Required Texts:

Marinelli, Patti and Karin Fajardo. Conectados. (Online materials and Communication Manual). First edition. Boston: Cengage Learning 2016.

Bilingual Visual Spanish-English Dictionary. New York: DK Publishing, 2005.

Recommended Materials:

A Spanish-English dictionary of your choice (Larousse Concise or Oxford recommended).

Electronic Resources:

I. Goals:       

A. Tulane University Department of Spanish and Portuguese Basic Language Program Objectives:

The main objectives guiding the program are to:

  • introduce students to the language and culture of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world
  • promote the development of students' communicative competence in the target language
  • develop students’ intercultural understanding and social conscience of problems that affect this cultural complex.

B. Course Goals: Following the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines 2012, Spanish 1020 seeks to increase students’ Spanish-speaking ability to a novice high to intermediate low proficiency level via the Course Objectives listed below. For an extended explanation see

The course focuses on what students CAN DO, framed in practical communicative terms. People with Intermediate Low proficiency can understand the main idea in short texts (written and aural) on familiar topics, actively participate in conversations including asking and answering questions, and describe their regular activities and topics of personal interest (in written and oral forms). The NCSSFL-ACTFL Can Do Statements provide more precise details in regards to what students will be able to do when they have reached this proficiency level.

For additional details of what this entails refer to the Course Objectives section of this website.

II. Course Objectives for Spanish 1020: 

Over the course of the semester, students will engage in on-line preparatory work, in class communicative activities and targeted production-based assessments to demonstrate their progress from beginning language student toward competent user of the language across all skill sets.

The following objectives are based on ACTFL’s Can Do Statements, framed in terms of proficiency levels that progress in difficulty level as students learn more vocabulary and grammatical structures through real world practice.

Students will develop abilities in the following modes and skills:

  • Interpersonal Communication: students will participate in conversations on a number of familiar topics using simple sentences and develop the skills to handle short social interactions in everyday situations by asking and answering simple questions.
  • Interpretive Reading: students will develop the ability to understand the main idea of texts related to everyday life and personal interests or studies.
  • Interpretive Listening: students will develop  the ability to understand the main idea in short, simple messages and presentations on familiar topics.
  • Presentational Speaking: students will be able to present information on most familiar topics using a series of simple sentences.
  • Presentational Writing: students will be able to write briefly about most familiar topics and present information using a series of simple sentences.

These modes of communication and various skills will be framed within ACTFL's 5Cs: Communication, Cultures, Communities, Comparisons and Connections. Students should consider how different assessments and in class activities are targeting these and developing their ability to communicate in Spanish.

Based upon ACTFL’s National Standards for Foreign Language Learning students will activate the 5Cs over the course of the semester as follows:

  • Communication is front and center. Students should expect to practice their interpersonal communication skills during every class session via regular small and large group activities. The Communication Manual is designed for students to apply what they have learned in a communicative framework.
  • Cultures are explored throughout the program, particularly in the Nuestro Mundo, Nuestra Comunidad and Síntesis sections, both in comparison to a U.S. context and individually and in comparison with each other.
  • The development of a Community of language learners is at the core of classroom work. The Nuestra Comunidad section invites students to share information with their peers through online and in class activities. Students are also being prepared to interact with the real world community of Spanish speakers through various focused role plays embedded in the program.
  • Comparisons will be made by exploring the Nuestro Mundo sections, considering how cultural practices in the U.S. are similar to or different from cultural practices in Spanish-speaking parts of the world, as well as in the Perspectivas section of the Nuestra Comunidad activities, wherein students will listening to Spanish speakers discuss their life and families.
  • Students will make Connections between they are studying in this class to other academic disciplines. The Conectados con sections are designed with this goal in mind.

III. Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate that they have met the...

  • Interpersonal Communication objectives via their class participation and oral assessments.
  • Interpretive Reading objectives via targeted assessments and exams as well as in on-line work.
  • Interpretive Listening objectives via targeted assessments and exams, online work and in class activities.
  • Presentational Speaking objectives via targeted assessments and in regular class participation.
  • Presentational Writing objectives via targeted assessments and the semester-long diario de escritura.

IV. Assessment:

A. Grades are based on the standard 10-point scale:

    B+ 87-89.99 C+ 77-79.99 D+ 67-69.99    
A 93-100 B 83-86.99 C 73-76.99 D 63-66.99 F 0-59.99
A- 90-92.99 B- 80-82.99 C- 70-72.99 D- 60-62.99    

B. Grade Breakdown: Your grade will be determined according to the following criteria:

15% On-line Work
10% Participation
35% Assessments
15% Diario de escritura
10% Mid-term (Examen parcial)
15% Final Exam

C. Expectations for each category are as follows. Students will demonstrate that they have met the Objectives stated above by successful completion of these assignments. See calendar for assignment due dates.

On-line Work (15%): This program is designed with on-line work at its core and successful completion of this course depends upon regular use of the online activities on the iLrn Online Program. Students should expect to spend 1-2 hours of preparatory work for each class session, in advance of each class meeting. The program is designed to empower students to come to class prepared to use what they have studied. The online materials will allow students to activate their own learning path and come to class with focused questions based on what they have understood from their preparatory work. Your instructor will assign specific activities or sections of the online materials to preview. Additional materials can be used as follow up work to reinforce any areas that might need targeted attention.

Participation (10%): As a student-centered, practice-based course, active participation and regular attendance is crucial to the learning of a language. The participation grade is based both on the quantity and the quality of a student’s participation, with quality being determined by active, on-task participation in class, group and pair activities, obvious preparation of homework, volunteerism, use of Spanish in class, and overall preparedness. Excessive absenteeism will result in a substantial drop in this grade, as will tardiness. Inappropriate use of technology during class will negatively affect this grade.

Assessments (35%): There will be 8 Assessments over the course of the semester, designed to allow students to gauge their progress on a regular basis. These assessments will be short and will focus on four different targeted skills across the three modes (Interpretive Reading, Interpretive Listening, Interpersonal Speaking, Presentational Writing and Presentational Speaking). NO MAKEUPs will be given without advanced arrangements made with the instructor.

Diario de escritura (15%): Students will maintain a personal diary that enables them to apply what they are studying for personal communication. At least five entries will be completed over the course of the semester, although individual instructors might assign additional entries to practice discrete skills or vocabulary as warranted by their students' needs. Diarios will be graded holistically, considering quality of communicative effort and development of productive skills over the course of the semester.


Mid-term (Examen parcial) (10%): There will be 1 mid-term exam (examen parcial). This exam will focus on interpretive and presentational modes of communication as well as intercultural competencies. Students can expect the exam to include short readings, essays and reflective questions.

Final Exam (15%): The final exam will be similar in format to the mid-term, with an emphasis on interpretive and presentational modes of communication and intercultural competency. Language learning is inherently cumulative; therefore, although the vocabulary and cultural information will primarily be drawn from the last chapters studied, the entire range of grammatical material studied throughout the semester will be utilized.


Tulane University, Spanish & Portuguese Dept., 304 Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5518