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Frequently Asked Questions on Course Policies and Procedures


Course Specific

Answers on Course Policies and Procedures


I missed an assignment. Can I get an extension?

It is your responsibility to complete the online coursework in the week provided. If you are unable to complete the work, you must contact your instructor immediately and provide written documentation about your missing work. We do not grant extensions and no excuses will be accepted to recover points lost because of failing to submit work.

What do the 'Semana' folders include?

These weekly folders include a Presentations folder and a Quizzes folder (Spanish 1 courses also include the Actividades de comunicación (Communication Activity) for the week)

Presentations folder: Here you will find video presentations, written explanations, and PowerPoint presentations of the week's material. Quizzes and activities found in this folder are not graded.

Quizzes folder: Here you will find a reminder to visit, where quizzes about the material presented in the 'Presentations' folder are placed. You will have one attempt for activities with only 2 possible answers and two attempts for those with 3 or more possible answers. If an activity does not follow these guidelines, this will be indicated in the instructions. It is strongly recommended that before you log off, you check to see that your work has been properly recorded. There is no time limit in the quizzes; you have to complete them in the week that is written in the syllabus. All quizzes are mandatory and graded. Your grade for the quiz is the highest grade from the 2 attempts.

Actividades de comunicación (Communication Activity. Spanish 1 only): Each week you will complete one of three communication activities: Zona cultural, Foro de discusión, or Tertulia. In the Zona cultural, you will post a response to a prompt based on a cultural theme, and you will respond to your classmates’ posts. The Foro de discusi works similarly. You will post a response to the prompt (which usually asks about you, your friends, and your family), and you will comment on the posts made by your classmates. The Tertulia involves working in a small group to record a 5-minute conversation about a topic related to our new vocabulary. In your writing assignments, each week you have to write a total of at least 50 words in two posts, first a submission of 30 words and then another submission(s) for a total of 20 (or more) to complete your 50 words for that week. Once again, you need to write at least 2 posts (a first submission and a response) in order to get full credit. Partial credit is not granted. Please, read your syllabus for further explanation. To see an example of how Zona cultural and Foro de discusión work go to: Lessons > Technology Tutorials > Example of Foro de discusión and Zona cultural.

When will the 'Semana 2' folder open?

Each Semana folder will open as the semester progresses, one per week, in both Canvas and MySpanishLab. For the exact dates, check the syllabus or course calendar.

How many classes am I allowed to miss?

Throughout the semester, you are allowed to have two unexcused absences for Spanish 1, 2 and 3, five unexcused absences for Spanish 10 and 20. These are to cover things such as minor illness, weddings, funerals, job interviews, etc. For more information on absences, please see the Policies Document for your level of Spanish.

How will my class participation be evaluated?

See the class participation evaluation document for more information.

Do I need to purchase a new textbook for my Spanish class?

Yes. Each new textbook comes with an access code that is required in order to complete the online assignments. You are not able to purchase the code by itself, it is currently only offered as a package with a new textbook. Please DO NOT purchase a used book as you will not be able to use the access code. For more information, please review the technical FAQ on how to register for MySpanishLab.

I need help with Spanish on this assignment, who do I ask?

For questions about Spanish, course content, extensions, or how your work was graded, you'll need to contact your instructor. Check the People page if you don't already have their contact information.

Do I need to complete the 'Diagnostic Questionnaire'?

Yes. This questionnaire is simply a way for us to get a better idea of your background with the Spanish language and to determine if you are in the correct level based on your experience.

I took 2 years of Spanish in high school, can I enroll in Span 1?

It depends. The Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses dictates the minimum level language course a student is allowed to take for credit, based on the student's high school admissions information. The guideline for span 1 is as follows:

Students who took 1 year or less of high school Spanish are allowed to receive credit for Spanish 1. Therefore, if you have taken more than 1 year of Spanish in high school you will not receive credit!

7 and 8th grades do not count. Also, if you graduated four or more years ago, you are eligible for Span 1.

If you need a definitive answer, contact the Basic and Intermediate Language Assistant.

Can I use online translators in this class?

No. The use of an online translator is forbidden in this language class. Online translators are considered a form of academic dishonesty (cheating) and if you use them in this course an Academic Integrity Form will be reported to the College of Liberal Arts.

Course Specific

[All Courses] How much are my various grades worth?

