who wish to watch Chinese-language broadcasts of the upcoming Olympics in Beijing might complete such exercises so as to extend their vocabulary in the area of Olympic sports. The interactive exercises give learners feedback on correct and incorrect responses.
The homepage should contain more information such as a welcoming statement or the goal of this learning website. The playback requirements link should provide more description so that users are alerted right from the start to follow the detailed instructions on technical requirements. This is especially important given the various software programs that are required to play the audio and video clips available on this site. Additionally, the level of difficulty in the exercises is not very consistent, with exercises at the fourth-year level (especially the written-style language excerpts) and some at the first/second-year level.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The objectives of each lesson are presented, and a variety of innovative exercises are included in each lesson. Selected exercises can be used by the instructor as homework assignments or as group activities to supplement classroom teaching, particularly in the areas of reading and, to some extent, writing.
Instructors themselves must be able to guide students in setting up the technical/playback requirements, which appear to be more complicated than most learning websites. Additionally,
this site will be much more useful if a traditional-character version is available.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Navigation is easy with the help of the tabs and other navigational aids. The graphics are authentic and attractive, and the audio/video clips are clear. Furthermore, the exercises provide immediate feedback, the reading passages are glossed, and users can type Chinese characters relatively easily with the IME.
A good amount of memory space and a fast Internet connection are required to listen to the audios and view the videos effectively. Contact information should also be available on the homepage.