Online Spanish program at ASU ranked one of best in nation
With more than 500 million native speakers in 21 countries, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world and generally considered one of the most beneficial second languages for native speakers of American English to learn.
Students interested in studying the language online are positioned for success with the School of International Letters and Cultures’ Bachelor of Arts program, offered through ASU Online.
It is one of the finest online Spanish programs in the nation, according to onlinecollege.org’s editor’s picks for 2014.
According to Joe Chapman, director of student services for ASU Online, the Spanish program is the twenty-third largest program out of all 55 online undergraduate programs offered – and it continues to grow.
Lauded for the manner in which students new to the online education experience are guided through successful and efficient completion of their degrees, the program ranks high in a number of areas: career support, technology support, student engagement, disability support, library and research support, technological support and faculty credentials and accessibility.
Although online learning might still seem unconventional to some, according to the 2012 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, 77 percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face classes.
As an Army wife, current undergraduate student Natasha Perez said she choose ASU’s Spanish online program due to its mobility. After numerous attempts to go back to school, Perez explained, personal circumstances caused continual setbacks.
“When I finally started back in 2010, I had a family and we were living a military life. I ended up having to quit the school I had just started because my husband got orders for us to move again,” Perez said. “I knew I needed a school that could move with me, and I found the answer through the ASU Online Spanish program.”
“One of the beauties of this program is that in these online classes the students are fully accountable for the work. The classes are structured so that students have to complete the assignments without the usual professorial guidance that is provided in traditional classrooms, so there is no shying away,” said Cynthia Tompkins, faculty head of the Spanish and Portuguese program in the School of International Letters and Cultures.
Program coursework includes 7.5-week courses in Spanish language, literature, civilization and linguistics, as well as the general studies requirements common to all undergraduate degree programs. The Spanish courses also include oral components that enable students to practice and enhance their speaking skills through weekly virtual appointments with instructors facilitated through webcams and microphones.
The Spanish online program strives to connect students to prospective employment opportunities before they even graduate. Students can contact a career adviser through ASU’s Online Career Services, via web chat. Several times during the duration of their semester, students are also encouraged to attend webinars covering job-related topics.
The online program also provides a myriad of tutoring opportunities through its SmartThinking service. Students can schedule an online session, live chat or e-mail questions to a tutor.
“The excellence of our graduate and undergraduate programs in Spanish is widely known and makes those of us in the school proud,” said Robert Joe Cutter, director of the School of International Letters and Cultures.
“It is more than gratifying to see that the quality of the online Spanish degree program is also recognized beyond ASU,” he continued. “Several members of the Spanish faculty worked hard to establish this degree and ensure its success, and this ranking validates their efforts.”
Among the hard-working faculty Cutter referred to is Carmen Urioste-Azcorra, professor of Spanish, who said she is proud of the Spanish Bachelor of Arts online program and the way it is growing. Instrumental in the creation of the program, Urioste-Azcorra has been developing and teaching online classes since 2003.
The U.S. News & World Report 2015 edition of “America’s Best Online Programs” ranks Arizona State University eighth overall for undergraduate online programs.
The School of International Letters and Cultures is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Written by Monica Mancillas