Course Description


Textbook: Horizons (6th edition), Heinle & Heinle/Cengage

On-line access to the iLrn platform, which includes all homework assignments in the eSAM online workbook, as well as the eBook of your text, enrichment activities, videos, diagnostics (pre-tests, personalized study plans, post-tests) and more!

(Note: your text should be packaged with a student "key" or pamphlet which will contain your access code to the on-line materials; use this, along with the course code distributed on the back of the website information in class, to register for the on-line materials.)


This course is intended as the first semester of an introduction to the French language and francophone culture, including the basic communication skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. If you have already studied French, you must obtain the instructor's approval in order to remain in the course.

The goal of first-year French is to develop your proficiency in French while providing you with a francophone context within which to use and practice what you are learning. Besides learning about France, we will also be exploring various areas of the world where French is spoken. Because total immersion in a language is the best way to learn that language, in class we will speak only French. Don't panic if you don't understand everything I say, or even half of what I say at first! I will do my best, through a combination of gestures and pictures and cognates, to communicate my main idea. It is normal to get frustrated or confused, and the best way to work through your frustration is simply to come to class ready to listen and to respond assiduously. Be open to new experiences! Take risks! Open your mouth as often as possible and speak, even if you aren't sure of the answer -- it's the best way to develop a kind of ease in class that fosters language learning. Play by the rules -- only French! Students who persist in trying to use English in class will incur serious penalties in the calculation of their daily class participation grade and may be asked to leave the class. And of course, the more practice you get, the easier the two oral exams will be!


Over the course of the semester, we will cover chapters 0 to 5 in the textbook Horizons (5th edition), spending about four class days on each chapter. There will be a test at the end of each chapter (except the introductory "0" chapter). The material from chapter 5 will be covered on the final exam, which is cumulative. Homework assignments will include studying vocabulary and grammar in your textbook before that material is covered in class, spending time doing both written and oral exercises on-line, and turning in daily handwritten writing assignments (marked "exercice compté" on the calendar) based on the material covered. The assignments given on the course calendar (marked "A faire" or "To do") will be done on-line and are either self-correcting or will consist of a brief writing assignment which you will turn in to me for my correction. Please hand write and double space these writing assignments; they will count for the "homework" portion of the grade calculation (15%!). The minutes you accrue doing the on-line exercises will count toward your grade (CR or NC) for the lab portion of the course. I will accept two writing assignments late; after that, you will receive only partial credit for late work.

Please note that LAB WORK IS MANDATORY, and you must register for it separately. You earn one unit of credit for lab work (CR/NC) if you complete at least 75% of the required 1000 minutes of on-line work, plus attend at least 8 lab sessions over the course of the semester, by the end of the semester. No more than 200 minutes per week of on-line exercises will count toward the student's grand total lab time. Exercises which take more than 20 minutes will be discounted. At the end of the semester, I will add 10 minutes for each handwritten homework assignment completed. If it takes you longer than 200 minutes per week to complete that week's assignments, please do take the time to complete them, but know that any attempts to make up large amounts of lab time at the end of the semester will not count.

NOTE: You may also earn full credit (100%) for the lab by completing every single exercise on-line and attending 8 lab sessions; if you do this in under the time required, I will still assign you CR for the lab course and 100% for that portion of your grade in the class.

Lab work, which includes listening, speaking, reading and writing practice, is an essential component of any language course, and will prove incredibly beneficial to your language study, provided you complete the work carefully and thoroughly. Your time on these exercises will be clocked by the iLrn software, which offers us these great self-correcting exercises. Please see me as soon as possible if you have any concerns about doing homework assignments on-line.

With lab work as well as with study time, the best way to learn a language is in small increments. We only meet two times per week, and we can only cover so much material in that time. The rest must be done at home, preferably a little bit each day, including days the class doesn't meet. For both the lab and study time, try to set aside 30 minutes to 60 minutes daily to work on French. The course calendar is essentially a suggested study schedule for each week; adapt it to fit your needs, but whatever you do, be regular and consistent in your study habits.

For a more complete description of how to use the on-line manual, go to the homework page.


Participation -- and, of course, attendance -- is essential to language learning, and you will be receiving a daily participation grade (from 0 to 10 points) based on your presence, alertness, and responsiveness in class. Presence and participation will count for 10% of your final grade, and you can get a general idea of your participation grade based on the quality of your participation:

In other words, the grade will go up or down depending on how active you are in class, or how closely you respect the only French rule. So, if you are present and very active in French only during every class, you should easily earn a A for participation!

Note that you are responsible for any material missed because of an absence, whatever the reason. If you must be absent, make arrangements with another student to get the notes from class. If you have problems catching up, make an appointment to see one of the university's French tutors or to see me.


