It is the sheer number of resources in this site that make it a particularly useful resource for Brazilian area studies. Great effort has been made to be comprehensive in the choice of sites. There is also a particular sensitivity to the contributions of all cultures In Brazil: the indigenous, African and European cultures.
o Skills area(s) addressed: Speaking, Reading, Writing and Culture o Learning outcomes: Students of Brazilian Studies will find a wide range of research materials in forty categories. Students of Portuguese will find authentic reading and cultural materials. o Target language used: Most external links are in Portuguese, some in English. o Scoring: There is scoring in quizzes and tests in the language pages. o Region/dialect: Mostly Brazilian Portuguese with some Iberianlinks o Technical requirements: Some external sites may require plug-ins. o Links to outside resources: This site is entirely made up of a collection of external sites. o Other: Links are classified by topic and alphabetized, but not annotated.
There are official sites along side personal pages of cultural interest. The section entitled Research is long and comprehensive. The language category is among the longest, providing a wide range of authentic and semi-authentic materials for the student of the Portuguese language. There is a separate section on Portuguese language search engines and another on dictionaries. Students will profit greatly from the Michaelis online dictionary. There is a category for virtual chat, promoting communication between scholars. Other categories such as cooking, music and entertainment provide raw materials for a complete virtual visit to Brazil.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
It would be very easy for an instructor to write learning assignments around the links in the Brazilian Studies Guide. Indeed, it would be possible to design a whole distance learning course around its links. The motivated self-directed learner, especially one who specializes in Brazilian Studies, could conduct research quite easily at this site. A student who is less skilled in self- directed learning would benefit from more annotation of links, definition of categories and instructions for use. It is clear, however, that an able instructor could integrate the site into classroom activities. The possibilities for teacher-designed and independent work on listening skills practice abound due to the large number of links to media.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Not a visually elegant site, the clean white background gives the central page a very functional look. The author states that the links are chosen for the primary use of her students of Brazilian studies and Portuguese language and are updated frequently throughout the school year, according to instructional needs. The links are alphabetically-arranged in tables, with a link to the top after every table. The navigation scheme is simple and clear.
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