Beginning Spanish Spring 2019 Syllabus



Mr. Aurelio Días-Ferreira
Office Hours: Virtual office hours; by appointment

Greensheet Links
Competencies (C,O)
Canvas Login and Tutorials
PLAZAS eBook website

Canvas Information: Course content in Canvas will be available by the morning of January 24th.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically. There, you will find all relevant and up-to-date details, including Zoom meeting times.


A joint venture of the School of Library and Information Science and the Department of World Languages and Literatures, this beginning course provides a foundation in Spanish language and its cultures that will enhance the students’ professional preparation as well as their interpersonal skills. The first objective of the course is to prepare the students to interact with Spanish-speaking patrons from various countries and communities, and, for this purpose, the course content and activities will emphasize communication for a professional and socio-cultural setting. Secondly, by taking this course, the students will increase their proficiency in the use of information and communication technologies by being able to find information and resources in Spanish. Thirdly, through repeated exposure to the language, the students will practice applying the Spanish language and will be better prepared to build professional relationships with Spanish-speaking patrons, librarians, and public agencies.  Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on receptive skills (listening and reading), on writing, and on Hispanic cultures.

This beginning (first-semester) Spanish class is for students who have no or little experience with the Spanish language. Students who are advanced or native speakers may take this class, but are requested to pay particular attention to typical mistakes, and to help other students on  in-class and homework oral assignments. 

Instruction in the beginning of the semester will be mostly in English, and will progressively add more basic Spanish as the course advances. Most detailed definitions or language structure (grammar) explanations/discussions will be in English.

Note: Check with your iSchool academic advisor on minimum grade policy. Typically, the student is required to earn at least an average B grade in their courses.


Prerequisites: See Course Prerequisites section below for specific iSchool required classes. There are no Spanish language requirements for this beginning class.

Mandatory Initial Online Class Meetings (January 24th or 26th): Two repeated mandatory Zoom class meetings will be held in this first week, as part of the introduction to the class and its requirements. For this first week, students need to attend only one of these two mandatory class sessions (Thursday–January 24th–at 6:30 pm or Saturday–26th–at 10:00 am). Try your best to make one of these meetings this first week. Let me know ahead of time if you cannot attend this first week.

Please check the Calendar (below), for tentative meeting dates/times and other related details. To join the class sessions in Zoom, go to:

(This link and other details can be found in Canvas.)

Regular Online Class Meetings:

Regular class sessions will be for 75 minutes, twice a week (Tuesdays at 6:30 pm PDT and Saturdays at 10:00 am PDT). Real-time (synchronous) attendance, online via Zoom, is highly recommended. Students who do not attend both online sessions for the week must view the recordings and write a brief summary with a brief reaction/commentary on one of the two weekly sessions. In general, the Tuesday sessions will focus on language structure/grammar lectures, some culture and library-related/professional practical vocabulary, while the Saturday sessions will review previous material, and provide more reading and listening/speaking practice. All recordings of the class sessions will be posted in a centralized location (link will be referenced in Canvas

Exam Review Online Class Meetings:

A few days before Exam 1, Exam 2, and the Final Exam, there will be two repeated 75-minute review sessions to practice and review the format and content in the exams. You only need to attend one exam review session for that week. Because this session will help prepare for the exams, real-time (‘synchronous’) attendance is also highly recommended.

Canvas homework Assignments, and PLAZAS Activities:

In addition to the regular (Tuesday and Saturday) Zoom class sessions, each student should spend an average of approximately 6-8 hours per week to review and do the “Assignments” homework in Canvas, and the assigned chapter exercises “Activities” from the PLAZAS online workbook.

Canvas “Assignments” focus on professional Spanish usage and terminology (short writing assignments, written dialogs, audio/oral assignments, brief question/comment of the week, etc.). The homework in Canvas is corrected, commented, and checked often. The online PLAZAS Student Activities Manual/workbook homework is mostly ‘drill’ grammar/vocabulary/ culture practice exercises, necessary for success in the Canvas Assignments homework. All homework is detailed in each folder for the Week (“Semana”), under the “Homework/tarea” section.

Generally speaking, to learn a language, at least a couple of hours of studying, practicing or reviewing is typically required everyday or every other day. Studying for hours in one sitting before class or an exam will not help most students learn the language.


All exams (called “Quizzes” in Canvas) are timed and taken online, in Canvas. There will be two exams and a cumulative final exam. Each exam, including the final, will include (1) a written, objective grammar and vocabulary part, (2) a small written cultural part, and (3) a special-purpose/library-specific vocabulary and written part (usually in the format of dialogs or short paragraphs). The format of the online Canvas exams will typically be multiple-choice or fill-in, followed by short-sentence and short-essay writing exercises. Although studying for the exam ahead of time is essential, students may, during the exam, very quickly consult the book, a cheat sheet, or other quick references.

