Over the past 6 weeks I took a course online in Coursera which is a site with plenty of MOOC courses you can take. For those unfamiliar it’s just basically a fancy acronym (Massive Open Online Courses) for an online course. The course is by l’École Polytechnique which is an important university in France. The name of the course is Étudier en France: French Intermediate course B1-B2, it lasts 6 weeks and you can sign up for it various times during the year. The actual course is free to take but if you want a certificate of completion you need to pay a small fee. So, is this course worth it?
I’ll begin with a brief description on my experience with MOOCs with their pros and cons which can apply to any course taken on these platforms. I’m big fan of online courses and learning by myself with my computer which is not for everyone. You have things to do each day but if you’re busy you can pretty much do them at anytime before the course finishes which is great for us with busy schedules. There is usually some sort of evaluation which are sometimes easy and the difficult one you need to be honest since it can be somewhat easy to cheat. You can get a lot out of it but it does require you to do stuff on your own since just doing the basic requirements to pass the course is not enough as you can easily cheat or do some without really learning all that much. The main problem is most of the assignements are either graded by other students or multiple choice tests so it’s difficult to know how well you did and as I mentioned, you learn what you put in it.
As far as the actual course it’s supposed to be an intermediate level course for French and I think that is about right. Some things were a bit easy for me but others were a bit difficult so I was able to find plenty of challenging things. I might not have learned as much as I would’ve wanted but I got plenty of practice each day and did learn a thing or two which is more than I can say if I hadn’t taken it.
The theme of the course is that you’re going to study in France so you learn the vocabulary, situations and grammar you may need to implement if you were to actually go to France. Each week deals with a different aspect from just arriving to France, to signing up for classes, integrating into society and all the way to living in France. I found the theme of the course to be a lot of fun. The grammar sections tended to either be quite easy or quite difficult, no in between. The listening aspect was pretty cool and I feel I got to train my ear quite a bit even if I didn’t catch all the things it wanted me to learn. I slacked off a bit in the reading since I tended to only read through the activities once and skipped plenty of important details even if I did enough to pass the small quizes. For writing I think I tried my hardest on, sadly with the peer review system I never felt I got any real feedback despite the fact that I’m sure there were plenty of mistakes.
Overall I’d say that the course is totally worth it if you want to check it out and you can sign up here. As mentioned before even if the course has finished it will re-start evenentually so you can catch up and a good extra thing you can do if you’re learning French.
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