Before getting into my invective against required e-Textbooks and e-Learning platforms, let me set the stage for my perspective. I’m about to teach a university-level introductory French course. Being an adjunct who was hired to fill the need for an additional section of this class (super exciting to see growth in a language department!), I don’t have much say as to what goes on in terms of curriculum for this course. I have essentially no democratic stake in the operation of this department, or therefore the class; my textbook has been prescribed, as well as the blended-learning format of the course. I do have some educational freedom when it comes to assignments and the order in which we cover the material in the textbook.

These course sections should have some sort of uniformity in order to ensure that students proceed to the second semester of introductory French having covered more or less the same content, and so my gripe here is less about my place at the bottom of the departmental hierarchy (n.b.: I have no ill-will towards my colleagues) and more about the impact of certain prescribed curricular decisions on my students. Namely, this 4-credit course consists of three hours of face-to-face lecture (split to meet twice each week), plus one hour weekly of asynchronous online recitation through the textbook publisher’s e-learning portal. Noteworthy advantages of this format include:

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IPA Characters

Interactive IPA chart

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Typing different languages on Windows can be a pain. In undergrad, I memorized all of the relevant alt-codes for French characters. When I started studying Sanskrit, my professor shared this US International keyboard from Carleton College. It has covered almost all of my accent mark typing needs (outside of IPA characters), and is very intuitive to use for someone who grew up with a standard QWERTY US keyboard.

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