Speaking Practice:

For oral or spoken assessment, students will have three oral homework assignments: to record brief content in Zoom  (e.g. record a self introduction, orally act out dialogs in groups of two). These oral assignments will be detailed in the “Homework/tarea” section in Canvas and will count as homework. There will also be some time, especially in the Saturday sessions, for more interactive speaking/listening practice. If the student wants more practice, he or she can set up an appointment for a virtual office-hour meeting via Zoom.

For any additional class-related or language-related consultation, students can contact the instructor via email or set up an afternoon appointment to meet for a brief Zoom session.

Grading Distribution: 

  • PARTICIPATION / attendance & PLAZAS SAM exercises (supports CLOs:  1, 3, 4, 5, 7)    25%

    Students should attend the initial mandatory meeting via Zoom (at the beginning of the semester)

    After the first week, it is recommended that students attend both Tuesday and Saturday ‘regular’ sessions. If they cannot attend both sessions in that week, they must turn in a brief summary-and-commentary on the material from one of the two recordings. Do not just summarize the class, but also include a brief reflection/opinion on some discussed linguistic or cultural topics.

    During class, participation, including asking questions (either out loud or via the chat), is key to a student’s success in the class.

     ”Activities” from PLAZAS SAM/workbook, will be considered part of the participation grade. These will consist of online, auto-graded “Activities” that provide drill exercises on each chapter. Do the exercises assigned in the PLAZAS website Calendar, which are also listed in the Canvas “Homework” folders for the week.

    Students are responsible for checking/correcting their own SAM (online workbook Activities) answers for their own learning. Note: PLAZAS‘ suggested answers are displayed at the bottom of the online exercises, usually in red.

  • HOMEWORK: Canvas assignments (supports CLOs:  2, 6, 7)                                           25%

    The most important Canvas assignments are the written homework and three individual/group oral recordings. All these homework (“Tarea” ) exercises are organized by week (“Semana”), and are posted and submitted (as a Word file) under “Assignments” in Canvas.

    In addition, students should also post brief comments in response to the “Question of the Week” — detailed under “Discussions” in Canvas.

  • EXAMS (supports CLOs:  1, 2, 6, 7)

    o    Two timed, written Canvas exams (10% each)                                             20%

    o    Cumulative, timed, written Canvas final exam                                             30%

    Exam 1 can be taken online, at any time, by March 12th.
    Exam 2 can be taken online, at any time, by April 30th.
    The cumulative Final Exam can be taken online, at any time, by May 23rd.

    See Canvas for updated details on assignment and exam dates.

    Reminder: To know the current grade, please contact the instructor.

Tentative Calendar (updated information and details are found in Canvas)





THU/Jan. 24 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Jan. 26 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Familiarize yourself with Zoom tool and Canvas

Intro to course; intro to Zoom / Canvas and to the assistant (attend either session–on Jan. 24 or Jan. 26)


TUE/Jan. 29 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Feb. 2 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo Prelim.:Greeting and meeting people;
 Estructura 1—Subject pronouns and the present tense of the verb ‘ser;’ ‘Hay’ and numbers 0-30)

Culture: ‘El mundo hispano’

Library/’iSchool’: greetings, giving personal info, cultural awareness


TUE/Feb. 5 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Feb. 9 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo Prelim.: Estructura 2—Question words; Vocabulario esencial

Class lecture on grammar fundamentals—gender (masculine/feminine), number (plural/singular), articles; verb conjugations (verb endings); alphabet & its regular sounds

Culture: Encuentro cultural
Library/’iSchool’: general library vocabulary, asking/giving personal info, cultural rules and behavior


TUE/Feb. 12 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Feb. 16 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo 1: Estructura 1—Definite and indefinite articles, gender, and how to make nouns plural; Vocabulario 1 & 2; Estructura 2—Present tense of regular ‘-ar’  verbs; Telling time and talking about the days of the week

Culture: TBD
Library/’iSchool’: asking/giving personal info (cont.); housing, real estate


TUE/Feb. 19 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Feb. 23 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo 1 (cont.): ¡A leer!—Español en línea; ¡A repasar!

Textbook: Capítulo 2: Vocabulario 1—La familia
Estructura 1—Indicating ownership and possession
Class lecture: using ‘poder’ (‘to be able to / can’) for forming commands/requests
Culture: Encuentro cultural—Los Estados Unidos
Library/’iSchool’: filling out forms; immigration, Social Services


TUE/Feb. 26 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Mar. 2 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo 2: Estructura 2-3—Describing people and things

(1 & 2); Vocabulario 2—Las nacionalidades; Estructura 4-Describing daily activities at home/school; Estructura 5—Expressing possession, age, states, desires, and obligation;¡A repasar

Culture: Encuentro cultural—México; ¡A leer!—La fiesta de quince años
Library/’iSchool’: describing yourselves in the occupational setting,…


TUE/Mar. 5 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Mar. 9 @ 10:00 am (PST)


Repaso (Review)…  (attend either review session)


EXAM 1 (mainly Cap. P, 1, and 2; 2-hour exam); take by Mar. 12th


TUE/Mar. 12 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Mar. 16 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo 3: Estructura 1—‘gustar’ (to like) (cover only: ‘a mí me gusta/gustan’; ‘a usted le gusta/gustan’); Vocabulario 2—Los lugares en el pueblo y la ciudad; Estructura 2—Expressing plans with  ‘ir’ (to go);
Culture: Encuentro cultural—Colombia; ¡Así se dice!—Talking about the months, seasons, and the weather;
Library/’iSchool’: schedules, and cultural notes on dates


TUE/Mar. 19 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Mar. 23 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: (cont.) Capítulo 3: Estructura 3—Describing leisure-time activities; Estructura 4—Expressing knowledge & familiarity;
¡A repasar!
Culture: Encuentro cultural—España
Library/’iSchool’: Banking, personal finances (Vocabulario del Capítulo 11: “Talking about personal finances”), and cultural notes on the metric system and numeric convention


TUE/Mar. 26 — No class
SAT/Mar. 30 — No class

No classes this week


TUE/Apr. 2 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Apr. 6 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Spring Break (no classes)


TUE/Apr. 9 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Apr. 13 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo 4: Estructura 1—Describing household chores and other activities—Present tense of stem-changing verbs (e > ie; o > ue; e > i); Estructura 3—Talking about location, emotional and physical states, and actions in progress (The verb ‘estar’); ¡Así se dice!—Counting from 100 and higher; ¡A repasar!
Culture: Encuentro cultural—Bolivia y Paraguay
Library/’iSchool’: Health terms; ¡A leer!—Curaméricas Global (Strategy: Recognizing Spanish affixes)


TUE/Apr. 16 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Apr. 20 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo 5: Vocabulario 1—Las partes del cuerpo (Parts of the body); Vocabulario 2—La salud; Estructura 2—Describing people, things, and conditions (‘ser’ vs. estar’); Estructura 3—Pointing out people and things (Demonstrative adjectives & pronouns)

Reflexive verbs will be covered LATER: Estructura 1—…Reflexive pronouns and present tense of reflexive verbs)
Textbook: ¡Así se dice!—Acabar de +infinitive; ¡A repasar!
Culture: TBD
Library/’iSchool’: Film and the Arts, the Press and the Media (Vocabulario del Capítulo 13—Programas y películas (movies); Las artes


TUE/Apr. 23 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/Apr. 27 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Repaso… (attend either review session)



EXAM 2 (mainly Cap. 3, 4, and 5; 2-hour exam); take by Apr. 30


TUE/Apr. 30 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/May 4 @ 10:00 am (PST)



Textbook: Cap. 5: Estructura 1—Talking about routine activities (Reflexive pronouns and present tense of reflexive verbs; Capítulo 6: Vocabulario 1—La comida (pág. 180-181); Estructura 1—Making comparisons (comparatives and superlatives); ¡Así se dice!—Expressing food measurements

Culture: ‘Saludos y besos en los países hispanos’ (Greetings and kisses…) – (not from PLAZAS textbook)

Library/‘iSchool’: The Internet and technology terms


TUE/May 7@ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/May 11 @ 10:00 am (PST)

Textbook: Capítulo 6 (cont.): Estructura 2—Describing past event (Regular verbs and verbs with spelling changes in the preterit
‘Los acentos escritos’ (not from PLAZAS); review and correction of common errors
Culture: TBD
Library/‘iSchool’: TBD


TUE/May 14 @ 6:30pm (PST)
SAT/May 18 @ 10:00 am (PST)



Repaso… (attend either review session)

FINAL EXAM (cumulative; 3-hour exam); take by May 23rd

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend  a minimum of 3 hours for every hour in class, reading/reviewing the covered material, doing the homework, and studying. For learning a language in particular, daily reviewing and practicing of learned material is crucial.

