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Welcome to Vol. 73 of the Spanish Online Newsletter! Part of the Spanish Learning Blog - your weekly lessons with mp3 files, as well as links to Spanish travel spots and more.

First of all I apologize for the confirmation email many of you just received - as this was done automatically by my new system when I imported my subscriber database. Please ignore this email - sorry for the inconvenience! We are transitioning to a new system based on the Joomla content management system, and offering a ton of new features that we've never had before. Most importantly, the websites you build with this system have a lot of community features built in - making them ideal for educational environments. This week I'm just going to highlight a few of these features for you, and next week you'll have a regular grammar teaching newsletter.

Spanish Forum & Messaging

We've had nearly 50 people register to use the forum, and hundreds more have visited. You don't need to register in order to post, but there are a few nice features included for registered users. You can post a profile with a picture, keep track of the discussions you've been involved in, but best of all you can send private messages to other users on the system. The system is completely self contained, so you won't get any messages in your email box - just in your inbox at our website. This is a nice feature, for it allows you to communicate with other members of the board - seeking Spanish help, offering advice, etc, without having to worry about getting a bunch of spam in your mailbox.

Spanish Chat

I've been quite surprised by the results of the ongoing poll I've had at the new website - nearly all of the people who've participated voted that they would be interested in a live Spanish chat. So, I instituted one! I'll have to see what the genuine level of interest is - and see if it would be worth it to schedule an hour or two a week where there will be a moderated chat session, perhaps about a particular grammar topic. If anybody has any suggestions I've be happy to consider them. For registered users, the chat function is already available. With only 50 people registered there isn't too likely to be anybody in there, but it's a brand new feature and may grow popular. As only registered users can participate - this helps safeguard against unwanted type commentary, and anyone who abuses the system will be quickly removed.

User Uploads & Downloads

I've recently added the abilty for teachers and students to upload their own files to our system, with the hopes that some people will share their work with the community. Once again it requires registration, as we can't have people wandering in from the internet posting whatever they like! :) You can post anything that you think people may enjoy or find helpful, and all submissions will be reviewed before going live on our site. Please think about contributing!

User Home Pages and Blog Entries

This is yet another feature some may enjoy - I thought it may be useful for groups of Spanish students who would like to build an online community where they can access each others pages, news, pictures, etc. Once you register for the site you'll have the ability to create a homepage as well as a blog. Nothing too fancy, but could be fun for some. Also, it's a chance to share your experiences learning and teaching Spanish with a larger community.

Our New KnowledgeBase

I'm delighted with this new Knowledgebase, which I think I'll also use to do part of my blog from now on - as it has the ability for users to leave comments, ask questions, give a rating on how good an article was, print a PDF or email, etc. Very handy! I'm adding new things each day - much of it material from our various other websites, but also some new. Now when I get questions via email, I create an article in our system with it, which is fully searchable. I'll be including many articles about Spanish learning, so you may like to bookmark this site.

Well I could go on all day about how excited I am about these new developments, but I'll have to leave it here for today. I'm still planning to release the long awaited Spanish Verb Visualizer sometime before Christmas - sorry about the delay, but the program will fit nicely into our new system, where the e-learning will also be based.

To see the online version where you can comment on this newsletter, please click here.

Please leave us a comment, and let us know what you think!

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