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    An undergraduate course in Languages.

Beginners' Chinese

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第一步 Dì yī bù: beginners’ Chinese will give you the skills you need to speak and understand simple Chinese (Mandarin) in everyday contexts. No previous knowledge of Chinese is required. This key introductory Level 1 course will take you through a wide range of practical situations such as socialising, shopping and getting around. We’ll send you printed and audio materials, and you’ll have a dedicated website, all of which support independent learning. And while you’re learning the language you’ll explore aspects of Chinese society and culture, which will give you a real feel for the Chinese way of life.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£535.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£535.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£1080.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£535.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£535.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£960.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£535.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jul 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This course has at its core the following elements:

  • a step-by-step introduction to the Mandarin Chinese speech sounds and the formation of Chinese characters
  • user-friendly, concise instruction dealing with the Chinese grammar and language use, and useful information on relevant cultural aspects
  • gradual introduction of basic vocabulary, set phrases and sentence patterns
  • audio materials, featuring recordings by native speakers of Chinese
  • regular online listening, speaking, reading and grammar exercises with immediate feedback to monitor your progress
  • gradual development of study and language skills.

The study materials are carefully structured and graded, and provide ample opportunities to practise the language in realistic contexts. This course presents Mandarin Chinese in simplified characters accompanied by pinyin throughout the first part of print and online materials (note: pinyin is used less in the second half of the materials). There are notes on significant regional variations in the language whenever relevant.

This course is designed to enable you to achieve a level of language proficiency equivalent to level A2 of the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. You will have developed your knowledge and understanding of the language as well as an awareness of cultural diversity in Chinese speaking countries which form a key part of the learning outcomes for studying at this Level. By the end of the module you will have developed key Level 1 undergraduate study skills such as learning to work independently and using strategies which enable you to solve problems and analyse data.

Please note that no further Chinese courses are currently planned.

Entry

This is a key introductory Level 1 course. Level 1 courses provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning. 

No prior knowledge of Chinese is required to study this course. To help decide if this is the course for you, see A taste of our course materials.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of this course, please seek advice from our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

We are trying to make the study materials accessible to as many people as possible. Please note that this course makes substantial use of audio and visual materials. Full transcripts of the audio CDs and online activities are provided on the course website except for those used for assessment purposes. The written and spoken elements you will be asked to complete as part of your assessment use audio and possibly visual stimuli. Students who require a transcript for their assessment because of their disability are able to apply in advance for restricted access to these but will have to provide evidence of their needs.

Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of the printed material are available on the course website. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Some images in the study material are used to help teach the correct stroke order for handwriting Chinese characters, and these may not be read by a screen reader. The assessment to pass this course does not require you to handwrite characters, and you will be able to complete the assignments using the taught method of creating characters with word-processing software.

Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

You will need to make extensive use of a personal computer and the internet. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or with this type of material you are advised to talk to the Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Books, audio CDs, and a dedicated website with additional online resources and activities. As a registered language student you have access to an online forum where you can communicate with fellow students.

You will need

You will need a headset with a microphone and headphones to record speech in activities featured on the website as well as for use with the real time audio-visual conferencing tool used for online tutorials.

You will need a CD player, and a device to play mp3 files.

You may wish to check that your computer set up allows you to access the Chinese Simplified font, or whether you will need to purchase an additional language pack. You should check your specific operating system and software for guidance. Please also check the Computer requirements and Assessment sections.

We recommend that you purchase a bilingual dictionary as well as a grammar book, such as:
Collins Easy Learning Mandarin Chinese Dictionary (ISBN 9780007261130), HarperCollins Publishers, and
Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar A Practical Guide by Ross, Claudia & Jing-heng Sheng Ma (ISBN 9780415700108), Routledge.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material. They will mark and comment on your written and spoken tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). You can also ask your tutor for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. This course usually includes a mix of face-to-face and online tutorials. Please note that depending on where you live, the mix will vary and in some places face-to-face tuition may be replaced by telephone conferencing. All of these will provide you with plenty of opportunities to speak and listen to Chinese. Whether and where day schools are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and the end-of-module assessment (EMA).

TMAs assess your writing and speaking skills. Your listening and reading skills will be tested by computer-marked assignments (iCMAs) presented on the website.The EMA has a written element. You will be given more detailed information when you begin the course.

Professional recognition

The Chartered Institute of Marketing recognises this course under their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“I really enjoyed learning Mandarin, even though I had some reservations about learning a foreign language through distance-learning at the ...”
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“I had long wanted to learn Chinese and, after the disappointment of local college Chinese conversation classes, I discovered L197 ...”
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“Response to post by Peter Brokenshire: The lack of speaking opportunities, is the challenge of learning language at a distance. ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code L197
Credits 30
OU Level 1
SCQF level 7
FHEQ level 4
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
4 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

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