Walters State Community College offers over 100 online classes, but one planned for spring semester may raise a few eyebrows – Beginning Spanish.
Learning a foreign language doesn’t require a traditional classroom. Indeed, an online setting is perfect for many students, especially high school students who want to take the class as a dual enrollment course.
Dual enrollment courses give both high school and college credit.
But what about learning correct pronunciation online? Michelle Mitrik, associate professor of Spanish at Walters State, has already solved that issue.
“Students will make audio recordings and drop them into the online course e-mail. I’ll also be talking with students individually through Adobe Connect,” Mitrik explained. Students will not need to purchase the software, but may use it free during the class.
“Often, in the classroom, you don’t have that much conversation time with individual students. Teaching it online will make sure that each student receives the interaction needed and has plenty of opportunities to practice speaking,” Mitrik said.
With the class offered online, anyone can take the class from anywhere. All you need is a computer with Internet access and earphones or a headset. Students near a Walters State campus can even access those on campus.
For Mitrik, teaching online presents a welcome challenge.
“I know many people think you can’t learn a foreign language online. I’ve had several students who taught themselves enough Spanish online to be placed in an intermediate Spanish course. I know it can be done and, for some students, the online option could even be better,” Mitrik said.
Mitrik said online Spanish is a good choice for individuals who are nervous about beginning to speak a foreign language. While providing plenty of practice, online classes do not have the sometimes nerve-wracking moments of uttering the first words to a classroom of people. Instead, students are talking only with Mitrik.
Above all, the online course offers a convenient and affordable way for individuals to learn a foreign language. And that’s one of the main goals for Mitrik, a former Peace Corps volunteer.
Spring registration for Walters State begins Nov. 12. For information about enrolling high school students as a dual enrollment course, contact Frank Umbarger at (423) 585-6989. For more information about the class, contact Mitrik at (423) 585-6930 or Michelle.Mitrik@ws.edu.
In the picture: Michelle Mitrik, associate professor of Spanish, will be teaching Spanish online at Walters State Community College next spring.