Fifteenth Round of the HiT-1 Croatian Internet Course

Fifteen attendees (six on scholarships provided by the State Office for Croats Abroad) from twelve countries are taking part in the autumn semester, running through to the 3rd of December.

The fifteenth round of the HiT-1 Croatian Internet Course, an on-line course teaching Croatian as a second and foreign language created as a product of the collaboration of the University of Zagreb, the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the University of Zagreb's SRCE University Computing Centre, with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, kicked off on the 11th of September.

Fifteen attendees registered for the autumn semester (six on scholarships provided by the State Office for Croats Abroad) from twelve countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, South Africa, Canada, China, Costa Rica/Romania, Germany, the USA, Scotland and Uruguay). They will all take part in the course from their homes, offices, on the train, in breaks between lectures and many other settings.

Fourteen semesters have been held since the spring semester of 2011, with classes attended by 149 participants from thirty-five countries from various continents, from Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Africa and Europe to North and South America.

Marija Bošnjak, one of the creators and the head e-instructor for the course, notes that this round has participants in countries spanning almost all time zones in relation to Croatia, such that the organisation and implementation of live instruction sessions will require not only maximum professionalism, but also the flexibility of all participants and instructors. For Bošnjak and her colleagues Maša Musulin, Zrinka Kolaković and Lidija Cvikić, also an author of the course, live instruction sessions via Skype will run almost every day from 7 in the morning to 11 in the evening. This, says Bošnjak, is very important as it provides for an individualised approach and adapting the content to the needs and possibilities of each of the participants. "For many this is also the only opportunity, twice a week, to converse with a native speaker of Croatian, i.e. the only opportunity to speak Croatian at all, which is critical in learning a language," Bošnjak explained. Live instruction sessions and the fascinating and diverse content of the e-system has contributed to a very low dropout rate from the HiT-1 Croatian Internet Course, as attested to by the participants in their final evaluations of the course. "As an IT person with years of experience I can say that your e-learning system is excellent, but the computer itself would be just a chunk of metal without your effort and dedication," writes one of the course attendees and an IT professional.

Given the success to date of the course and the satisfaction expressed by participants we should certainly look in the near future to the creation and implementation of e-courses for more advanced levels of Croatian language proficiency – besides the participants that have completed the HiT-1 course, the organisers daily receive inquiries from numerous interested candidates with a knowledge base above that of the beginner level.

Besides the fact that the course provides an opportunity to those who wish to learn Croatian but are unable to travel to Croatia for instruction, or who have limited opportunities to learn Croatian in their country of residence, it has now also become a necessity for some Croatian emigrants: as of recently acquiring Croatian citizenship requires more than just a confirmation of Croatian extraction – it also requires that applicants know the basics of the language, spoken and written, which is exactly what this course provides.

The HiT-1 Croatian internet course is the first university on-line course teaching Croatian as a second and foreign language in the Republic of Croatia, launched at the initiative of the Croatian Heritage Foundation. The course was in the development phase from 2009 to 2010 and had its first trial run in March of 2011. HiT-1 consists of seven instructional units that participants have a total of twelve weeks to master.

This round will run through to December 3rd 2017 when all participants that pass the final exam will received confirmation of participation and a record of their grades from the University of Zagreb.

The organisers have already announced the upcoming semesters:
Spring semester: March 5th to May 27th 2018 (the application deadline is 23 February 2018)
Autumn semester: September 10th to December 2nd 2018 (the application deadline is September 1st 2018)

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By: Lada Kanajet Šimić