Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 4 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Course Description and Goals

Spanish IV aims at developing and improving student's oral and written communication through the continued study of the language, literature and culture of Spain, Latin America and Hispanic communities in the United States. It also seeks to improve students' ability to read and appreciate literary and non-literary texts in Spanish, deepening this way students' awareness and understanding of the cultural diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. The course is organized by themes based on contemporary social, political and cultural issues of Spanish-speaking societies such as: cultural identity, the changing roles of women and family, economic development and its effects on cultural heritage and environment, and the individual's rights in the political system.

Class activities will consist of discussions, reports, debates and simulations emphasizing problem-solving, and decision-making through the negotiation of meanings and opinions. Written expression will be perfected through frequent essays and short written assignments. Students are responsible for reviewing the assigned grammar structures and completing the exercises in the grammar review text. Practice of the grammatical structures and new vocabulary will be done in the context of the class activities and through the written assignments.

This course uses a large selection of materials from the Internet. The course's online syllabus contains the links to readings, radio programs and video materials that will be discussed during the semester and upon which class activities are based. It is important to consult the online syllabus daily since it is there that any announcements or last minute changes will appear.

Requirements and Evaluation

Class Attendance and Participation: 35%

Students are responsible for preparing all lessons at home (readings, videos, grammatical or vocabulary exercises) according to the provided schedule. Regular attendance and active participation is an extremely important requirement for completing this course successfully. Students will be evaluated daily on their preparation and participation in class.


Since the emphasis of this class in on daily oral practice and this is impossible to make-up with extra work, unexcused absences will result in a lowering of the final class grade. For every four (4) unexcused absences there will be a 5% reduction of the final grade. Additionally, more than eight (8) unexcused absences will result in an "F" in class participation. Exceptions require a letter from a medical doctor, a dean's excuse, or other extraordinary circumstances. In case of questions or anticipated problems, please do not hesitate to contact your instructor.


Repeated tardiness will also affect your final grade. Three late arrivals will count as one absence.

Attending Different Sections:

You must regularly attend the class section in which you are registered, unless you have made official arrangements with the instructors at the beginning of the semester. Only in an emergency and with previous notification to the instructor will you be permitted to attend a different section from your regular one. You must notify your instructor at least a day in advance to obtain his/her permission in the case of such an emergency or other extraordinary circumstances.

Homework and Written Work: 30%

There will be a series of short written assignments to practice the grammar and vocabulary. The syllabus indicates when these assignments have to be handed in to your professor.

You will also write four (2 page) compositions. You will write two drafts of each compositions; the first draft will be marked for errors using a correction key (clave de corrección) and returned to you for revision. The compositions will be graded on the basis of the 2 drafts. The first draft will be worth 70% of the grade and the revised draft will be worth 30%. If anyone submits only one draft, the total score will be the score of the first composition minus 30%. From the moment that your instructor hands back the first draft, you will have one week to submit the second draft of the composition. Both drafts must be handed in on time. Compositions handed in late will not receive full credit.

Plagiarism Clause:

According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, to plagiarize is "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own: use (a created production) without crediting the source ~vi: to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source."

This includes copying something out of a book, newspaper, journal or any other printed source, as well as electronic resources such as the World Wide Web without the appropriate acknowledgement. According to this definition, plagiarism would also include the following:

  • Using material created by another student at your school or anywhere else and passing it off as your own (with or without their consent).

  • Using a paper-writing "service" which offers to sell written papers for a fee.

  • Translations (with or without translation software) of texts from other languages and submitting them as your own work.

Plagiarism is an extremely serious academic offense. Students should be aware that they will be severely penalized if caught engaging in any form of plagiarism. If you have any questions or doubts about how to document the sources of your ideas, please consult your instructor. For further information you can consult the MIT Libraries: What is plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Group Video Project: 5%

You will write, act in, film, and edit a video based on the novel we read in class. You will work in groups (maximum 5 students per group) and create a video which will be presented during the final week of the semester. You will film using digital video with the DV cameras available in the LLARC. You can also use iMovie to edit your video, add transitions, sound effects, music, voiceover, etc. Some class time will be allowed for the early organizing stages. The edited video should be no more than 10 minutes. More detailed instructions will be given by your instructor.

Tests: 30%

There will be 4 tests during the semester covering vocabulary, grammatical structures as well as the materials discussed in class.


All grades (tests, compositions, class and final grades) are based upon a traditional ten-point scale. Students are not in competition with each other; each student will receive the grade he or she earns.