Applied Spanish Grammar

Purpose: to help other instructors teaching the same course

Common Course ID: Span 3305 - Applied Spanish Grammar
CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait

About the Course

Applied Spanish Grammar - Span 3305

Brief Description of course highlights:  

Span 3305: Applied Spanish Grammar covers covers the grammatical structures of Spanish in the linguistic areas of phonetics and phonology (sounds), morphology (word structure), and syntax (clause and sentence structure) with a discussion of some contrasts between Spanish and English.
It requires analysis, discussion, and practical application of linguistic principles to the analysis of the Spanish language.

Official description with pre-requisites from bulletin: Semester Prerequisite: SPAN 2112 or SPAN 2252. Quarter Prerequisite: SPAN 302. A detailed study of the grammatical structures of Spanish (phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax). Includes an overview of methods and materials used for teaching Spanish. Requires analysis, discussion in class, and practical application of linguistic principles to the analysis of the Spanish language. Materials fee required.

Student population:
Learning or student outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the building blocks of Spanish grammar
  2. Interpret the grammatical structure of the Spanish language and compare it to that of English
  3. Apply the techniques of linguistic analysis in Spanish
  4. Analyze the phonetics, morphology, and syntax of the Spanish language

Key challenges faced and how resolved

The main challenges included finding and selecting materials to maximize fair use of copyright materials and to program/upload all the details to the course management system. For the workbook exercises I adapted and created my own and had to program everything into the class management system. I also complemented the material with video lectures. Overall, a lot of work went into building the course and I spent 150+ hours on it. So, the main challenge is that this is extremely time-consuming.

About the Resource/Textbook 

Student access:  

Students access all materials via Blackboard Ultra. Textbook excerpts (from various books) are provided as scanned PDF files (maximum of 10% or one chapter per textbook). All relevant websites as well as all activities are accessed via direct links from the class management system as well. Quizlet links are also provided via Blackboard Ultra.

To create the course with new zero-cost implementation, I worked with an instructional designer to design this fully online asynchronous course. This involved checking accessibility for the entire course as well as to make sure that pedagogical strategies support all learners. For instance, the materials is provided in different ways: video lectures, powerpoint slides, excerpts of textbooks, relevant websites, and the course includes optional self-assessments for students so that they can test their knowledge before completing any exercises or exams. Moreover, all materials have passed an accessibility and ADA compliance check.

All technologies are readily available for students and integrated into the class management system. There is no need for students to purchase any additional technology. 

The syllabus includes the following diversity statement: Statement of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity: It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength, and benefit. All students are welcome, and all students belong in this class regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, political stance, religion, citizenship, or immigration status whether the status is documented or undocumented. If your name and/or pronouns differ from those on your college record, please let me know. If anything in the course content, lectures, or discussions prevents you from engaging in the course in the richest way possible, please let me know by email or other method.

Cost Savings:

The estimated savings for students are $110-$160 (depending on whether they purchased a new or used edition in the past). The class enrollment is 25 students.

Previous cost:

  • Old textbook: Milton Azevedo. 2009. Introducción a la lingüística española, 3ra. edición. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 13: 978-0-205-64704-0. $50-$80
  • Old workbook: González Flores, Francisca y Milton M. Azevedo. 2009. Workbook: Introducción a la lingüística española.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice. ISBN 978-0-2056-4706-4. $40-$60
  • Old second textbook: Spinelli, Emily. 2007. English Grammar for Students of Spanish. 6th Edition. The Olivia and Hill Press. ISBN 978-0-934034-36-4. $20

Current cost: $0.

OER/Low Cost Adoption

OER/Low Cost Adoption Process

Provide an explanation or what motivated you to use this textbook or OER/Low Cost option.

Students always struggle with purchasing textbooks and sometimes do not acquire a textbook for a class at all due to their financial struggles and therefore fall behind in class. Moreover, for this class we were only using 4 chapters out of the textbook (out of a total of 12 chapters), so students had to purchase an expensive book that was only partially used. In addition, the workbook did not have a digital version and students had to scan their filled-out workbook pages for this fully online class.

How did you find and select the open textbook for this course? 

I searched for a variety of sources covering the original textbook chapters. I also searched for multiple textbooks with similar contents to maximize fair use of copyrighted materials. This allowed me to share chapters/pages of several different textbooks with students at no cost. This entailed web searches and bibliographical research.

What did you change as part of the OER adoption?

I changed all the materials for the new adoption and made all materials available via the class management system. I also ensured that the materials are fully aligned with the learning outcomes, the activities, and the assessments. I also created video lectures to supplement the reading materials and I provided useful weblinks as additional resources for certain topics. I also created several sets of quizlet flashcards for students to review key terms and concepts.

Teaching and Learning Impact

  • Do you collaborate more with other faculty now or use a broader range of teaching materials and methodologies, etc.? Not really, I did not collaborate with other faculty to create the course or materials. However, I did learn from faculty on campus during the showcase.
  • Have student grades improved or stayed the same? I would say that they have improved but given our current situation: first year on semesters and the pandemic, it is not possible to compare student performance to previous iterations of this course.
  • Did student retention improve? I would say student retention is about the same but again given our current situation: first year on semesters and the pandemic, it is not possible to compare student retention to previous iterations of this course.
  • Did you experience any unintended results? What were they? I can’t think of any unintended results.

Student Feedback or Participation

Students are happy to have a zero-cost class and are generally able to follow the course well. Completion of activities (and especially the current equivalent of the workbook activities) is better, since students do not have to purchase an expensive workbook. Also, the digital format allows for immediate feedback on some activities, which students appreciate.

Sharing Best Practices: 

My suggestions for faculty would be to choose one course each year where they wish to incorporate substantial changes and work toward a zero-cost materials course. Since this is a very time-consuming task, focusing on a single course at a time will help to stay focused and get the task accomplished. Once completed, the zero-cost course can be taught many times with only minor updates. If you create your own materials, such as videos, for instance, make sure to record them in a generic manner so that they can be re-used for multiple sections of a course. The recording of video lecture can be time-consuming and does not need to be repeated, if the content does not change. I have shared my experiences at our annual Affordable Learning Solutions Faculty Showcase in April 2021. Here are some of of the online resources I have used or created for this course.


Sample Quizlet: 

About the Instructor

Carmen Jany

California State University, San Bernardino

Carmen Jany is a professor of Spanish and Linguistics at CSUSB and teaches courses in Spanish at all levels, as well as courses in Linguistic Anthropology. Over the past two decades, Prof. Jany has taught first-year, second-year, upper division language, linguistics, culture, and for the professions Spanish courses, as well as graduate Spanish courses in Second Language Acquisition. Her research focuses on Native American Languages in the United States and in Latin America.

Span 3305 is an upper-division Spanish linguistics course. It is mandatory for all concentrations in the Spanish Major, as well as for students in Liberal Studies and the BCLAD program with a concentration in Spanish. It is a key course for students who plan to become Spanish teachers at any level. Usually, students take this course at the Junior Level, although many Liberal Studies and BCLAD students are Seniors when taking this class.