The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 31st

Spanish classes should not be taught solely online


I was stunned when I read that introductory level Spanish classes are now to be taught entirely online at UNC.

I have no doubt that this measure will save money and “solve” enrollment problems, but is it really worth the academic compromise? This is UNC, not the University of Phoenix Online.

The idea that someone could learn the first level of a language from an online course is laughable.

Part of learning a language for the first time is repeatedly having an instructor demonstrate pronunciations and correct your pronunciations of words.

It is no surprise, then, that the students taking the online classes have been much poorer speakers of Spanish.

This is problematic for multiple reasons. First, Spanish is not a “research language.”

That is to say, no one is taking Spanish purely because they want to read primary texts, rendering pronunciation unnecessary. On the contrary, Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the U.S., and proper pronunciation is crucial.

I sympathize with the Spanish department’s financial and enrollment woes, but this is perhaps the worst idea I have ever seen come to fruition at UNC.

Spanish undergraduate students are not paying thousands of dollars in tuition to take online classes that are pedagogically inferior to ones being taught in middle schools.

Pete Miller
Political Science, Religious Studies

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