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Student and tutor module reviews

Portales: beginners' Spanish

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: L194
  • Level: 1

Student reviews

L194 is a well designed course and the tutor support was very good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Speaking opportunity can be limited if you only attend tutorials; I benefited from attendance at an additional local class to bolster my spoken work.
Although it is a 30 credit course (10 hrs per week) you can easily spend more time when learning a language, so think hard if adding a second language course at L1 - especially if you have no previous language experience.

Mark Mills

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: January 2015

I enjoyed the course but felt it sped up rapidly in terms of the grammatical understanding it required. I passed with the help of a fantastic tutor who was always available and despite the 100 mile round trip for tutorials they were well worth it.

Andree Michelle Curley

Course starting: November 2006

Review posted: January 2008

I've studied 8 courses (mainly maths / IT) with the OU and this is by far the most memorable. A year on and I can still remember what I learned, I can't say that about other courses.
I think that it is what it says - (beginners Spanish), but it goes much deeper than asking for a beer and saying hello! It's certainly kept my enthusiasm to take Spanish further this year.

A good structure with 6 colourful books, roughly monthly tutorials and I had a fluent experienced tutor.
I had bought the BBC green book called 'Talk Spanish' a few months before and this helped me to make the first part easier.

The only bit where I think things could be improved is with the speaking. You can get round this with self help groups and responsible chat rooms etc.

My advice - if you want to try Spanish, start with this course.

Robert Charles Brown

Course starting: November 2005

Review posted: October 2007

The course material was of high quality. The enphasis was on Spanish grammar - so be prepared. To get the most out of the course and to build-up language skills it is important to attend tutorials.

Course starting: November 2005

Review posted: December 2006

I cannot praise this course highly enough! Starting as a completely non-Spanish speaker, I was able to converse quite freely by the end of the course. It is a very manageable course (I was studying a Level 2 English course at the same time as working and looking after a family. The Summer School run by 'Spanish Intensives' was brilliant and was the high point of the course, for me!

Course starting: November 2004

Review posted: January 2006

An excellent course, easy to follow. I was a total beginner, but a few months after starting the course I had enough confidence to use my learned skills in speaking with locals during my travels through Andalucia. I would recommend this course to anyone wishing to start learning spanish.

Jacqueline Ruth Campbell-Rea

Course starting: November 2003

Review posted: October 2005

The fact that I am still studying Spanish almost two years after studying this course speaks volumes for its success. I had previously tried to learn Spanish on several occasions, all of which ended in failure. This course helped change that and, while I am far from fluent, I feel confident in coping with many situations.

I have just finished LZX140, and having evaluated both the electronic and face-to-face option have decided to opt for face-to-face in future (although there are many who vastly prefer Lyceum, which is a very useful tool).

One thing I found was that if at all possible taking some conversational Spanish class outside the course (relatively cheap ones can usually be found at local colleges) really complements learning, especially since conversation is the weakest point of the course (being distance learning with limited contact with tutor/other students this can't be helped).

The one thing you can't control is your tutor, so if like me you get a gem then you're already ahead of the game.

Stephen Ronald Boyd

Course starting: November 2003

Review posted: September 2005

Portales was an excellent introduction to Spanish and it kept me interested and motivated throughout.

Only one bug-bear really, the grammar content of the course did seem to speed up rapidly at the end, with lots of different tenses thrown at you in the space of a few (last) months. This added unnecessary pressure at a time when we were worrying about the final test, and the oral of course!

Some of the past tenses could have been brought in earlier, but overall I would recommend this course to anybody wanting a good grounding for Spanish.

There is quite a difference between the pace and approach of Portales and En Rumbo, the second course in this Certificate, which is a bit of a shock. If you go on to En Rumbo, be prepared. I recommend starting the course as early as you can to ensure you can keep up.

Heather Tilston

Course starting: November 2003

Review posted: August 2005

At the begining the course work was easy enough to keep up with as I was a complete beginner. But at about July/August time the workload increased in quantity so much that I couldn't keep up with it.

The course was enjoyable & the Tutors were wonderfull but I found there was too much in it for a complete beginner. Possibly I wasn't helped by the fact that this was the first time this course was offered.

The tutorials were fun but I felt we should have had more.

Susan Lesley Butler

Course starting: November 2003

Review posted: June 2005

This course is an excellent introduction to learning Spanish. I did find some of the accents on the CD's hard to understand, as did the others in my tutorial class, however with perseverence and an excellent tutor I enjoyed the course and started to pick up an understanding of the language. I am still not a very confident speaker (and my writing leaves something to be desired) but I can read or listen and understand.

You definitely need the time specified to practice, read and understand and I found that using other additional resources was useful.

Course starting: November 2003

Review posted: April 2005

This course will teach you the present tense, two ways of talking about the future and two past tenses plus a lot of vocabulary which should cover most everyday situations you'll encounter as a visitor to a Spanish speaking country. The books don't have an index and it was quite difficult remembering where something was covered so it would be worth compiling your own index.

I was really pleased how much written Spanish I could understand after this course, but I still don't feel very confident speaking Spanish. The CDs are quite good, but obviously you don't get any feedback about your own pronunciation and only having a face-to-face tutorial isn't that helpful.

Although overall it is a good course, I found it very frustrating that the units concentrated heavily on vocabulary and that very slow progress was made with regard to verb forms. We were stuck on the present tense for months and months and the past tenses were only introduced towards the very end of the course. Michel Thomas' audio course is much better for getting you up to speed very quickly with regard to verb forms.

There is obviously quite a lot of repetition of subject matter for reinforcement purposes, but the amount of materials about ordering food in restaurants and cooking food drove quite a lot of the conference contributors to distraction.

The course conference was quite useful sharing views about the course and dealing with queries, but suffered from a lack of tutor involvement.

Course starting: November 2003

Review posted: January 2005

I really enjoyed this course. Excellent course materials. Starts off nice and easy and gradually builds up towards the end. I started as a complete beginner and so I found this course perfect. You do have to practice lots and sometimes I did use other sources of spanish info, books, magazines etc to really absorb the language. Covers all aspects of learning a language and would recommend to all beginners. The course conferences were excellent unfortunately they are not available now. The opportunity to use real time conversation with other students on the net is excellent.

Course starting: November 2003

Review posted: December 2004


Tutor reviews

As a student,I have thoroughly enjoyed the course, and am amazed how much Spanish I can now speak, write and understand. The course has exceeded my expectations. This is in no small part due to the excellent course materials and my fantastic tutor. It does take commitment to put in the hours and some of the materials (for me) was more difficult to learn. All-in-all I would encourage anyone who wants to learn Spanish to do the course.

Buena suerte - good luck!

Review posted: October 2004

This course is excellent, it's well put together, interesting and enjoyable, the materials and examples are extremely varied. It's hard work and does require the study hours indicated but I would say well worth it for educational or recreational purposes.

Review posted: September 2004

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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