FYI - Holiday lesson schedule
From the Cpod newsletter:
With the holidays approaching, we are slowing things down a bit on the academic side to give your brains a rest from all that studying. From December 17th to January 6th, we will only be releasing 3 academic lessons per week (on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). QingWen will be released on Saturday as usual, and to re-vamp the cultural side of ChinesePod, we are coming out with some great cultural shows for you! The Beijing Standard Time show is back and will be released on December 23rd, followed by a brand new show, “KTV Time”, which will be released December 30th.
Seasons Greetings Poddies!
- The ChinesePod Team
floalvarezDecember 15, 2012, 01:03 PM
Thanks for posting this RJ. Glad to know that they are slowing down their pace because I will be off from work on the last week of December and I promised my daughter an exciting Christmas break!
Right-WingnutDecember 15, 2012, 10:00 PM
CPod, doesn't this mean we should get an extension of our monthly subscription to cover the reduced value of the subscription over this period?
It seems we will be getting 6 fewer language lessons over a three week period. That means we should be getting an extension of just over a week.
Why is this really happening? Its never happened before - why this year? When people are pre-paying for a service, you can't suddenly make a decision that reduces the value of that service.
markDecember 19, 2012, 01:57 AM
My brain doesn't need a rest. What it needs is more Chinese input. Please, don't excuse the reduced program content on the needs of my brain. Also, last holidays, was the first reduction in advanced and media content. Later, that pattern became the norm. I'm having an ugly premonition that the sagebrush will soon rule at Cpod.
I agree, it sounds ironic for CPod to say "for your convenience we are reducing our level of service" (to paraphrase). In fact, the holiday is the time when I actually have more free time to devote to Chinese study. But I have a backlog of a few years of material at my current pace (I know you are current or nearly so) so I won't begrudge the CPod staff some time off; just wish they would call it that. I don't think the subscription agreement guarantees a minimum level of content, as a magazine subscription would make you expect an weekly issue, for example. At least this time they told us in advance, which is one thing we have asked for. I have had a lot more time to listen to podcasts recently, so have been going through a lot of Popup Chinese content recently, but they seem to have much more infrequent programming than CPod.
I have to agree. If this is truly due to pending vacations they had all year to pack a few extra lessons into the pipeline. Vacations are not new. I too tend to double down on Chinese studies during the Xmas break, as I suspect many do. I am disappointed, but my greater concern is that they plan to make this permanent, hence this "experiment". There is no contractual obligation to provide any certain number of lessons, but there is a firmly established past practice and customer expectation that would be dangerous to fall short of. And to rub salt in the wound they tell us its for our "benefit". That's like my bank stealing money from my account so I don't have to spend so much time Xmas shopping.
GrambersDecember 19, 2012, 01:48 PM
My two pence is that, on a personal level, I am rather pleased that there will be fewer lessons over the hols. I try hard to keep up with new material as it is released, and - after a fairly busy year - I have resolved to having two weeks away from my regular work activities, and - more importantly - away from the computer. This obviously has implications for my CPod usage! Consequently, I'm glad that the backlog won't be too big when I return in January.
All that said, I fully understand all the concerns and arguments raised above. From a business point of view, it's a mistake to scale back on content, and 'unfortunate' to express it in the way that has been done - CPod doing us users a favour (even though I personally take it as such!). There have been a few issues recently, leading me to think there may have been major changes on the business/personnel front. For a free, or super-cheap, service, these issues would probably be overlooked. But given Cpod subscriptions are anything but cheap, there needs to be a much tighter, more professional attitude shown, methinks.
That was three pennies worth, wasn't it?
Merry Xmas y'all (inc. Cpod staff!).
henningDecember 19, 2012, 05:02 PM
I am always getting nervous when I see such cost-cutting measures - not a very convincing sign. I also hope that this is not a trial balloon left floating to check if users accept a shrinked service.
The continuous lesson churnout is what sets CPod apart.
I hope you don't mind me mentioning a little error in your English. I do this, not for the sake of making corrections, but because it is one of those things that sounds a bit strange but leaves me unable to explain why. And I'm hoping that someone with more of a background in grammar can explain why.
Firstly, I have always been amazed at how well Germans speak the English language, and I mean almost flawlessly. This applies to your posts too - generally you would never know that you weren't a native English speaker. But today I've seen the first wrinkle.
And it is the one thing that always trips up foreign speakers - the damn present continuous. English speakers can just sense when it should be used and when it sounds wrong, but don't ask us to explain why - it just is.
The problem is with your opening sentence. It is OK to say "I am always getting nervous." and just leave it at that. But the moment you start to qualify it with "when", it sounds wrong. It has to be "I always get nervous when ...".
The same applies to "sick": "I am always getting sick." is fine, but "I am always getting sick when ..." is not.
Having said that, it is 100% understandable (and I'm sure many English speakers would not see it as wrong, and some may even say that), and I can't see any logical reason why it should sound wrong. I'm wondering if anyone can explain the reasoning behind this wrinkle in our language.
(As an aside, I wonder how many similar examples there are in Chinese grammar - usages which Chinese speakers just know are incorrect, but for which most Chinese teachers could not explain the logic.)
