Messages - First Semester French - Fall 2004

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8-31-04

8-31-04

9-3-04

9-4-04

9-6-04

9-9-04

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8-31-04

Good morning, I am still working on acquiring e-mail addresses and trying to make contact with all of you. Of the 19 people currently enrolled in the class, I have heard from only 9. If you haven't contacted me, please do so right away. You should also let me know if you are not on campus in Havre so that I can send materials to you at your home address. Those on campus will pick up materials from Christine Muller in 105 Cowan Hall.

As I have already mentioned to some of you, it usually takes a week or so to get all of these "housekeeping" chores taken care of and to to introduce you to my online materials and the way I want you to communicate with me. As a result, I won't even ask you to start doing any work in French until next week, and I won't ask you to submit any homework assignments until the end of next week. I have a tentative schedule online as well as other materials that you should be reading. Just go to my "Useful Pages" page at http://www.westenskow.net/useful.html and read go through each of the links.

Please contact me if you have questions at any point.

Because of changes in the examination services available to me on campus, I am revising the study guides (Plans) and my homework assignments, but what is currently online will still give you a general idea of how I approach the lessons. I will also provide an audio tape to accompany each lesson. I am making copies of the first tape now and will have that tape to you early next week. My "recording studio" consists of a little cassette recorder from Radio Shack and my double cassette boom box that will dub one tape at a time, so the process takes awhile.

Again, please let me know whenever anything at all is unclear. I'd like to get all of your procedural questions answered this week so that we can get down to the business of learning French next week.

That's it for now.

Dave Westenskow

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8-31-04_2

Greetings,

A few of you have been peering into the French text and have started to panic a bit. The whole thing is in French! Don't worry. I have created a couple of introductory lessons that we will cover before we even start the text, and then I have online study guides in which I explain everything that's going on in the text, etc.

We won't even go into the text for a few weeks, so don't worry about what's in there just yet.

Enrollment is now at 20, and I have been contacted by only 10, so I'm still working on getting the group together so that we can all begin at approximately the same time. For now, make sure that you read the pages you find at

http://www.westenskow.net/useful.html

I you haven't contacted me yet, please do so right away so that I can start sending out info to everyone at the same time.

Dave

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9-3-04

Greetings,

I still have not heard from eight class members out of 22, but we are going to have to be moving on. In earlier messages, I asked you to go through the materials found on my Useful Pages page.

 http://www.westenskow.net/useful.html

A couple of the pages involve my suggestions for submitting homework assignments electronically and my request for you to send me a practice document using the accented letters you will use in your French work. So far I have received practice documents from two of you. Somebody's not paying attention!

Get the kinks out now. If you are going to have any problems with the computer and Internet part of the course, I want to know now, so we can get the problems solved before it's time to work on the French. I expect you to be aware of every stinking little word I put online for you. Every semester I get bombarded by questions, and roughly 90% of those questions have already been explained in my online pages. I will bend over backwards to help you succeed in this class, but I won't answer the same questions over and over.

Read my pages and my e-mails. Then ask your questions.

You will start with your French study next week, but I don't really want you to start until you have a tape to listen to. Tapes will arrive in Montana next Tuesday. I am mailing directly to those not residing in the Havre area, and those in Havre can pick up tapes from Christine in Cowan 105. I'm sending individual tapes to Andrea and Stephanie. If anyone else is not in the Havre area, please let me know immediately.

Since Monday is a holiday, Christine should have the tapes by late morning on Tuesday. I will upload my revised study guide this weekend and send you the URL as soon as it's online with more details on what I want you to work on and when I expect homework, etc.

There is more that I could say, but I'll save that for another message.

Questions at this point?

Later.

Dave

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9-4-04

Hello again,

Students are still adding the class, and others are still contacting me, so instead of trying to re-send all of my earlier messages to bring people up to date, I have created a Messages page. The link to this page is found on the Useful Pages page.

http://www.westenskow.net/useful.html

If you are starting late, or if you think you might have missed a message somewhere, just go to the Messages page to bring yourselves up to date.

