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Some Disappointments

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tereza
New in Town
Posts: 6
Joined: November 28th, 2009 4:43 am
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Contact:

Some Disappointments

Postby tereza » November 30th, 2009 3:19 pm

I'm "New in Town" and coming from ChinesePod, was surprised to find a few things which did not match my expectations.

For example:

(1) I was unable to order the introductory CD.

(2) I received no response from my email regarding (1).

(3) I was unable to sign up for a subscription.

(4) During the trial period, I have been unable to get either the iTunes or Juice podcast feeds to work as advertised.

(5) Links are broken.

(6) Lots of material is missing, e.g., anything for the intermediate level, user groups, grammar bank, verb conjugation, "about Russian" area, etc.

(7) I have been unable to "register" for any forums.

[8] Clicking on the BLOG link brought up an Italian blog.

(9) The Download Center information is outdated.

(10) There are very few videos and a limited amount of lessons (not even the 1,000 promised). If you go to ChinesePod101.com and compare the amount of information available, I believe you will find it incomparable to what is offered here in the Russian section.

On the positive side, the structure and audio for the lessons are quite good. :D

I am excited about the potential for an outstanding language learning resource and hope to see more soon!

Tereza

Syrdarya
New in Town
Posts: 4
Joined: May 28th, 2009 6:39 pm

Postby Syrdarya » December 1st, 2009 4:03 am

I agree with everything you've said here, tereza. Improvements have been made for some lessons, but RussianPod101 staff didn't even tell us the Survival Lessons had been updated until several users complained repeatedly that there were issues with the lessons! And then we were told to download all of those lessons again. Downloading the same lessons over and over does not really expand our knowledge.

Even now there are too many spelling and grammatical errors within lessons. Surely there are two or three proofreaders who can go through the materials before they are presented? We are repeatedly told that the staff are working hard on new lessons, but they trickle out.

Even including the nine News podcasts, I don't count even 200 lessons available! Unless the Ultimate Russian Package includes lessons we have yet to see (and really, why should subscribers pay twice for the same lessons?) I don't see how they can have 200 lessons on the DVD for users.

There is potential for something really great here, but RussianPod101 and some of her sister sites are really falling down on the job. I am not going to pay $20+ a month for 12 lessons or less. The DVD offer does not look good to me, as why should I pay for a DVD of lessons I've already downloaded? The lesson number is already grossly inflated on the site, so why should I think it's a real number when it comes to the DVD? Or are these completely different lessons from what is provided on the site?

If you're having staffing problems, be honest with us. Let us know if someone is leaving and not coming back. Don't make empty blanket promises about lots to come for months on end! If you're having problems producing lessons, let us know and maybe we can come forward and make suggestions. I do not believe that there are as many users for this site and the sister sites as we keep being assured. This is actually unimportant. Rather than wasting time trying to convince the users that there are hundreds or thousands of listeners, produce good quality material and a good quantity of it and soon we will see the hundreds or thousands of users present themselves through excited comments and a community.

There should be at least one dedicated person on staff who should go through the lessons and forums daily to make sure that comments do not go unnoticed. Even if that person cannot address an issue, he or she could notify someone else who could deal with it.

I have really enjoyed the Idioms and Proverbs lessons, but the threat on the page for one of the recent lessons (to not produce more if we don't comment a lot on the lessons) made me not want to comment at all.

I would like to see more personality show through on the site. The lesson titles (for example, the beginner lessons) are often too long and do not directly feature in the lessons at all. Less attention should be paid to matching what the sister sites provide and more attention should be paid to teaching us about Russian language and culture, and the places where Russian is spoken. Even in the News lessons we should learn a little something.

I've been very frustrated with the site. For instance: Why does it keep logging me out when I check the box to remember me? Many links take me to the wrong page or only refresh the current page. I miss the calendar on the side which told us which days had lessons. However, I love what this site *can* be and I know RussianPod101.com can do it! And somehow I think if there was a Russian-language competitor for this site like Chineseclass101.com has a big competitor, we would be seeing much more content.... :( I don't think this site should wait until that happens!
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