This "I am always getting nervous when..." thing is something I hear a lot from my German friends in particular (not so often from French and Spanish friends for example) but I never bother to correct it because it is indeed a very minor mistake - so minor that I can't even be sure it is wrong, I just know I wouldn't say it that way. I wonder if it is related to the way it would be said in German?
I love these little ways that foreign people slightly alter English. I often use these mistakes to help me when I'm learning that person's language. For example you can very often hear Chinese people mix up "he" and "she" because they are both "ta" in Chinese (although different characters). If I'm stuck for how to formulate a sentence in Chinese, I think back to how my Chinese colleagues have said similar things to me in English.
Thanks for the corrections, guys! I learned something today. Actually, I think I learn more English here at CPod than Chinese....
@hezcurrah: Actually, we do not have an equivalent to the present continuous in German (if you neglect some dialects like Kölsch which I do not master). So there is no explanation for that mistake. It is just an arbitrary mistake.
It is only a minor error, and only sounds ever so slightly strange. I too hear it a lot from German speakers, but it rarely strays far from the mark. The same cannot be said for Indian speakers who seem to want to put every verb in the present continuous. (Or perhaps I am just thinking of some non-PC parodies of Indian people I see on TV.) And when I think about it, it seems to me that Chinese speakers of English avoid it altogether, except in the most obvious cases. I think I'll listen out for that to see if I'm just making it up.
BTW RJ, I saw a reply of yours here just before I went out, but it seems you have deleted it. I hope you didn't think I might be offended by it. I was planning to reply as soon as I got home.
iaingDecember 19, 2012, 09:22 PM
One related point is that (I think) cpod, generally, has enough lessons.
Certainly, to progress to the point of "just-past-intermediate" level, there is now a surplus of lessons. Many people have gone past intermediate just by using cpod alone.
A larger issue, perhaps, is how can cpod provide a better service to progress to, and beyond, an advanced level.
I've made the point, many times, that the UI/advanced lessons need to be both; more and better. It is the biggest remaining gap.
I will spend most of the holidays working through past popup chinese, clavis sinica, and slow chinese materials. As well as spending more time on verbaling. These things are bridging the gap, pretty well, I believe.
As cpod have already stated that you need to look for other supplementary materials once you get to UI/advanced, I think it is a fair observation that cpod, (in its current form) is just about done.
I think for cpod targeting beginners is more profitable for them as I'm sure the overwhelming number who use cpod are casual learners who probably won't get past elementary.
I think that's why they have been creating so many elementary lessons and fewer intermediate and higher lessons.
ejrungeDecember 19, 2012, 11:30 PM
I can spend my extra time this holiday looking for a new study medium. I completed all QW and have kept up with all the new ele and intermediate over the last several years, but I believe I am reaching a point of diminishing returns with the current value proposition. Some of the older lessons are too painful to endure.
I have a Mandarin class every week for two hours with a real teacher, and even if she would not enjoy even more time with me, I am sure she would appreciate the money. I am studying Intermediate Business Level II to get familiar with more technical business terms, but oral conversation still needs improvement.
I would still recommend CPOD to all beginners.
Justin.ODecember 20, 2012, 05:59 AM
Lesson production will be slowed down over the holidays due to some of our staff members taking vacation leave over Christmas.
Production will resume to its normal pace following January 6th, 2013.
In response to the concerns about more advanced lessons, we publish our lessons based on user demand. Because we have more lower-level users than upper-level users, more lower-level lessons get produced.
We are not trying to alienate our advanced users, but rather, trying to balance the variety of our published lessons so that all poddies can enjoy ChinesePod.
Cheers and Merry Christmas!
I realize that you probably have many more beginners than advanced users...but most mid-level students will have the newbie, elementary, intermediate, etc to study already. You also have a huge library of these lessons for new students to pull from in these areas until they can reach the upper intermediate/Advanced level. Giving them 3-4 lessons a week is not too bad.
The advanced users only have the advanced lessons...and many of us have been with your service for years. (so we are loyal and also have already reviewed many of your earlier lessons, so the library is less beneficial to us)
If Chinesepod can not guarantee that we can get regular (weekly) advanced lessons, I think you will start to lose loyal customers. One of the best aspects of Chinesepod is that you have lessons for all Chinese levels. If you start taking away Media and Advanced lessons...then you lose this.
Just my two cents, i have my subscription coming up in a couple of months and I have loved studying with Chinesepod for ~4-5 years now, but I will have to re-examine the investment if my levels are only covering monthly. It is depressing coming on everyday and being disappointed that the last Advanced lesson was produced over a month ago...
verazxlDecember 20, 2012, 06:09 AM
Sorry for causing misunderstanding by 'give your brains a rest'.The fact is 'our brains need a rest.'
xiè xiè nǐ men de guān xīn ，wǒ men huì hěn kuài huī fù zuò kè chéng 。dà jiā bú yào dān xīn ，Academic Team huì gèng jiā nǔ lì gōng zuò ，bǎ kè chéng zuò dé gèng hǎo 。yě xī wàng dà jiā duō gěi wǒ men yì jiàn ，ràng wǒ men hǎo hǎo gōng zuò ，tiān tiān xiàng shàng 。