Course Syllabus

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ASU SPA 101: Elementary Spanish

Course and Faculty Information

Course Description:

SPA 101 is the first of a four-semester sequence in Spanish as a second language at ASU designed for students who have never taken Spanish, or who were placed into this course through the placement test. Heritage learners who have been exposed to Spanish at home or in a Spanish-speaking community must contact immediately Dra. Sara Beaudrie ( for appropriate placement in the Spanish for Heritage Learners Program.

Credits: 4


No experience or previous instruction in Spanish is a condition for enrollment in this class. Alternatively, students may be placed in SPA 101 through the ASU Undergraduate Placement Test (Spanish).


Kerry Green

School of International Letters and Cultures - College of Liberal  Arts and Sciences
Office hours: Tuesdays 1:30- 2:30 PM/ Wednesdays 10 AM- 11 AM  | LL40

Course Overview

This course is designed as a "flipped class", which alternates in-person (F2F) interactions and online learning. The purpose of SPA 101 is for students to develop/continue to develop their language proficiency in Spanish along with the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and across the three modes of communication outlined by ACTFL: interpretive, interpersonal and presentational. As learning a language is more than memorizing vocabulary and grammatical rules, classes will be taught mostly in Spanish using the communicative approach. Students' ability to understand and communicate in written and oral Spanish will be expanded and their intercultural competence will also grow by being exposed to the rich cultures of the Spanish-speaking world and the United States. 

This flipped model offers the following advantages to students as they learn Spanish:  

  • Self-pacing: Students can take the time they need to complete their homework online  
  • Immediate feedback: Students will receive instant feedback and immediate results, which will allow them to learn from their work.  
  • Easy access: Students can complete online activities from any computer with reliable Internet access.   

It is the students' responsibility to familiarize themselves with the online component of this course.

If you need help with grammar and/or vocabulary see your instructor during office hours, and take advantage of the free tutoring available in the Writing & Tutoring Center. See their schedule here.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of SPA 101, students at the Novice level will be able to do the following in each of the four basic linguistic skills:

  1. Listening: Understand formulaic/courtesy expressions, questions asking for basic needs, statements related to biographical information and high-frequency words in.
  2. Use simple technical terms relative to grammatical analysis: voice, person, tense, mood and case.
  3. Analyze the structure of simple and compound sentences and classify them according to their structure.
  4. Relate the grammatical aspects to different linguistic contexts and different types of text.
  5. Identify and correct grammatical errors in order to develop metalanguage skills.
  6. Develop general academic skills in critical thinking, technological literacy, and communication.

Textbook and Class materials

Portales 1e.webp


Blanco, J. (2017). Portales 1e. Boston, MAVista Higher Learning.  

Students may purchase their text/online materials in the Bookstore or at the VHL Central bookstore (their direct link is cheaper!).  When you visit the site, there are two options for this course:    

Option 1: Students can choose between purchasing only the online component (which will include an online version of the text) 


Option 2: Students can purchase the online component WITH a loose-leaf printed text, which will cost more. 

With either choice (Option1, Option 2), students must purchase a 6-month access code OR 24 month access code  


Spinelli, Emily. (2012).  English Grammar for Students of Spanish: A Study Guide for Those Learning Spanish  (7th  edition). Olivia Hill Press.


Computer Requirements

This course uses Canvas to deliver content, which can be accessed from My ASU or from    

As students are required to complete different tasks online, the right hardware/software technologies are crucial in this class. For this purpose, a reliable computer with internet access (DSL or cable at 350 Kbps) is the minimum equipment required in SPA 101.

In addition, the following technologies are recommended for VHL Central:

  • Windows 7, 8, 10; Mac OS X 1.6+
  • Web browsers: MS Edge 15+ or higher, Chrome 58+ or higherMozilla Firefox 52+ or higher or Safari 11+ or higher. Cookies must be enabled. Adjust the settings in your browser and add plugins here.

NOTE: Internet Explorer 11 and Safari 10+ (and lower) are no longer supported.

Finally, the following tools are also recommended:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) and  Adobe Flash Player (free). Install the latest available version here.
  • A web-cam is needed to record video when using partner chat or live chat.
  • Headset with microphone OR speakers and mic are required for audio/video viewing, recording audio, as well as completing audio-enabled Chat, audio-enabled Forums, and any speech recognition features.
  • A media player is required to listen to any downloaded audio files from the Content>Resources area. For Windows users, the default Windows Media Player or QuickTime with iTunes are recommended. For MAC users, QuickTime with iTunes is recommended. Access and install latest available version.
  • Microsoft Office (Microsoft 365 is free for all currently-enrolled ASU students)

Note: Vista Central technologies are iPAD® AND CHROMEBOOK® FRIENDLY


Course Topics, Grading & Class Policies

Activities used for instruction and assessment of learning include written assignments, homework exercises delivered online, readings from textbook, interactive class sessions, quizzes and class projects.