Course Prerequisites

iSchool prerequisites are: INFO 203
There are no Spanish language prerequisites for this beginning Spanish class.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Use proper Spanish expressions by following correct grammar agreement in articles, nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
  2. Recognize and use (a) basic, general vocabulary, (b) basic terminology and phrases in common areas such as health, immigration, banking, housing, employment, etc., and © basic and specialized library science and resources terminology.
  3. Understand basic Spanish conversational language and interact with Spanish-speaking patrons in the library context
  4. Locate and use appropriate amount of information in Spanish via information and communication technologies
  5. Use conversational Spanish at a level required for building professional collaborations and relationships with Spanish-speaking librarians and public agencies
  6. Better understand Spanish-speaking cultures and peoples
  7. Overall, be able to communicate about most general and most library-related topics or be able to ask for and understand clarifications, using the basic present and future tenses, as well as past tenses.  (Past tenses will be taught in the second-semester class, SPAN 132-11 / LS2.)

Core Competencies

SPAN 132 supports the following core competencies:

  • C  Recognize the diversity (such as cultural and economic) in the clientele and employees of an information organization and be familiar with actions the organization should take to address this diversity.
  • O  Identify ways in which information professionals can contribute to the cultural, economic, educational, and social well-being of our global communities.

Required Textbook:

The required book key (code) allows you to view all online textbook pages and other content, and allows you to do the online workbook/SAM ‘Activities’ homework exercises. Only the online book key is required. The physical/print copy of the textbook, although recommended, is not mandatory for this class. Note there are no plans to offer second-semester, Intermediate Spanish (132-11), and, hence, 6-month access will suffice for this semester.

Textbook:  PLAZAS 5th Edition iLrn: Heinle Learning Center  (online book key access required)

Online Course Code: CTE993 ( under: SPAN 132-10 for the Professions/ iSchool – S’19 – Beginning – A. Dias-Ferreira).

Purchasing the book key/textbook package

The only book requirement for the class is the iLrn book key, which allows for online access to textbook pages, SAM/workbook exercises, and other practice resources.

Below are three options available to you, and must be purchased directly from this website:

1)   Custom ILRN Instant Access for Plazas 5E:180 days, 5th Edition  (* expires in 6 months)

Note: This option will only last 6 months (one semester only).
 ~$93.00 (USD)


2)   ePack: Plazas, 5th + iLrn, 4 term (24 months) Instant Access

Includes a print copy of the textbook and the required online access. This is the best deal for its value, specially if the student wants to keep the physical book pages for future reference.
~$128.00 (USD)


3)  iLrn Language Learning Center, 4 terms (24 months) Instant Access for Hershberger’s Plazas, 5th Edition
This is the minimum required: online access to do the workbook/SAM exercises and the textbook pages. Online access is good for 2 years.
~$120.00 (USD)

After you have decided which package to use, click on your package option and “Add to Cart” — “Start Secure Checkout” — “Create a New Account” with all the info needed for purchasing the package.

Creating a Heinle Learning Center Account (required)
If you do not already have an account, you need to create one to regularly access your online eBook and SAM (Student Activities Manual). To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open a new browser window and go to and click LOGIN.
  2. Click the Create account button.
  3. Fill out the information, and select your username and password. Then click Submit.
    Note: Remember your username and password, and be sure to select your correct time zone. Also, please enter a valid e-mail address so the password can be recovered if you forget it.

Entering your own Book Key and the Course Code (after creating an account)

Once you have your account username/password and are logged in, under your home page “My Workstation,” enter the course code ( CTE993 ) to complete the enrollment process (click on “Go” when done). You should see the class title: “SPAN 132-10 for the Professions/iSchool – S’19 – Beginning – A. Dias-Ferreira”

To access the online content, you will then need your own book key (attained above, under “Purchasing the book key code/textbook package”. Once set up, you will find online all textbook pages, SAM/workbook exercises, and other necessary practice resources at the PLAZAS website ( )

PLAZAS Technical Support
For technical support with the PLAZAS account, please contact the Cengage/Heinle publisher rep: 1-800-354-9706 or consult or send an email to:

Other References

Canvas will contain materials more specific to the professions and iSchool, including specialized handouts and vocabulary lists, as well as links to relevant websites.

For general terminology, English-Spanish / Spanish-English online dictionaries are available. Suggested online dictionaries are:

94-100 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
84-86 B
80-83 B-
77-79 C+
74-76 C
70-73 C-
67-69 D+
64-66 D
60-63 D-
Below 60 F

In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the school, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • “C” represents Adequate work; a grade of “C” counts for credit for the course;
  • “B” represents Good work; a grade of “B” clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;  Check with an advisor on cases where the grade is less than B (B- or lower); after the first attempt the student will typically be placed on administrative probation. He/She must repeat the class the following semester. If, on the second attempt, the student does not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B), he or she may be disqualified.
  • “A” represents Exceptional work; a grade of “A” will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs’ Syllabus Information web page at:

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