“Coursera: Detach the Barriers in the Language Learning” — An Article

Coursera is a website that was founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng in 2012. Koller and Ng aimed to provide a life-transforming education for both learners and teachers. Thus, in order to do that, Coursera enables everyone to access courses provided by some universities. Each course consists of four to eight weeks of learning with details three to five meetings in a week. In one meeting, the materials in the course are varied; depending on which university gives the course. However, the most basic ones are a PDF about the material and a quiz. Some even provide videos of the lecturers explaining the material and some practices that learners can do in order to make their understanding better.

Throughout the last two weeks, the writer has taken a course provided by Yonsei University. The course is called “Learn to Speak Korean 1” with Professor Han Sang Mee as the instructor. Throughout the course, Prof. Han explained carefully the grammatical form of the Korean language. The way she taught made it easier for learners to understand the rule and the form of the Korean language. Her explanation becomes better with the help of the PowerPoint she shows in her video. However, before she began her class, she mentioned that this course should only be taken by someone who already understands Korean characters in writing. Thus, she made a suggestion for those who have not learned about hangul or Korean characters to leave the course and take another course which is “First Step Korean”. In the “First Step Korean”, learners will get to learn the shape of each character and how to read them. Whereas in the “Learn to Speak Korean 1” that the writer took, the topic of the study is focused on the daily conversational sentences. There are thirty meetings to discuss this topic. The thirty-meeting is divided into five weeks with one topic each week:

  • Week 1: Introduction
  • Week 2: Introducing one’s hometown
  • Week 3: Introducing food
  • Week 4: Ordering food
  • Week 5: Introducing places to shop
  • Week 6: Shopping

In a meeting, learners can access a video of Prof. Han explaining the topic and the theory. Together with the video, learners can get the summary of what Prof. Han has explained in her video then answer several problems as a supplement. After working on several questions in the form of PDF, learners will have to work on a quiz on the website. The quiz consists of five questions. Learners have to be able to answer at least three questions correctly in order to pass the meeting and go on to the next meeting. The quizzes enable learners to take a proper look at their understanding of the topic. And if learners find it difficult, they can read the PDF or watch the video one more time. In addition to all these beneficial materials, there is also a deadline feature that makes it easier for learners to keep on track. This deadline feature can be connected to the Google Calendar as well so that there will be a reminder for learners to access the course.

However, despite all those advantages, there are still gaps in this course. The missing part of this course is the answer key of the questions and the quiz. This software does not provide the answer key after learners do the questions in PDF or quiz. The reason behind the absence of the answer key for the quiz is probably that learners need to pass the quiz first in order to pass to the next level. Yet, the writer still thinks that it is necessary to put the answer key once learners pass the quiz. The answer key will help the learners to understand the correct answer to each question and reflect on their answers. The same thing goes for the answer key for the questions provided in the PDF. Another missing part is the existence of pre and post-test. Having a pre and post-test is important as those tests will help learners to compare their language ability before and after taking the course. In order to improve the quality of the course and enable learners to get the best experience of learning, the availability of answer keys and pre and post-test need to be presented.

Nevertheless, this course program in Coursera will be beneficial for learners who want to learn something new from professionals without having to pay any cent. Learners can also earn a new certificate in case they are willing to pay. This course can successfully someone’s understanding of a new language, especially in terms of grammar. The success of the course happens due to the accessibility of the materials in so many forms, both video and PDF. The video will help learners who tend to like auditory and visual forms to learn, whereas the PDF is beneficial for learners who like to read and write to learn. Hence, it is a very good choice to use Coursera as an aid for students to learn out of the box. [chtrn]



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