Since March of 2011 the programme has seen two semesters each year, in the spring and autumn. Over the past decade it has been attended by 226 people from fifty countries around the world.
On 8 March the Croatian Heritage Foundation, the University of Zagreb and its SRCE University Computing Centre marked the tenth anniversary of their joint project, the HiT-1 Croatian language online course. It was ten years ago, in March of 2011, that a test run was made of the online course. The first round was a success and the programme continued with two semesters each year, in the spring and autumn. Over the past decade it has been attended by 226 people from fifty countries around the world.
This spring’s semester was attended from their homes by thirteen participants from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Croatia/Malta, Peru, and the United States of America, five of whom received financial assistance provided through the State Office for Croats Abroad.
The HiT-1 Croatian language online course consists of seven instructional units that participants are required to master over a twelve-week period. In this they are ably assisted by accomplished instructors specialised in teaching Croatian as a foreign language Marija Bošnjak, Maša Musulin and Zrinka Kolaković. Classes are interactive and the approach to language instruction is individualised, which means that the content is adapted to the needs and capacities of each participant. The course is conducted as an e-learning system and includes twenty-four hours of mandatory online instruction using the Skype online telecommunications application, with participants able to work directly with the e-instructors, all native speakers of Croatian.
It is the live online sessions and the fascinating and diverse content in the e-system used by the participants in their independent work that make this course special and unique. The e-instructors work with each course participants via the Skype online platform twice a week. Given that courses involve people from countries across almost all time zones in relation to local Croatian time, organising and carrying out the live classes demands a high level of professionalism and flexibility from the instructors. The participants underline this aspect, and the open and helpful attitude of the e-instructors, in their final evaluations, and the HiT-1 drop-out rate is marginal.
“I can’t believe that it’s been ten years already since the first test run of the course when my colleague Lidija Cvikić and I waited in great anticipation for our meetings with the first seven participants. Would everything work in the e-system? What were live classes going to be like via the Skype platform? What would the outcome be? Would the participants be satisfied? There were many questions hanging in the air on that sleepless night ahead of the official launch, but by the close of the first semester it was clear to us that we had achieved something very beneficial and effective, which has been confirmed through all of these years. Now, with twenty-plus semesters under our belts and over 5,400 hours of individualised sessions we are just as geared up ahead of our meeting with the latest batch of thirteen participants,” said the course’s chief e-instructor Marija Bošnjak. Ms Bošnjak is also one of the people that crafted this e-course and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on the HiT course.
The spring sessions of the HiT-1 course run through to 30 May, with the upcoming autumn session planned for the period from 13 September to 5 December 2021 (application submissions are valid if received by 3 September 2021). Find more details at: www.matis.hr.
By: Lada Kanajet Šimić