daily streaming lessons and basic membership

June 16, 2010, 06:38 AM posted in General Discussion
I have been away from the site for awhile. It used to be that even with a free membership you could listen to that day's lesson as a streaming lesson. I notice they are greyed out now , does that mean that that feature is now disabled so that now even the streaming lesson is for paying members only? (Which leads me to my next question) I would like to subsribe after I get an Ipod, hopefully in the Fall. My question is this. Has anyone had both a basic and then later a Premium membership? What is the major difference between them? To me it looks like with the Basic membership you can download and review the daily podcast and even view/print out a PDF transcript of the dialogue. The premium membership seems to have additional online review materials. Has anyone upgraded from a basic membership to a premium membership because they have found those additional review materials extremely helpful? Are there any other important differences between the two membership tiers?
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June 16, 2010, 07:37 AM

Welcome back to ChinesePod, meir!

The free feed you mentioned quite recently changed, and now consists of a selection of sample lessons from across all levels. You can set it up here.

All 300+ Newbie-level lessons remain free for everyone, and you can add those to your iTunes feed by first bookmarking the desired lessons on the website (either an individual lesson or a lesson set) and then connecting your personal feed to iTunes. Advice on how to do this is in the Help section, but we can help you set it up, too.

If you're looking for the latest lesson feeds on levels other than Newbie, you'll need a paid subscription.

I hope that helps. In terms of the difference between Basic and Premium, I would say that the audio review, expansion sentences and vocab tools really do add a great deal to the mix, making Premium a great self-study option. However, I best leave you to gather insights from users who have no reason to be biased!

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June 16, 2010, 07:49 AM

In my opinion, I could live without the vocab tools as there are plenty of free alternatives. Also if you are working in traditional, the matching game is useless anyway due to a bug.

On the other hand, I the audio review and expansion sentences are essential to the way I learn.

I'm a premium subscriber and I don't think I would ever want to drop down to basic. 

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June 16, 2010, 08:46 AM

I went from basic to premium. In my opinion basic was fine - it gave me access to all the lessons, and the transcript in PDF, plus if I had any questions, I just posted them to the board, and in general they were answered by a teacher, or someone from the community.

But I felt like a lot of the language just wasn't sinking in, despite repeat listening. So I upgraded to premium to give me that little extra push. The expansion sentences and exercises are quite useful for that I think, and in the ipod app it unlocks quite a lot of content (although it could always do with some improvements!) In all, I'm happy as a premium subscriber. 

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June 16, 2010, 12:16 PM

I would second what hamshank said re: the matching game.  It lost a lot of value during the latest upgrade.  Still I think there's quite a bit of added value with the premium.  I usually pick up a fair amount of vocabulary in the expansion set.  With the one-click feature, its also easy to add this vocabulary to your flashcards/matching game.

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Oh right, I forgot about the flashcards. It's a useful function. Wish they would add SRS functionality to the flashcards though :)

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July 08, 2010, 05:47 PM

Thank you so much everyone for your replies. That was the kind of feedback I was looking for.

I may take up Suxiaoya's suggestion to listen to the Newbie casts over the summer, so that I will at least be familiar with the interface by the time I get an ipod. Unfortunately, I am a newbie with Itunes as well. : (  

If I understand correctly , the difference between Premium membership and basic is that Premium has additional sentences using the podcast vocabulary, additional vocabulary and a matching game using simplified characters? Are there any grammar notes as well?

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The premium includes access to the Grammar Guide as well. An ever expanding corpus of grammar patterns/structures/particles, etc with explanations and examples. (I wish I would of had it when I first started studying Chinese!)

There's also the Skritter writing tool. It's a way to practice writing Characters using your mouse, which is great for retention, I think.

There may be more I'm not thinking of at the moment. But, either way, keep studying and 加油!

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Jason, I think you'll find that the Grammar Guide is not a Premium feature.