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Class Progress Report – 1st Week

Hello everyone! I’m going to try my best to give a progress report on the class – mentioning no specific names, just broad observations that I noticed about the class. The primary purpose of this is to brainstorm ways to improve the course by finding where the weaknesses are in it, and what is succeeding.

Only 1/3 of the students dropped out in the first week this semester! Usually the percentage is a lot higher. I have several speculations about this – maybe because there were more returning students this time, people who already knew what to expect from the class. Maybe more people were able to follow the calendar and knew when to start turning in homework this time, since it’s much more visually based and easy to find. Maybe the new quizzes gave people more confidence in turning in their homework? Whatever the reason is, I’m just really happy to see more people hanging on to go to the second week!

The Quiz made a huge difference. The students who used the quiz to practice before turning in their homework got 100% on their homework very quickly – many only having to turn in one revision to fix simple oversights or typos, and there weren’t any patterns in their errors that I could see, indicating no gaps in their knowledge.

    The students who didn’t use the quiz had the following difficulties:

  • A lot of confusion about the dialects. Several people didn’t connect Gondorian = Human, so I’ll have to change the language in the homework’s instructions I think, to be more clear. I’ll replace “human” with “Gondorian” and “elf” with “Non-Gondorian” to make it clear what dialect I’m talking about.
  • Ls gave a lot of people trouble, but that’s nothing new. People with linguistic training picked up right away that the two Ls are allophones, but others found this concept difficult to grasp. Any ideas on how to make this concept easier to grasp?
  • The Gondorian pronunciation of the CH – this one I think gave people trouble because it’s been updated in the last year. This comes from new information that I found in an obscure note in the Unfinished Tales: Pages 318-319, Note #49 in the chapter “Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan”.

By popular request, I’ve updated the Chapter 1.3 video with an added section on how I get around being unable to roll Rs. By the way, how useful do you find the videos?

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