Welcome to Spunti: Italiano elementare 1 – a new, unique program, authored by the Italian faculty of Muhlenberg College, that takes the place of a traditional language textbook. Spunti is a fully designed course that a college instructor of Italian can use and adapt. It consists of:
- this OER pressbook;
- printable material for in-class use (available soon on this site);
- practice exercises on our Canvas site (available only to Muhlenberg students)*;
- complete semester lesson plans (instructors can inquire about purchasing).
Together, this pressbook, the in-class material and the practice exercises can replace a traditional textbook and workbook. Our approach to language instruction is interactive, conversational and fundamentally task-based. We see grammar as a means for enabling effective communication, which is why our explanations of grammar are concise and not overly technical.
After years of teaching Italian, we had become frustrated by two aspects of available textbooks. First, their exorbitant cost, which presents students with a significant financial burden. Second, the limitations textbooks necessarily impose on our courses’ structure and approach to learning.
There is no lack of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in Italian; quite the contrary. One can find a jungle of disparate materials of varied quality, which are hard to locate and synthesize into a coherent course. This is why we created Spunti: a free, coherent, agile, functional, and culturally rich course for Muhlenberg students, and hopefully for students elsewhere, as well.
The Spunti pressbook is a work in progress, and we would greatly appreciate any feedback, suggestions, and adaptations that anyone can give us. Our hope for Spunti is that it can benefit from the input of Italian instructors and students from around the world.
This project would not be possible without the generous support of Muhlenberg College and our colleagues: Dr. Lora Taub-Pervizpour, Dean for Digital Learning; Dr. Kathy Harring, Provost of Muhlenberg College; and Dr. Eileen McEwan, chair of the Languages, Literatures & Cultures Department.
For the second half of the elementary sequence, see: Spunti. Italiano elementare 2: https://open.muhlenberg.pub/italiano-elementare-2.
Daniel Leisawitz & Daniela Viale
*Our practice exercises are available only to Muhlenberg students due to technical issues, but you can find many high-quality OER exercises available elsewhere online, for instance at italianoperstranieri.mondadorieducation.it and italianoperstranieri.loescher.it. We use them too!