Note: There are no make-ups for missed assignments. Special arrangements can only be made under exceptional circumstances provided that the student has previously notified the instructor of any emergencies or personal situations.

In-Class Policies

  • BE RESPECTFUL of the teacher and other classmates. Do not use electronic devices for personal reasons during class time in which you are graded for participation.  
  • Use your cellphone/computer only to access an online dictionary (Suggested: or to carry out a classroom activity. If you must take a call or text, do this in the hallway outside of the classroom.  
  • Arrive on time for class and participate actively. If you arrive late, be respectful and join the class immediately without creating too much interruption. Two late arrivals will be counted as one missed class.
  • Do your very best to participate and to be engaged in class, as this is quite important for your class participation grade.
  • Study the material outside of class and come prepared to interact with your classmates and instructor.

Tips for Student Success

This is a hybrid course. To be successful, you must attend all face-to-face sessions, be engaged and proactive.

  • Be active/engaged and participate in class activities
  • Check the course in Canvas daily
  • Read announcements posted in Canvas
  • Read and respond to course email messages as needed
  • Complete assignments by the due dates specified in the Canvas Calendar
  • Communicate regularly with your instructor and peers
  • Create a study and/or assignment schedule to stay on track and do not fall behind.

Grading Criteria

Assessments Percentage
Attendance and Participation 10%
VHL Homework  20%
Writing Assignments (2) 10%
Chapter Tests (4) 20%
Projects (2) 20%
Final Exams (Oral: 10%, Written: 10%) 20%



Grade Percentage
A+ 97 - 100%
A 93 - <97%
A- 90 - <93%
B+ 87 - <90%
B 83 - <87%
B- 80 - <83%
C+ 77 - <80%
C 70 - <77%
D 60 - <70%
E <60%

Submitting Assignments

All assignments, unless otherwise announced, MUST be submitted to the designated area of Canvas or in class as indicated by your instructor. Never submit assignments via email.

If emergencies or unexpected events prevent you from completing your assignments on time, you must contact your instructor BEFORE such assignment is due. This way appropriate arrangements can be made without students falling behind in class.

Assignment due dates follow Arizona Standard time, typically at 11:59PM. Click the following link to access the Time Converter to ensure you account for the difference in Time Zones. Note: Arizona does not observe daylight savings time.

Grading Procedure

Grades reflect your performance on assignments and adherence to deadlines. Grades on assignments will be available within 72 hours of the due date in the Gradebook. Check the rubrics for grading guidelines in Course Information.

Description of class activities/Attendance and Participation

Regular and consistent class attendance is expected and essential for the successful completion of the course. In a 16-week course, students are allowed to miss two classes or three for MWF classes without penalty. Each class you miss beyond the aforementioned limits will automatically result in a grade of zero “0” in participation for that class period. Documentation for justified absences must be provided to your instructor immediately after the absence took place. Tardiness: Classes always start on time. Please talk to the instructor after class if you arrive late regarding your tardiness. Remember: 2 late arrivals will count as 1 full absence.

If students are absent for any reason, THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MATERIAL GIVEN IN CLASS. Call or e-mail a classmate for the information needed to perform adequately in the course. If you are absent you MAY NOT use your absence as an excuse for not being prepared or not turning in your homework or assignments on the due date designated in the course calendar.

Active participation and attendance is a must for any successful language learner. Your oral performance and participation in class activities will constitute 10% of your final grade. This grade is determined by the quality and quantity of your participation in class/group discussions and your preparedness and willingness to participate in paired and group activities.   

Questions regarding your participation grades should be addressed to your instructor during office hours, where more detailed feedback and suggestions can be offered. Please see the Participation rubric in Class Policies for more details.  

Classes/exams are NOT CANCELED before/after any holidays. If you do not want to affect your grade or miss your quiz/exam dates, make sure you make travel arrangements accordingly. Chapter/Final exams may not be taken early or otherwise rescheduled to accommodate travel plans.  

Student-athletes, band members, and members of other such university organizations must bring an original letter from the supervisor of their specific department by the fifth day of instruction indicating the dates they will miss class.

Writing Assignments

Students will complete two (2) writing assignments during the semester that will contribute to the development of their written skills. The topics of these writing assignments will be based on what students are able to express in Spanish at the given time in the semester.  

