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Rocket Languages Blog More Members Area Changes for 2020!

More Members Area Changes for 2020!

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi All,

I hope that 2020 is going to be a big year for you, particularly with respect to your language learning!

Recent changes:

As we are already finished with January, I thought I would update you all on some recent changes to the Members’ Area and what's in store for 2020.
  • All Interactive Audio lessons now have a 10-second skip forward/backward function to make it easier to navigate the audio tracks.
 
  • Eagle-eyed Rocket Spanish, French and Italian users may have noticed that we have added subtitles to the Interactive Audio lessons for all levels (and for the more advanced Travelogue series). The idea is that having the full transcript available will help with understanding what's going on - particularly for beginners! It has proven to be quite a time-consuming process to add the subtitles in, but we will be rolling subtitles out to all other languages over the course of 2020. Rocket Chinese and Rocket German are currently being worked through (more on what's in store for Rocket German below).
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  • We have also added notations to phrases in Rocket Spanish and Rocket French to make it easier to understand things like gender and formality, as well as literal translations where they are useful. Again, this will be rolled out to those other languages where notations will be useful in the future.
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  • On the Write It! reinforcement activity, we have added in the special characters as individual keys to make Write It! easier to use. Currently these special characters are available on Rocket Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese. We will be looking at the remaining languages with regards to improving their keyboards as well.
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  • In the next couple of weeks we will be expanding the Quick Settings in the sidebar navigation to add in more functionality, like the ability to search for words/phrases within your course, and displaying any My Vocab words/phrases within the lesson.
 
  • Last but not least, we are also currently working on replacing the entire Rocket German Level 1 Interactive Audio Course. The main thrust behind this is that we would like more native German speaking throughout the course.

You can rest assured that Rocket Languages courses are constantly being worked on and improved so as to provide you with the most effective and extensive learning experience that we can!

Watch this space, and have a fantastic 2020! 

On behalf of the Rocket team,

Jason Oxenham
CEO

 

Signor Riccardo

Subtitles for interactive audio sessions would be good on the app too.

MichaelC150

I really appreciate your dedication to improving and helping us learn a new language. Thanks very much.

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Signor Ricardo - The subtitles are indeed on the apps as well! At this stage that's for Rocket Spanish, French and Italian members. Rocket Portuguese is just about done as well.

Hi Michael - Thanks! It's all part of our company mission to produce the most effective language learning course that we can!

Peter--252

Hi Jason,

Like Michael I really appreciate the work you guys do.
Just one comment - I did try the "P" key when using the Write it activity, but it just write "P" in the window, rather than replaying the tutor audio.  This makes sense, otherwise you wouldn't be able to enter "p" into your answer! So do you need press ctrl-P or alt-P to make this work?

It works ok in the "Hear it, Say it" activity.

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Peter - With Write it! - The hot keys only work AFTER you have "revealed" the answer. Otherwise, as you mention, it wouldn't make sense to be able to use them while the answer field is "live". 

In saying that we might re-think the wording of the hot key instruction text to make it clearer.

JenniferB84

Love the updates to Rocket French for 2020.  All changes are very helpful and logical.  Wondering where the star went though to add vocab to my list? 

Peter--252

Hi Jason,

OK thanks, that makes sense.

Signor Riccardo

Ciao Jason, 

Perfetto!

BrianH51

Jason,

For the redo of the Rocket German Level 1 Audio. How will that work if you are midway through the Level? Will all of the lessons still be the same, just with different speakers, or is the actual dialogue going to be changing as well? Just curious as I enjoy going back to previous lessons to refresh while sitting in traffic everyday, so just wondering if the previous lessons will be different now. 

Also, any idea on timing of this switch?

Thanks, 
Brian

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi JenniferB - The "favorite" star was taken out due to a conflict with the notations. We are considering bringing it back in some form but have other changes on the immediate list.

Hi Brian - The Rocket German Level 1 Interactive Audio course is being entirely rewritten and re-recorded, as that course is now 10 years old! From what I have seen so far the new scripts look like a substantial improvement upon the existing course. We are still a couple of months away from releasing the new course.

When the time comes we will just replace the current lessons. Of course if you have already downloaded the "old" audio then you could keep using that if you wished. Does that answer your question?

BrianH51

Yes Jason, thanks.  Looking forward to the new version. 

Sno-J1

Thank you for the updates. I have found the subtitles very helpful as I print out my lessons and make notes for each one.  The onscreen keyboard commands are helpful in moving thru the lessons with ease without having to use the mouse and slow down.  Great updates!

jason-oxenham-ceo

Thanks for your comments Sno! 

Another update coming out on Monday is a change to the left-hand sidebar. Once we push out that change you will be able to search for words/phrases, see your My Vocab list for that lesson, as well as any notes about the lesson that you may have saved. Stay tuned!

Tomás71

These new changes sound great. I've noticed many of them, and very much appreciate them.

For special characters, you have often used Guillemets (or angle quotes) when writing quotations. However, they are not included on my Microsoft Spanish keyboard or in your online keyboard for use in the Write It exercises. Do you still use these Guillemets, or have you changed to using single quotes? (I noticed that in my more recent lessons, you have been using single quotes. But why not the usual double quotes? The are also acceptable for Spanish, aren't they? In fact, none of my references indicate the use of single quotes, except for quotes within quotes.)

Thank you.

