The RSCC Spanish Department serves various populations of the student body. The department offers foundations courses that prepare students to pursue advanced study, fulfill the Associate of Art requirement and fulfill high-school foreign language deficiency. All the courses taught through the department meet the TBR two first years of Spanish education requirements allowing a seamless transfer to a senior institution.
The Spanish Department consists of two full time faculty and several adjunct faculty members. The Faculty deliver the information as traditional instruction through on-ground courses, but also as on-ground with web-enhancement courses, hybrid courses, complete on-line courses and text-less courses. On-Line Spanish courses serve students from many campuses at once and allow students to study without commuting. Text-less courses allow students to take classes without the burden of buying expensive textbooks. Hybrid courses give students the opportunity to attend a few on-ground lectures where grammar and vocabulary are presented and complete the rest of the work on-line, saving money and time. Hybrid courses especially benefit those students with family obligations who still need live instructions, making the learning process easier to accomplish than having to complete all the work on their own. Special consideration must be given to a delivering system using state of the art technology that combines interactive and hybrid systems with one of the dual- studies-courses that the RSCC Spanish Department offers to high school students. For this particular dual-credit course the instructor goes to one high school every week to give a lecture, answer questions and proctor quizzes or exams. The instructor's presence is transmitted to other high school and the rest of the work is done by a carefully designed system for on-line work. Thanks to the RSCC Spanish instructors' dedication, countless efforts and unselfish given of the talent and time and with the RSCC' administrators' back-up of the Spanish instructor's work our students benefit from traditional as well as technical instruction giving them a broad appreciation of the Spanish language and culture.
Administrative and course management decisions are made by highly qualified professionals in the field. Spanish professors with a Master and PhD credentials are able to design original courses that reflect their strengths, creativity, and passions as professional instructors while covering required course material. They also contribute to the establishment of course competencies.
A rubric for listening-comprehension, reading, speaking and writing has been established for helping students to visually comprehend the task at hand and whether or not they have met the requirements of the assignment. These rubrics are based on ACTFL, (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages,) Proficiency Guidelines best practice. Additionally, projects requiring research are evaluated following a general checklist system based on the quality of the research and presentation of the project and projects requiring the students' participation on the RSCC Spanish Facebook Web-Page are evaluated following the corresponding pre-established system posted on every project.
Establishing learning objectives and assessment of best teaching practices have taken place and these are posted on the RSCC Server Spanish Program Web-Page. In addition to giving adjunct faculty information to familiarize them with the Spanish Program and academic guidance, a common syllabus is posted. Following the RSCC guidelines of best practice, a common format syllabus for Spanish courses has been created. The syllabus establishes common learning objectives and contents for each one of the four levels of Spanish offered at RSCC. The identical learning objectives and contents shared for each level give students the flexibility of making a suitable class schedule to meet their life style without the stress of not being prepared for taking course sequences from different instructors.
As technology continues to evolve, it is essential that requirements for the courses reflect these changes. We take pride that our computer labs are equipped with new hardware and the most current versions of software used in academia. Not only do we teach current trends but faculty take opportunities for continuing education to insure that instruction is current and relevant to the course material. As the students complete the degree, they are equipped with a strong sense of fundamental skills as well as the ability to implement those principles within their own work. Participation in special projects and actual design academic contests adds to the experiences that students gain while in the department.
A plethora of in and out-of-class teaching activities stimulate student involvement with the material. Passion and commitment demonstrated by earnest instructors is motivational, inspirational, and a valuable real-life example to students. Guests from foreign countries or those with extensive international experience are invited to class to give students a wide perspective of life in other cultures. Additionally, students enrolled in Spanish 2010 and Spanish 2020 are required to become involved with the City of Oak Ridge by planning and delivering a project on which Spanish and the community interact. The three stages of the projects -proposal-acceptance, delivering and in-class- project-outcome-presentation- are used to demonstrate how Spanish is already ingrained in the community as well as how useful and fun Spanish can be for the community.
The department has sponsored trips to Spain as well as an interchange student program between a Mexico City high school and RSCC students. Even though the trip to Spain and the exchange student program with Mexico are on hold, the Spanish Department is still sponsoring an annual trip to Costa Rica for total immersion in the culture and language. Massive fundraising activities for the Costa Rica tour helped to create a culture of responsibility, leadership, and work toward a common goal; however, the amount of faculty work necessary to execute the fundraising and logistical organization of the trip became overwhelming and exhausting. It has become necessary to develop and implement strategies to prevent faculty burn-out and improve the processes while continuing to focus on quality. The Costa Rica tour has introduced students to first-hand experience in language and culture by living for ten days in Costa Rican homes, attending classes, participating in cultural activities and being part of the everyday Costa Rican life. The total immersion Program is Costa Rica has increased students pursuit of excellence in studying the Spanish language and culture. It has also greatly impacted some students who completed the tour in two consecutive years.
Administered by Spanish Faculty and delivered with the assistance of students enrolled in Spanish classes, a Spanish competition covering poetry, theatre, singing and dancing through the annual Academic Festival provides feedback for area high school students. For many years the Spanish Department and its students have participated in RSCC Open House activities and other recruiting events. Participation in special projects and actual design academic contests adds to the experiences students gain while in the department.
The Department of Spanish also helps the articulation coordinator by keeping abreast with curriculum offered by senior institutions. As faculty we provide one on one advisement with all assigned students to insure that they are completing the courses needed to graduate or transfer to a four-year institution. The Spanish faculty's delivering Spanish's commitment to students and Roane State Community College makes the existence of the RSCC Spanish Program possible.
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