Note: For all writing assignments, whether they are part of the exam or independent assignments, you may not use your textbook to copy phrases or sentences or any electronic device with the exception of a dictionary. Please be aware that we encourage the use of spell checkers, but the use of online translation tools, copying information from websites or consulting a Spanish-speaking person while completing assignments is not allowed. All work that you submit must be your own and must be written in your own words. Translating or having a tutor or native speaker alter your work will be treated as violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. NO LATE WRITING ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED

Portales Pre-classwork (aka: Homework)

These are activities that students must complete on Vista Higher Learning (VHL) prior to class. These assignments are worth 20% of the final grade and must be submitted by the posted due dates. Consult the Canvas Calendar to anticipate when these exercises are due.

Chapter tests

Students will have four chapter tests, one after each lesson studied, excluding the last lesson, which will be included in the comprehensive final exam.  

NOTE: There are NO MAKE-UPS for chapter tests. If a test is missed due to a documented police, court, or medical emergency, students must provide appropriate, verifiable documentation in order for accommodation to be granted.

Midterm and Final Class Projects

There will be two projects throughout the semester, one at midterm and one at final. Each project will be worth 10% of the final grade. The purpose of these projects is to heighten students' cultural awareness of the Hispanic world. Do not forget to consult the Canvas Calendar for details on due dates.

Final Exam

The final exam consists of two evaluations: oral exam (10%) and written exam (10%), each targeting specific skills and on specific dates that will be announced in the classroom and through Canvas. Below students will find a description of these two tasks:

Oral Exam

Situational dialogues in groups of 2-3 will be administered at the end of the course to assess oral proficiency. The instructor will provide each pair/group of students the topic to be discussed. The topics are similar in format and content to the paired and group exercises and activities practiced during class every day. Students will be given 5 minutes to prepare their role-play. The role-play itself is to be presented as a natural conversation. In other words, no one will be allowed to read anything or recite rehearsed or memorized sentences that sound unnatural and not spontaneous. All points for content and interaction will be deducted if the conversation is not spontaneous (impromptu). Check the Canvas Calendar for dates. The oral exam is worth 10% of the final grade.

Written Exam

The final written exam is designed to assess all the areas covered in this class (Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading Comprehension, Culture, and Writing) and is cumulative (covering all chapters studied during the course). The exam date is listed on the Canvas Calendar and it is worth 10% of the final grade. ALL STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE THE FINAL WRITTEN EXAM. Following the University Calendar, there will be no alternate date for the final exam, so plan accordingly. Remember: Final exams may not be taken early or otherwise rescheduled to accommodate travel plans.

Late or Missed Assignments

Notify the instructor BEFORE an assignment is due if an urgent situation arises and you are unable to submit the assignment on time.  Follow the appropriate University policies to request an accommodation for religious practices or to accommodate a missed assignment due to University-sanctioned activities.

Communicating With the Instructor

Community Forum

This course uses a discussion topic called "Community Forum" for general questions and comments about the course. Prior to posting a question or comment, check the syllabus, announcements, and existing posts to ensure it's not redundant. Students are encouraged to respond to the questions of their own classmates.

Email questions of a personal nature to your instructor. You can expect a response within 24 hours.

Email, Conference and chat

Email, Conference and Chat are communication tools provided within Canvas, whose main purpose is to facilitate the dialogue between instructors and students. These tools must, however, be used wisely and appropriately according to the particular situation.

  • ASU email is an official means of communication among students, faculty, and staff. Students are expected to read and act upon email in a timely fashion. Students bear the responsibility of missed messages and should check their ASU-assigned email regularly. Use email to communicate issues of personal nature, emergencies, short requests or short questions that require short answers. In Canvas, email is integrated through the Inbox option on the Navigation panel. Remember: Never submit any assignment by email.

  • Use Conferences to meet with your instructor in real time, especially if you cannot make it to regular office hours. This option must be used in case students need a more elaborated answer to any question and if students require guidance with respect to instructions or class procedures and also to discuss situations of a personal nature.
  • If your instructor enables the Chat tool in Canvas, use Chat only for informal course-related conversation requiring brief answers. Chat is not ideal for important questions about assignments, personal situations or emergencies. Keep in mind that instructors are not required to monitor the chat tool in Canvas.

Course Policies

Student Code of Conduct

Establishing a Safe Environment

Academic Integrity  

Title IX

Disability Accommodations


Harassment Prohibited

Mental Health

Trigger Warning

Student Code of Conduct  

Establishing a Safe Environment  


ASU Course Evaluation

Students are expected to complete the ASU course evaluation towards the end of the course. The feedback provides valuable information to the instructor and the college and is used to improve student learning. Students are notified when the online evaluation form is available. 

Syllabus Disclaimer

The syllabus is a statement of intent and serves as an implicit agreement between the instructor and the student. Every effort will be made to avoid changing the course schedule but the possibility exists that unforeseen events will make syllabus changes necessary. Remember to check your ASU email and the course site often.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due