FREN 105

Fall Semester 2004

Paris - Le Louvre

FREN 105 Elementary French

An Online Course




Mr. David Westenskow


College of Arts and Sciences


Montana State University - Northern

Office and mailing address

159 Quebec St.  Unit B
Denver, CO 80220

Office phone

(303) 320-1766

Office hours






French in Action (text and workbook)

Instructor's e-mail address  

Class e-mail address

Instructor's Home Page


Grading Scale





80 - 92



67 - 79



50 - 66



below 50

Grade Distribution



30 % for the take-home exams

30% for the mid-term

30% for the final


Homework, Participation


FREN 105 Elementary French is a two semester first-year college French  course.  Both semesters carry the same number, and the following statements apply to both first and second semester. The second semester will pick up where the first semester ends.

"Attendance" and Participation

Obviously, since this in an Internet course, we will not be holding regular class meetings. However, you will be required to submit homework assignments and take exams in a timely manner. 

Various details on class assignments and exams will be determined by class progress and will be announced or distributed throughout the semester. You are expected to check e-mail daily and to be aware of assignments and deadlines. 

University language classes differ considerably from high school classes in which most of the work is done in the classroom. The "rule of thumb" for university classes is for students to spend two hours working outside of class for every hour spent in class. Since we will not be holding regular classes, you should plan to work approximately 12 hours a week.  Some of you might get by with less; some might need more. 

I recommend that you spread your work out over the week for maximum benefit and that you try to do your French study in several short study periods instead of just a few lengthy sessions.  The human mind will absorb only so much in a given period of time.  

The overall quality of the course will depend on your performance as well as mine.


Our text, French in Action, is designed for two years of college French. We will, therefore, cover approximately one-fourth of the book each semester or approximately a lesson per week.  We will start out rather slowly (to get a good base established and then pick up the pace through the semester.  A schedule for the semester can be found online, but the published schedule may be altered for a variety of reasons.  Schedule details will be sent out periodically, and  the online schedule will reflect any changes.  Check it at least every week for updates. 

First Semester French Schedule

Grading Scale

A - Students who excel in the class will receive an A. This excellence will be reflected in regular attention to assignments, participation in chat and discussion sessions, and very high test scores that show an overall mastery of the material.

B - Students who participate regularly and have test scores in the 80's and low 90's will receive a B in the course. This performance level is very good, but doesn't demonstrate the mastery and attention to detail required for an A.

C - This grade is given to students who are doing generally good work (learning 2/3 to 4/5 of the course material), but who demonstrate numerous deficiencies in vocabulary and grammar.

D - This is the lowest passing grade. It is given to students who learn 1/2 to 2/3 of the course material, but who have serious problems understanding and expressing themselves in  French.

F - Students who consistently score below 50% will not be given a passing grade and should consider dropping the class if they are unable to improve their performance through tutorial assistance and increased study time.

Although I might appear to be somewhat stingy with my A's, several students each semester manage to meet my criteria. On the other hand, you shouldn't mistake my apparent generosity on the lower end of the grading scale for an easy time. You will still need to put in considerable study time to earn a C or D in the class. Learning even half of the material covered requires considerable study, and a D grade is far from a gift.


We will cover approximately one lesson per week and will have a take-home exam over each lesson.  These exams will be submitted to me electronically.  Mid-term and final exams will be taken in a traditional exam setting and will be mailed to me.  

Grades will be based on what is actually learned and not on how much time is spent doing exercises to hand in. This does not mean that homework is not an important part of the learning process, but that the important thing is learning the material, not simply finding answers, copying, and handing in.

All exams will be comprehensive to an extent. Although major emphasis will be placed on the current lesson, any material from a previous exam may be included. Consequently, frequent review is not a bad idea.

Note that 90% of your grade will be based on the exams. Some consideration will be given to homework and participation (10% of the grade), but the major emphasis will be placed on what is actually learned, not on how much time is spent doing exercises.  There is, however, a direct correlation between time spent on homework and test scores, so you will be getting credit for your effort as that effort translates into results.

Wanting to give you some flexibility in the course, I will allow you to submit take-home exams one week late without penalty.  For each additional week that you need to take an exam, however, there will be an automatic 10% penalty.  If the mid-term exam is taken late, there will be a 10% reduction per week.  The final exam may not be taken late.

Withdrawal from Class

Students must officially withdraw from any class that they stop attending. Instructors cannot do it for them. Any student whose name appears on the grade sheet at the end of the semester must receive a grade. Every semester I am forced to give an F grade to those students who did not do the appropriate paper work for withdrawal.