Spanish department provides online options

Rebecca Cross, Managing Editor

Are you interested in learning Spanish but unable to make it to the classroom? The FMU Spanish department will be offering online classes for the first time this summer. Associate professor of Spanish Dr. Kristin Kiely will be offering Spanish 101 and Spanish 201 in an online format during the first summer session. Summer session one classes will begin on June 2 and conclude on July 7. Kiely said that offering online classes is growing in popularity among universities throughout the country, and she is excited to offer students the same option at FMU.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant received by FMU has helped make it possible for Spanish 101 and 12 other classes to be offered online. The grant funds the development and initial delivery of online courses.

Professor and chair of the department of nursing Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price applied for the HRSA grant.

Students who are participating in FMU’s online RN to BSN program are sometimes missing credits that fulfill general education requirements. Offering those general education classes online will help RN to BSN students continue to complete their bachelor’s degree online.

Kiely and Wittmann-Price agree that knowing Spanish is a useful skill for those in the medical field.

“[The Hispanic population] is the largest minority in the U.S.,” Kiely said.

The Latino population in the Pee Dee and the U.S. and is a growing population.

“Nurses take care of diverse populations of people and need to be able to relate to them in order to promote health,” Wittmann-Price said. “Being able to communicate about healthcare will become increasingly important.”

While the online general education courses funded through the HRSA grant are targeted for students in the online RN to BSN program, any student can take the online courses.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what types of students I will get in the classes,” Kiely said. Students could be RN to BSN students, non-degree seeking students, transfer students, etc.

The committee selected her Spanish 101 class to receive funding from the HRSA grant accepted class. After that class was selected, Kiely decided to develop Spanish 201 in an online format without funding.

“I think the online class is going to be work, but it will also be a lot of fun and very interesting,” Kiely said. “It’s going to be different, a unique experience, and the students and I will be going through it together. I’m looking forward to the experience. I hope the students find it as interesting as I do.”

Kiely said that she is trying to make her online classes interactive and fun.

As she prepares to teach online classes this summer, Kiely is taking a class called Online Instruction Workshop. Director of user services and training John Petrush offers the class online through FMU.

Class work for Spanish 101 and 201 will include viewing video and PowerPoint presentations, reading assigned pages in a textbook, completing homework and tests online and participating in online group activities. Kiely will also offer office hours online through Blackboard Collaborate. Students will be able to complete the entire class online but can come to campus if they want.

Because of the nature of self-passed learning in the online classroom setting, Kiely said that students will have to take a lot of responsibility for their own learning.

“They will have to do a lot more active learning,” Kiely said.

In order to take the online Spanish 101 and 201 classes, students will need to have access to a computer, microphone, speakers or headphones and either a physical or online copy of the textbook.

Registration for online classes offered in the summer one session begins on March 25 and runs through the day classes start on June 2. Other classes being offered online include English 200, Chemistry 101 and Political Science 101.