Online Russian Course Orientation

Welcome to online Russian!

I hope that your experience in this course will be exciting, challenging and rewarding. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to tell you what to expect and what will be expected of you in this course.


Meet the professor

George Mitrevski

My name is Dr. George Mitrevski and I'll be your instructor and facilitator for the online Russian course this semester. I received my Doctorate degree from Ohio State University, and I have been teaching Russian in the classroom and online at Auburn University for many years. Several years ago I also started teaching online Russian at the University of Illinois at Urbana.

Although we will probably not have an opportunity to meet in person, you can be assured that we will have endless opportunities this semester to communicate with each other electronically. The best way to reach me is by e-mail directly, or through the e-mail utility in Moodle. You can also look for me on Facebook and Skype. Below are my coordinates:
E-mail: mitrevsk@illinois.edu
Facebook: mitrevski
Skype: george.mitrevski


Course description, objectives and learning outcomes

This is an introductory Russian language course designed for students with no prior study or knowledge of Russian. Our main goal is to guide you towards communicative competence in Russian. You will learn Russian at your own pace using self-instructional materials and a variety of electronic resources. The material you will cover in this course is identical to that covered in the classroom course. Although you will not have as many opportunities to practice conversational skills, you will have plenty of opportunities to interact with me and fellow students. Just as in a class taught on campus, the course schedule specifies the content to be covered, dates for exams and assignments, as well as other activities that you must complete by a specified date.

The course focuses on all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

What is online Russian learning and its benefits?

The main benefit of taking Russian online is that it allows for increased flexibility. Online learning generally provides considerable freedom, allowing you to choose when and where you'll participate in learning activities.

The online Russian course is web-based and allows students to interact with the instructor and other students through e-mail and other various online resources. Course notes, assignments, projects and grades are delivered using Moodle, an online course management tool.

The course has a syllabus and schedule to follow with the content to be covered, dates for assignments and exams and other activities that you must complete by a particular date. While the online Russian course is flexible it is not work-at-your-own-pace. It is semester-based and will have assignments due each week. You will have contact with your instructor and classmates inside your course via electronic means.

Is online Russian course for you?

Some students are unsure as to whether online learning is right for them. In order to be successful you are expected to approach online learning with the same academic rigor and commitment as you would approach in-class courses. Studies show that successful online learning students are independent, self-motivated, and disciplined. You must be able to access and use a computer with reliable Internet access and be able to use basic computer software.

As an online student, you will have many advantages in that you will be able to complete course activities at a place and time convenient for YOU. You will have access to a greater number of resources than you might in a traditional classroom setting. Finally, you may find that you are able to have greater control over the learning process, and may be able to customize the course in a way that best suits your specific learning needs.

However, you must be prepared to take on greater responsibility than those engaged in traditional learning. You will need to discipline yourself to stay actively involved with the course, and may find that you spend an even greater amount of time reading and preparing for this course than you do a traditional course.

Learning Russian online means that you do not have to be at a specific location at a specific time or date. Online learning takes place, for the most part, where and when you choose. This could be early in the morning or late at night at home, during your lunch break at work, or when you are traveling. This course is rigorous and requires you and your classmates to complete work by set deadlines, but you get to choose the times and location that suit your schedule.

Course technology and technical assistance

Do you need to be a computer wiz to do well in this course? NO! This course requires minimal technical skills. Since one reason for taking Russian online is convenience, I strongly recommend access to a personal computer at home. It is not a good idea to depend on computers located in campus computer labs, libraries or other public locations. These computers will not have all the proper software and plug-ins you need to access online courses. The majority of the work in the course will be done asynchronously with you working alone on on own time.

The first thing you have to do before the start of the course is to make sure you have set up your computer to type in Russian. Detailed information on how to do this is provided online, and I'm always available to help you if you get stuck. You also need a good set of headphones with an attached microphone for listening and recording audio exercises.

How to be successful as online Russian learner

Here are some tips for you to succeed and do well in the course:

Resources and materials

Evaluation of student performance

There will be four one hour tests during the semester. Each test will cover one lesson from the textbook and will comprise reading, writing, listening and speaking activities. The grades for the course will be figured this way:
Tests: 50%
Assignments: 50%

Plagiarism and academic dishonesty

Plagiarism is the act of presenting directly or indirectly someone else's work as your own. Plagiarism is a major type of academic dishonesty and will not be tolerated. The University's policy for academic misconduct in the Student Code of Conduct will be followed for this course. If you have any questions regarding this please contact me as soon as possible.

For your assignments you should feel free to consult your textbooks, dictionaries, grammar books, or notes that might help you. You may not seek outside assistance (e.g., friends, family, native speakers, etc.) for completing graded assignments. You are also not allowed to use computer-assisted translators or online translating and spell-checkingprograms.

Course evaluation

At the end of the semester you will have an opportunity to evaluate this course. You should know that your input is really appreciated by me, by university administrators and by future students of this course. How this course is conducted in the future does depend largely on the experience of current students. If you have any constructive comments or suggestions as you progress in the course, please don't hesitate to let me know so that I can work on improving your experience.

Talk to me!

When contacting me by email make sure you include "Subject" headings: use something that is descriptive and refers to a particular assignment or topic.

If you have questions, suggestions or need help with a specific exercise or assignment, please don't hesitate to contact me. You will be learning many new things about Russian, which sometimes can be overwhelming. Don't let this scare you away! Learning a language takes a lot of practice and time, and I will be happy to help you and guide you through the process. I look forward to working with you, and really hope you will enjoy this course!