Grades for Spanish are worth different amounts of the total course grade:

Spanish 1
MSL Online Quizzes 20%
Foro de discusión 4%
Zona culteral 4%
Tertulia 7%
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Exam 3 25%
Spanish 2
Canvas Online Assignments 1%
MSL Online Quizzes 11%
Participation 14%
Escritura - First Versions 6%
Escritura - Final Versions 3%
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Exam 3 20%
Oral Exam 5%
Spanish 3
Canvas Online Assignments 1%
MSL Online Quizzes 11%
Participation 14%
Escritura - First Versions 6%
Escritura - Final Versions 3%
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Exam 3 20%
Oral Exam 5%
Spanish 10 and 20
Online Assignments 10%
Participation 15%
Escritura - First Draft 6%
Escritura - Final Draft 4%
Exam 1 15%
Exam 2 15%
Exam 3 15%
Exam 4 15%
Oral Exam 5%

[Spanish 1] Do I need to form a group for the speaking assignment (Tertulia)? If I simply respond to a post, will Canvas automatically organize me into that group?

Canvas will not automatically organize you into a group. You need to form a group by replying to the posts in the Partner Wanted folder within the Getting Started with Spanish 1 folder. If you end up without a group, we will randomly assign you to one. Therefore, it is better if you choose your group mates.

[Spanish 1] Do I have to physically meet with my group to complete the Tertulia activity?

No. Because this is an online course, there is no requirement for you to physically meet with your classmates. The program we use for the Tertulia activities, Adobe Connect, can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection. Therefore you simply need to decide on a time to meet in this virtual room to complete the assignment.

[Spanish 2, 3, 10, 20] How will my Escrituras (writing assignments) be evaluated, and where can I find the topics?

See the Escrituras Evaluation Document (PDF) for more information.

The topics for the escrituras will be provided by your instructor in class on the day of the assignment.

Exam Questions

How many exams will we have?

Spanish 1, 2, and 3 will have 3 regular exams held in the Pollock Testing Center. Exams 1, 2 and 3 will each consist of listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension and a short essay.

Spanish 10 and 20 students will have 4 exams held in class the day of the exam.

Spanish 2, 3, 10 and 20 will have an oral exam in addition to the regular exams described above. The oral exam is a 5 minute dialogue between two students and will take place in class.

More information on the exams can be found in the course syllabus or policies document.

[Spanish 1, 2, 3] Do I need headphones for the exams?

Yes. You are responsible for supplying your own headphones for the exams. The Testing Center does not have any headphones to loan to students. If you arrive at the Testing Center without your headphones, you will not be able to take the exam and will be asked to reschedule.

[Spanish 1, 2, 3] Can I use scratch paper during the exam?

Yes. You will be provided with a piece of bar-coded scratch paper when entering for your exam. This is the only form of paper you will be permitted to use during the exam. When exiting the Testing Center, you will be required to scan and return your scratch paper to the Testing Center staff. Failure to do this will result in an F for your final course grade.

[Spanish 2, 3, 10, 20] How will the oral exams be evaluated?

See the oral exam evaluation document for more information.

Where can I find information about the Final exams?

There are no exams during finals week for any of the SBLP courses (Spanish 1, 2, 3, 10, or 20).

Where are the exams held?

University Park students:

All exams for Spanish 1, 2 and 3 will be administered through the Testing Center in Pollock Building. You will be able to complete your exam at any time during the exam week, however there are time constraints. An email notification from the Testing Center will be sent to all students in advance of the exams requiring pre-registration. See the course syllabus for dates and specifics about the exams and their content.

World Campus students:

You will need to secure a proctor in order to take exams in this course. A proctor will not automatically be assigned to you. Rather, you must make the necessary contacts to secure a professional who will serve in this capacity.

  • Contact a person who meets the qualifications and ask him or her to proctor your exam.
  • Student Services must approve your proctor before any exams can be taken. Please see instructions for securing a suitable proctor. While many proctors will serve on a voluntary basis, you are responsible for paying any expenses incurred in retaining a proctor.
  • You must complete a Proctor Information Form and submit the completed form with the proctor verification documentation. Please note that if your proctor has been previously approved by the World Campus during a prior course within two years, you do not need to obtain verification. World Campus retains proctor information on file for two years.
  • If your proctor does not meet the required specifications, Student Services will notify you within 5 to 7 business days.
  • You will need to complete an Exam Request Form for each exam. Contact your proctor to confirm the date, time, and location of your exam(s). Complete the form 3 weeks prior to your scheduled exam to allow for processing the request. If you are located outside the United States, in order to allow adequate time, please plan to request your exam earlier than 3 weeks prior to the exam week. If you are a graduating senior requesting a final exam, please see additional information about early deadlines for course completion and exam scheduling.
  • Contact Student Services if you cannot take a scheduled exam.
  • Unless you have received permission to take your exam at an alternative time, your proctor will only allow you to take the exam during dates specified in your course.