Each module is available for free directly from this site - if you have an internet connection and a browser, you can access the learning content. There will be a series of interactive activities using video, animations, sound and text, all of which you will be asked to respond to in the module. This might include selecting correct answers (objects), listening and responding, or even recording your thoughts with a microphone on your computer. You will receive immediate responses to your work directly in the module, and this feedback will also appear as video, animations, sound or text. The goal is to immerse you in the activities and the Chinese language, a task not always accomplished in the online learning environment.
Though they are self-paced, the eTower modules are not for passive learning! The activities are as successful as what you put into them - take part in them fully, and utilize all of the listening, writing and speaking exercises as much as you can. The activities are designed as an Integrated Performance Assessment, giving you the opportunity to practice and utilize language just as you do in the real world. As such, you will find yourself answering interpretive questions, engaging in interpersonal communication informed by system feedback, and presenting ideas and opinions. Because these assessments are integrated into the activities, you will find yourself moving seamlessly from mode to mode, interacting with language in a deep and engaging way.
The modules are all prefaced by prerequisites, letting you know exactly what you should know in order to successfully begin the activities. Make sure that you meet all of these requirements, and when you are ready, go ahead and open the module.
Within the module, you will have opportunities to receive support and feedback in many different ways. For instance, beyond simply answering a question and receiving feedback, you will be able to receive in-time help at the exact level you need - from a small hint to a detailed explanation of what to do next. This feedback is offered in Chinese and is layered in its simplicity to keep you immersed in the language as much as possible.
The activities and learning content for each module surrounds a particular theme, with each theme offering cultural highlights, history and wisdom to help round out the learning experience. From listening to spoken Chinese and answering questions, to actually recording your voice and receiving feedback, you will engage in content that will not only teach you Chinese, but the culture surrounding that module’s theme.
The interface is designed to allow you to progress through the modules at your own pace - you have sequential Previous and Next buttons on the bottom-right of each module to allow you to move through in order. You also have a Menu on the left to allow you to move through each section of the module in the order of your choosing. Take as much or as little time as you’d like, exploring all of the rich components of each module.