Spanish 410: Advanced Conversation

Span 410: Advanced Oral Expression and Communication


Álex Ramírez-Arballo Ph. D.

349 Burrowes

Phone: 814-863-9506


Horas de oficina:

L-M 1:30-3:00 o previa cita.



Blanco A, José, Revista, Boston: Vista Higher Learning, 2014, 5ta edición.

Un buen diccionario (e.g. Collins, Larousse).

Es recomendable que frecuentes el sitio


Description of the Course

This is an advanced course for non-native Spanish speakers. The goal of the course is to achieve fluency in the language by incorporating vocabulary and commonly used expressions that can help the student achieve mastery and efficiency in the use of language.   Although it is not a grammar course, sometimes it will be necessary to pause to make some clarifications and specific explanations about certain grammatical structures. The course aims to facilitate the ability to express oneself both professionally and personally. The class is conducted in Spanish and students are expected to use that language at all times.

It is highly recommended that you attend office hours. It is very likely that in the next few weeks you will have doubts about the content of the course that cannot be resolved during the class due to obvious time constraints. I am a full-time teacher and available during my office hours and any time or day that suits you best. Don’t let doubts build up!



Asistencia y participación 10 %




10 %
Proyectos 15 %
Exámenes 30 %
Reaction papers 15 %


Presentaciones 20 %




Attendance and Participation: Students are required to attend each class and arrive on time and prepared. It is disrespectful to use cell phones in the classroom and is not allowed except in an emergency. As this is a conversation course, it is logical to expect that the note will depend heavily on your participation. However, the student is allowed to miss 3 classes without prejudice to his or her grade. 2% of the final grade will be lost for each class missed after the third. I want to state that students are graded according to their daily participation in the class. After each class I will write down the students’ contributions during that session.   We’re here to talk! Remember: What counts most is your attitude in each class.

In order to have much more effective control of participation in class, we will use a participation form that the student must submit to the teacher at the end of each class. This form is available on the front page of CANVAS.


You are required to provide verification from University Health Services for significant prolonged illnesses or injuries resulting in absences from classes.


Vocabulary: the student must register during each session those words that he/she does not know; during ten weeks he/she must upload them to the corresponding drop box available in CANVAS. The origin of these words is not important, they may well be words you have heard in class discussion, in one of the short films or in the textbook. Remember that you should not translate the words but define them in Spanish.

Exams: Students are responsible for learning ALL the vocabulary assigned to each of the chapters studied, in addition to the content; the vocabulary is determined by their weekly assignments. There will be 4 exams throughout the semester.

Projects: Throughout the semester students must complete four individual projects:

  1. Analysis of the podcast: The student must select a podcast in Spanish and write a text in which he or she can establish his or her personal opinion about its content. The length of the text should range from three hundred to three hundred and fifty words.
  2. Film Analysis: The student must select one of the films that the teacher will propose in class. After selecting the film you will proceed to view it and answer a series of specific questions provided by the teacher.
  3. Native Speaker Interview: The student must identify a native Spanish speaker and conduct an interview that should last five to ten minutes. The student must deliver this activity in MP3 format in one of the drop boxes of CANVAS.
  4. Teacher interview: The student must select a designated day and time for an interview in his/her office. The student should not prepare for a specific examination so much as to openly discuss the topics covered during the semester.

Calendar: (you will be provided during the first week) The calendar is a general plan, but it is very possible that the topics will be adjusted or that we spend more or less time in them than what is stated there.


Grading Scale:

A = 94 to 100; A- = 90 to 93.99; B+ = 88.0 to 89.99; B = 83 to 87.99; B- = 80 to 82.99; C+ = 77 to 79.99 C = 70 to 76.99; D = 60 to 69.99 and F = 59.99 and below


Students with disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807(V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office for Disability Services website at

In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact ODS and provide documentation (see the documentation guidelines at If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with your instructor as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester.


(3) Faculty Senate Policy 42-27- Class Attendance (


Academic Policies and Procedures for Undergraduate Students


The faculty, staff and other resources of the University are furnished for the education of students who attend the University. A class schedule is provided for students and faculty so that a reasonably orderly arrangement for instruction is facilitated. The fact that classes are scheduled is evidence that the faculty believes class instruction is important. Therefore, class attendance is important for the benefit of students.


Accordingly, it is the policy of the University that class attendance by students be encouraged and that all instructors organize and conduct their courses with this policy in mind. A student should attend every class for which the student is scheduled and should be held responsible for all work covered in the courses taken. In each case, the instructor should decide when the class absence constitutes a danger to the student’s scholastic attainment and should make this fact known to the student at once. A student whose irregular attendance causes him or her, in the judgment of the instructor, to become deficient scholastically, may run the risk of receiving a failing grade or receiving a lower grade that the student might have secured had the student been in regular attendance. Instructors should provide, within reason, opportunity to make up work for students who miss class for regularly scheduled, University-approved curricular and extracurricular activities (such as Martin Luther King Day of Service, field trips, debate trips, choir trips, and athletic contests). However, if such trips are considered by the instructor to be hurting the student’s scholastic performance, the instructor should present such evidence for necessary action to the head of the department in which the course is offered and to the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled or to the Division of Undergraduate Studies if the student is enrolled in that division. Instructors should provide, within reason, opportunity to make up work for students who miss classes for other legitimate but unavoidable reasons. Legitimate, unavoidable reasons are those such as illness, injury, family emergency. If an evaluative event will be missed due to an unavoidable absence, the student should contact the instructor as soon as the unavoidable absence is known to discuss ways to make up the work. An instructor might not consider an unavoidable absence legitimate if the student does not contact the instructor before the evaluative event. Students will be held responsible for using only legitimate, unavoidable reasons for requesting a make-up in the event of a missed class or evaluative event. Requests for missing class or an evaluative event due to reasons that are based on false claims may be considered violations of the policy on Academic Integrity (Policy 49-20).


Academic Integrity: Penn State defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. All students should act with personal integrity, respect other student’s dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts (Faculty Senate Policy 49-20) Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated in this course. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. ‘Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions and will be reported to the University’s Judicial Affairs office for possible further disciplinary sanction.


The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities and is committed to the polity that all people shall have equal access to programs, facilities, and admissions without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation in this course or have questions about physical access, please tell the instructor as soon as possible.


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