Fall 2020 at the Center for World Languages

last updated September 1, 2020

This page serves as a portal for information about the Center's plans for the fall semester. Please note that all plans are subject to change as we continue to monitor new campus, state, and federal guidance and determine how to provide the best possible education in the face of our changing and challenging times.  

We are excited that the 2020-21 academic year has begun and and to welcome both continuing and new students in our program. In fall 2020, all Five College Center for World Language courses are being held remotely. The Center’s pedagogical model emphasizing conversation, connection, and small group work translates naturally to remote delivery. Remote course delivery also allows us to maximize the number of languages we offer, ensure that students can access our courses from any location, and support and align with campus strategies for safety and de-densification.

As always, we encourage you to consult your advisor, home campus policies, and Center staff to determine how best to fit our courses into your program of study. 

Learn more about our fall:

What languages are being offered in fall 2020? 

We are pleased to be able to maintain many of our normal language offerings in fall 2020. We are unfortunately unable to offer Igbo, Sinhala, Swedish, and Tibetan at this time, and we have limited capacity in some other languages. Please contact us as soon as possible about your desire to register. If we no longer have space in your language this semester, you may submit an early application for spring 2021.

How/where will fall 2020 courses be held? 

All fall 2020 courses are being held remotely. This includes both tutorials and conversation sessions, including conversation sessions where the student(s) and conversation partner are on the same campus, with no exceptions. This helps free up campus classroom space and limit non-critical in-person contact. 

Every session is assigned a secure Zoom meeting link. Students need a reliable internet connection and webcam in order to participate. Students should follow Zoom best practices, such as logging on a few minutes minutes early, muting yourself when you aren't speaking, positioning your camera properly, and limiting distractions. 

I am in a different time zone. Can I participate asynchronously?

Our courses emphasize dialogue and real-world communication, which requires each student to be present and practicing active engagement, speaking, and listening. Students cannot participate in Center classes asynchronously and sessions will not be recorded. 

However, our flexible scheduling model will allow students in most time zones to attend class at a time that works for them. If you can fit a Center class into your courseload, we will work to fit it into your schedule. 

If you are unable to enroll in a class this semester but want to informally continue your language study, you can still follow along with our course materials.

When do classes start?

Courses will begin on the following schedule:

  • Week of August 24: Afrikaans, Amharic, ASL, Bangla, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cantonese, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Nepali, Persian, Swahili, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Yoruba
  • Week of August 31: Arabic dialects, Danish, Filipino, Haitian Creole, Irish, Norwegian, Thai, Vietnamese, Wolof

You will receive a detailed schedule from your course organizer before the start of classes. Make sure to order your textbooks early so they arrive no later than one week before your first class session.

What is the attendance policy? How will I be graded? 

Regular attendance is key to getting the most out of your course, is expected of all students, and is reflected in your grade. Students who become ill or experience other extenuating circumstances should contact their course organizer or the program director to discuss accommodations. Always, and even more so this semester, the key is communication: the sooner you let us know what's going on, the more we can do to provide assistance and accommodations. 

Center classes are typically letter-grade only. However, in fall 2020, in line with campus policies and in acknowledgement of the continued and substantial stresses of the current environment, students will be allowed to opt for alternative grading (pass/fail or S/U) as permitted by their home campus policies. Students who opt for pass/fail or S/U grading are expected to fulfill major course expectations, including regular attendance and completion of assignments and final evaluations. Center courses still do not allow auditors.

Refer to your syllabus, learning contract, or course organizer for other policy information.

How will evaluations be held? 

All oral evaluations will take place via Zoom during the weeks of Nov. 16-20 or Nov. 30-Dec. 4, depending on the language. 

Mentored students will choose a day to complete their writing skills assessments during the week of Nov. 16-20 or Nov. 30-Dec. 4. 

Please note that due to our evaluators' schedules and our adherence to the UMass academic calendar, we do not have any flexibility in evaluation scheduling and cannot accommodate requests to reschedule evaluations for outside of these dates. Students should make note of their home campus academic calendars, and in particular whether classes may still be in session when Center evaluations are being held, and plan accordingly. 

How do I register? 

As of September 1, registration for Amherst and Mount Holyoke students is closed, and many languages are full. Eligible students should contact the Center as soon as possible to inquire about availability. If we cannot accommodate you this semester, you can submit an early application for spring 2021.

I have a question not addressed here.

Email fclang@fivecolleges.edu if you have any other questions at this stage.

We look forward to hearing from you and to having you in the program in the fall. 

Staff of the Five College Center for World Languages on Zoom