A suggestion for CPod

December 17, 2009, 02:46 AM posted in General Discussion

Hey CPod,

I bet some of your newbies feel neglected by your lack of new lessons.  Actually, I can understand why you cut back, but still the perception must remain that you guys don't care (which I will emphasize I don't believe).  I think you can once a day under the lessons section suggest to us a lesson from the past that you think would be good for us to take a second (or first) look at (and not just the newbie lessons, but I guess that is what you should look at first).  That way some great lessons can get the second spark they deserve. 

Just an idea.  I put this here instead of sending a PM message because I'm wondering if other poddies would think this is a good idea.

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December 17, 2009, 03:39 AM

I think the newbies have it easy - free lessons and more lessons than any other level...

I agree about the 'second spark' bit. There are some really good old lessons hidden away there. I recently studied an old Intermediate lesson titled 'Street Food' which I thought was just fantastic. It would (does) have complemented the more recent Hot Pot Chit Chat lesson very well.

I too have noticed that some of the older lesson discussion threads seem 'dead'.


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December 17, 2009, 03:52 AM


Yeah, and many of them deserve to be 'alive'.  My reasoning is like this:

CPod refers to its different levels as channels.  Why not go with the TV analogy further and have reruns?  Everybody wants to pay much more attention to new episodes, but hey, sometimes it is Brady Bunch time.


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December 18, 2009, 02:08 AM


Thanks for the suggestion!

You said: "still the perception must remain that you guys don't care."

Ack! Nothing could be further from the truth!  What do you mean, it "must remain"?

We may still do some more Newbie lessons if they're needed, and we're looking at other ways of helping Newbies, through additional shows like the Pinyin Program.

The truth is, though, that in terms of material you need to acquire as a student, it's an inverted pyramid. Newbies must have the smallest vocabularies (the tip of the pyramid), and as you go up, it expands dramatically.  That's part of the reason why more advanced levels tend to have longer dialogues (trying to help cover more material, when appropriate, as well as providing a more complex context).

Newbies can subscribe to classic "archived" Newbie lessons from the archive by going to feed settings (click on the little gear at the top of the "Me" page). This is actually the default setting for new Newbie learners.

I agree, though, that we could be doing more to make Newbies feel at home.  We're looking at more ways to do this.


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December 18, 2009, 02:25 AM


Again, let me emphasize, I am sure you guys care.  Really.

I should have said: but still the perception must remain with some people that...

I meant surely there must be some people who do not understand that there is a valid reason why there aren't new newbie lessons popping up (it isn't possible to get the word totally out, and new newbies must always be coming in, right?), or perhaps they do understand, but it is less fun going through archives that have an inch of dust on them.    I just think it would be a good idea to highlight old episodes under the new lessons tab so that hopefully an old thread can be invigorated.   Just an idea.

By the way, I'm sorry if this kind of 'suggestion' post is a bit annoying.  It really was made with the idea to make something good even better, and not imply that you guys are messing up the newbies.

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December 18, 2009, 03:24 AM


As John said, you can personalize your account by having archived lessons (newbie or otherwise) appear in your feed. This is one way we've attempted to increase user interaction with older lessons. 

We're always trying to explore new ways of making the user experience better, and the newbie experience has been of particular importance to us lately. If you have specific ideas or suggestions for improving this aspect of the service (or of invigorating older threads) feel free to PM me. Here at ChinesePod we really appreciate the input our users provide to us. Your post isn't "annoying," as you say, but in fact hits on something that we've really been trying to improve for some time here.


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December 18, 2009, 03:50 AM

I wonder always, how random the lessons are assigned. Does everybody get a different lesson in his feed or is it "the random lesson of the week"

Wouldn't it be helpful to restart or at least hide the 200+ messages in the lesson thread to encourage newbies to post (maybe even the same old questions again)? One might even get new "cliques" as people having studied the lesson will not be aware of the new discussion anyway.

It would establish a "the class of 2009" kind of feel I suppose.

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December 18, 2009, 09:32 AM

I like matthiask's suggestion of hiding the comments in older lessons. As great as those discussions are, it is a bit intimidating. I think it could keep people from commenting because they feel their question or comment may have been already covered, but don't have the time to sift thru and find out. I know I have felt that way! Maybe delete them from the comments page but have a link to past conversation? I don't know how 麻烦 that would be to arrange however. I think having threaded comments as has been previously discussed would help in this respect, too.

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December 18, 2009, 09:51 AM

My suggestion for the Newbies:

Have the occasional new Newbie podcast which involves 5 or 10 minutes of discussion. Only discussion - no English explanation. And only using Newbie vocabulary.

This would allow Newbies to assess their ability at this level, to help them determine whether they are ready to move up to Elementary.