Peter--252

Tomas,
If the Guillemots are the same as the French chevrons, you can enter them on most platforms using the alt key if you wish: press Alt and type 174 quickly = «, and alt+175 = ».  It might seem awkward at first but with a little practice it becomes quite smooth.  

Jason: I notice that the order of forum posts has reverted back to the original, i.e. newest last.  Was this the preference of the majority?  I preferred the style with newest post first, myself.

Alan-L1

The  'show latest reply'  button at the top works fine for me. I

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Peter - After garnering some feedback we decided to go with the more standard approach used in forums. The main issue was around the positioning of the "Add my comment" field.

Hi Tomas - We are going to standardize the quotation marks in Rocket Spanish soon!

Peter--252

Thanks Jason.
I hadn't noticed the 'Show latest reply' button, which solves the problem. 
(It looks like my observational skills are more like Dr Watson's than S. Holmes's :( )  

Sno-J1

Hello Jason,

Could you advise if the "Notes" section will go back to as it was before.  The side bar is not sufficient to keep notes or to even read them as the space is so small.  I took full advantage of Notes in the previous version and really depend on those for retention and review.

Regards,

Sno

nóng fū

Hmm, since the 2020 changes have been coming online the highlighting of vocabulary in Rocket Chinese has gone away.  This is a very useful tool in a rather difficult language.

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Sno and Nong Fu - We will have a look at both of these suggestions! 

teacup

Would it be possible to utilize space on the right for notes?

How about a box that follows you, so you don't have to scroll back and forth to take notes?

Thanks for your hard work!
 

MalcolmW6

Suggest dropping the use of "Tu" in Level 1 French, as it is rarely  appropriate for travellers to use this informal form and it is never wrong to use "Vous".

Peter--252

I suspect that would be a major undertaking, needing a thorough overhaul of the course!

Perhaps as a compromise, Rocket could add an extra lesson (unless there's one already), maybe in one of the 'Survival' sections, giving more details of when the  two modes of address should be used.
It could apply to other languages as well, e.g. German (du versus Sie).
I'll be interested in Jason's response!

In passing, I was playing chess online several years ago when my opponent asked if we could converse in French (the default is English). I agreed (although my knowledge at the time was sketchy - I hadn't gone through the Rocket course then!), and noticed he immediately used  "tu", not "vous". I assumed that this was some sort of 'community' thing (similar to students, who I believe tend to 'tutoyer'), and responded in kind.  It would perhaps have seemed rude or aloof not to.

So knowing the 'tu' form might come in handy!

ClaudiaR-sc5G

I love having the notes on the side, too, but I also think the box should be larger.  I use the notes extensively.  Thanks.

ChrisM108

Hi Jason

Great work is ongoing, clearly. My compliments. Is there any feel for the timescale for reintroduction of facilities not currently available to iPad users? Plus ‘my benchmark’, ‘my vocab’?  Without them, I still really value the product but it would be even better with access to all tools. Much appreciated. 

Chris 

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Malcolm - Rocket French is due for a thorough review over the next few months. At that stage we will look at the usage of "vous" and "tu" in the course.

Hi Peter - Language & Culture lessons 1.9 and 6.5 in Rocket French address the concept of "tu" and "vous", and Interactive Audio lesson 6.2 covers "tutoyer"!

Hi Claudia - I will look into making the My Notes text field larger.

Hi Chris - We are looking at adding those to the apps but it won't be for another 6-9 months at this stage. 

ChrisM108

Thanks, Jason. Useful to know. Chris

Peter--252

I was just wondering, since the team have put in all the effort to display the lesson transcript as subtitles, is it possible to make these available as (for instance) .pdf files?

While I think it's important to listen to the lessons, for pronunciation for instance, it could be useful to have a written copy to hand.  In a lot of places subtle points are discussed, and I have several times repeated a major part of a lesson to remind myself of such; the problem is that I might not be sure which lesson has the relevant information.

Here a transcript could well help.
(With hindsight I would have taken more comprehensive notes while going through the lessons!)

teacup

Are there any plans to include a "save" button or a pop-up so that users know for certain their notes are saved?

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Peter - We will be reviewing how the subtitle system is working over the next couple of months. I will add your thoughts to the agenda!

Hi 夫婦茶碗 ‐ When you type something in the field you should see a little "Saving" note at the top right of the box for a couple of seconds

teacup

Thank you! I must have missed it this time but I will look for it in the future.

teacup

When you type something in the field you should see a little "Saving" note at the top right of the box for a couple of seconds

The time the "saving" note appears should be lengthened. I saw it today after adding some notes to a module and it appeared for less than a second. It's incredibly easy to miss.

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi teacup - I will look into it!

TravisB13

I've recently joined this month, and thanks for the upgrade, nay, new normal.

ChrisM108

Thanks to Rocket for enhancing the web experience on iPad. I’m aware from Jason’s previous replies that enhancements to the iPad experience are not due until later this year. For the heck of it, I tried the web version again today for the first time in ages, and it was (a) usable, with only a tiny time lag, and (b) it had a playback of each of my voice recordings. I aim to make the web version my default as things stand, until the app gets upgraded. Thanks, team! Chris 

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi all - I am about to write a blog post about it, but seeing as there are a couple of recent posts in this thread I thought I would mention it here first.

We have just released an updated layout/design for the desktop members area. This is a culmination of months of work here at Rocket, so we hope you enjoy it and like it as much as we do!

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