The Mixxer Launches Spanish and English Language MOOCs

The Mixxer Launches Spanish and English Language MOOCs

In January, Todd Bryant shared his plans to begin developing online courses using his language exchange website, The Mixxer. (See MOOCs + Learning Networks = The Mixxer.)  He is happy to announce the first offerings from this project:

Free Language Learning MOOCs from The Mixxer

Todd curated a variety of open resources to build these courses. The English learning content came from BBC’s Big City Small World,Voice of America’s Learning English and grammar material through Purdue University’s OWL reference site.

For the Spanish lessons, he drew from Practica Español, a joint venture of Instituto Cervantes, EFE and Fundación de la Lengue Española. Other lessons came from Professor Barbara Kuczun Nelson’s “Spanish Language and Culture” site at Colby College. COERLL’s “Spanish Proficiency Exercises” and Bowdoin College’s “Spanish Grammar” site provide additional references and exercises.

Todd will be presenting these MOOCs at the 2013 New Media Consortium‘s summer conference on June 7. Congratulations to Todd for having his project selected as one of six “Big Ideas” for the Emerging Leaders Competition. We thank him for creating this open educational resource for the language learning public and wish him the best of luck!


  1. The opening lines in today’s One Thought inecudls the phrase “pedagogical experiment.” This raises an interesting angle for me: if MOOCs were a graduate student thesis project instead of a post-secondary phenom, they would most likely have to go through a research ethics review. Maybe this is my inherently over-cautious nature speaking, but the Colombia U study suggests that there may be some negatives associated with MOOCs. So, I agree with the call for more data and a much clearer understanding of the implications of MOOCs on students; in fact, it feels that we might be getting too far ahead of ourselves. A year ago, MOOCs were nowhere, and now early-adopter institutions are integrating them into course offerings. Seems like we’re going from drawing board to classroom very quickly. Weren’t open area classrooms a revolutionary innovation a few decades ago that turned out to be less beneficial than the theory suggested? I wonder if slowing down wouldn’t be so bad…

    • That’s all true, although I never saw MOOCs as potentially replacing traditional courses. I see them as an extension of the open content model such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare. The content is there, though more structured, and you create a forum where users can help each other. I think this model works particularly well for foreign languages where native speakers play the role of tutors. For those trying to learn a language on their own, this is huge advantage to be able to receive feedback from a native speaker. For traditional students, it’s also extremely beneficial to have the addition of one-on-one conversations to their coursework.

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