Dave

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9-6-04

Greetings,

I have pretty much completed my revision of your first study guide, and it is ready for your first assignments this week. You can find all the pages you need on the Useful Pages.

http://www.westenskow.net/useful.html

Click on the Plans link to find your study guides. Just select the lesson you need. Click on your first lesson, Introduction 1, and you have your study guide.

http://www.westenskow.net/fact1plan1.html

Start at the beginning and follow step by step. Your audio tape (which should be available from Christine tomorrow) follows your study guide almost word for word, and I suggest that you listen to the tape and repeat the French as you study.

How far do you go in a given period of time? Just check the class schedule. The link is also on the Useful Pages page.

http://www.westenskow.net/frensched_f04_1.html

Note that I have divided most weeks into two groups of exercises. Do each exercise as outlined in the study guide, and then at the end of each group, you will find a homework assignment reviewing that group of exercises. Complete the homework assignment and send it to me as an e-mail attachments. (Yes, this is what the practice document will prepare you to do.)

The first homework exercise covers sections 1 through 5 and will be due next weekend.

The next group of exercises covers sections 6 through 9, and the second homework assignment will be due by the middle of next week. Etc., etc.

At the end of the lesson, you will have a take-home exam. The take-home exam for Introduction 1 should reach me no later than Sept. 26.

What happens if you don't do your exercises or submit your homework? For starters, you grade will drop automatically. The homework assignments count only 10% of your grade, but that could be enough to drop you as much as a letter grade. I would imagine that your grade will drop even more, however, because your lack of preparation will also lower grades on your exams.

Pick the grade you want in the course, and then work accordingly. I am a friendly, easy-going guy, but I do flunk people who don't do their work. It's not a personal thing. I just give the grades that people earn.

The collection of take-home exams will count 30% of your total grade, and the midterm and final will each count 30% also.

I know that a number of problems arise. Some of you will be sick at times and unable to work. You might have sick children or parents to care for. Your computer might die on occasion, etc. I will work through your problems with you and give you some flexibility on your homework and take-home exams, but I do expect your midterm and final exams to be taken on time.

Let me know if you have any questions at this point.

Dave

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9-9-04

Homework assignments

Bonjour,

Iím receiving questions about when the homework assignments are due. First look at the schedule at

http://www.westenskow.net/frensched_f04_1.html .

You will see that I have two assignments listed each week. Due at the end of this week is homework assignment 1 that is found at the end of section 5 (Genders and Articles) on the study guide (Plan).

http://www.westenskow.net/fact1plan1.html

Just work through the Plan step-by-step and do each homework assignment as you come to it. In previous years, I asked for every exercise to be submitted. This year I have created answer sheets for each exercise and have then prepared a single homework sheet to be completed at the end of a certain number of exercises. In most cases, the materials on the homework page are taken directly from the exercises. In a few instances, I have created sentences that you wonít find word-for-word in the exercises, but you should be able to figure them out by combining other elements.

When I say "due", however, I am speaking in terms of guidelines and not of hard and fast deadlines. I will give you some flexibility, especially in the early going when you are trying to get used to Internet instruction as well as a brand new language. As I stated in the syllabus (which some of you probably havenít even read yet), I will allow you to submit your take-home tests a week late without penalty. The only real deadlines are for the midterm and finals exams.

For now, work at getting used to the French, and donít worry too much if you are a little behind my schedule. You should be able to make up some lost time as you become more and more familiar with the subject matter. I do caution you, however, about falling too far behind. Every year I have students who abuse the flexibility I offer and end up getting so far behind that they canít catch up. They end up either dropping or failing the course.

This isnít high school. I expect university students to take responsibility for their own performance. I will prepare the materials, comment on your work, and offer whatever help you need. I am not your babysitter or your mommy, however, and if you choose to blow off my course, thatís your choice. Itís not my tuition money you will be wasting.

More questions at this point?

Dave

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