Policy on tests: there will be NO make-up tests. If you miss a test, you will receive a 0 for that test. However, note that when calculating your final grade, I will omit the worst test score. This does not mean that you should purposefully miss one test: take all of them, and do your best on all of them!

There will also be two oral exams: one in the middle of the semester, and one at the end. I will not drop either oral exam score, nor will I drop the final exam, when calculating your grade. I hereby reserve the right to assign a final grade of F to any student who does not pass the cumulative final written and oral exams.

The FINAL EXAM is scheduled as follows:
Section 1 (M/W section): Monday, December 8th, 11am-1pm
Section 2 (T/Th section): Tuesday, December 9th from 2pm to 3:50pm.

NOTE: Students should be aware of a wide variety of important University policies, such as the add/drop policy; cheating and plagiarism policy; grade appeal procedures; and the diversity vision statement. Go to the URL to find them: .


At the end of the semester, you will work with two partners on an oral presentation for this class. The presentation will be worth 10% of your final grade. Your presentation will focus on an important figure in French culture (a writer, an artist, a singer or musician, a political figure, a historical figure, a sports figure, a chef, etc.). You will prepare a poster entirely in French on your topic, and you must have your written work corrected by me before you make the final poster; you should also illustrate your poster with images (be sure to cite your sources!). Topics will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so let me know as soon as you have formed your group and chosen a topic.

You may also use a powerpoint for your oral presentation in class, but apart from the title page, it should consist only of images that you will talk about to the class -- no words. (Again, all sources, including image sources, must be cited.) You will present basic information on your figure in your own words in French. You may use notecards, but you should make every effort not to read directly from your notecards. The entire presentation should be approximately 5-7 minutes in length, and should include two discussion questions for the class at the end. You may be creative and incorporate dramatic dialogue, a game or an activity into your presentation if you like.


Your grade in this course will be calculated as follows:

Notice that the great majority of your grade is based on test scores, but that you can easily drop a full grade or more by not keeping up with your participation and homework. (See "A Bit of Advice" on the homework page to get a sense of how important this is, mathematically speaking, to your grade!) The lab work portion of the grade is calculated as follows:

Please note that there will be no extra credit for time spent in the lab above 1000 minutes. However, don't let this stop you from working on-line as often as you feel necessary! I can't stress how much regular work on French is essential to success in this course -- keep from falling behind and you're halfway to success!


  1. Please turn off all cellphones when entering the classroom. Cellphone disruption will not be tolerated; texting during class will result in the confiscation of the phone for the remainder of the class.
  2. Students who talk repeatedly amongst themselves when course material is being explained will receive a warning. If the behavior should persist, the student may be asked to leave the class. Please note that there will be ample time for conversation in French during class activity periods.
  3. Please save your questions in ENGLISH for the break time!
  4. Finally, keep in mind that I am available for help, both in my office and at home, via e-mail, at your convenience. Please don't hesitate to come and see me or e-mail me if you are having problems in class or if you want study suggestions.

A WORD ABOUT ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: While it may be tempting to "write" your compositions using online translation tools such as Google Translate, if you do this, you will learn VERY LITTLE French! The idea in this class is for you to engage with the material in our textbook, in the order that it is presented, and that you do all of your own work, including making your own mistakes. If you have the textbook open beside you as you work, and if you use the day's vocabulary introduction as a template, doing the homework should be a piece of cake. Also, you will be getting excellent practice for the exams in this class, which include one or two short paragraphs you have to write. If you don't do your own work on the written homework and actually get significant practice writing French, you will bomb these sections on the test, guaranteed.

Besides which, if you do use Google Translate and start writing way beyond your ability to speak, I will know it! Should I have concerns about the high level of your written work, I will ask you to come into my office and write a new composition to a new and unusual prompt without the use of your computer, just your textbook. If it's all you, all the time, this should be easy. If you're using Google Translate, you will not be able to compete this task and you will earn a zero for work that was overly corrected by translation tools.


If you have a disability that requires accommodation in this class, you must notify the instructor before the end of the second week of class regarding the nature of the accommodation(s) you require. You must register with the campus office of Disabled Student Services, located in Salazar Hall, room 1047, phone 664-2677. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of your verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to the instructor before an accommodations can be made.


The French Program of Sonoma State University seeks to develop in its students the basic linguistic skills, analytical skills, and cultural and literary knowledge which will enable them to appreciate the uniqueness of other cultures and to function in francophone communities around the world. In all of its offerings, the French Program seeks to support the ideals of a general liberal arts education.

In order to facilitate students' integration of this course into their understanding of the greater goals of the French Program and the General Education Program at Sonoma State University, it should be noted that:

French 101, First-Semester French, meets the following French Program learning objectives:

This course also meets the following GE Program learning objectives:

This course also exposes students to knowledge about values and ethical issues, including:

To view the Mission, Goals and Objectives of SSU's General Education Program, please visit: