A SHORTHAND ONLINE COURSE IN BRAZIL
THAT IS A BIG SUCCESS
By: Prof. Waldir Cury
Retired parliamentary reporter and teacher of Shorthand
Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
In 2004, I prepared a new version of the book “Shorthand, a Swift Way of Writing – Maron System”. This book was intended as a self-study manual.
I visited several publishing houses, but no publisher was interested in publishing it, maybe because it would not be commercially advantageous to them.
Nevertheless, the edition of that volume would be extremely important to me as, in my view, it represented a major advance in the methodology of shorthand teaching.
To that new version many changes were made, new explanations were provided, new drills and many new brief forms were added. For a couple of years I collected every single item that had raised doubts among the students and each received clearer explanations and examples. Besides that, I added many pictures to the book, in order to make the learning more attractive and exciting since, in my opinion, nowadays a shorthand course must be thoroughly interesting and exciting and in no way boring or monotonous.
WHY A FREE-OF-CHARGE ONLINE SHORTHAND COURSE?
After the refusal of the publishing houses to publish my book, I spent some days depressed and hopeless. One day, however, I had a sudden inspiration. A voice inside me repeated over and over again: “Why don’t you publish your book on the Internet?” “And why not free of charge?” “If your intention is to make shorthand known, that is the way!” “Put a shorthand course at everyone’s disposal!” “TheInternet is the best way!” “ Voilà!”
I faithfully followed the instructions of my internal voice and published the whole course on my website of shorthand. A series of changes and improvements followed then, in order to make the course suitable for the new media: the Internet.
To a certain extent, the refusal of the publishing houses could not have been more opportune, because, if they had published the book, the distribution would have been limited to the bookstores and only a limited number of people could have had access to the course. On the Internet, on the contrary, the “distribution” is unlimited and unrestricted.
METHODOLOGY AND DIDACTICS USED
When students don’t understand an explanation, the teacher is inevitably expected to improve or change the methodology being used.
I had that awareness in mind when I prepared the on-line course. Each lesson, each explanation had to be crystal clear and pay scrupulous attention to every detail. The rules had to offer a thorough understanding at first glance!
For that purpose, I put myself, as a teacher, in the place of the student. So, I asked myself, during the elaboration of each rule, each exercise, each test to be put on-line: “If I were the student, would I be able to understand what I am trying to explain? Would I be able to do that exercise or that test easily?”
Furthermore: to assure the success of the shorthand distance learning (a self-study method), I made the answers to all exercises and tests available to the students, so that they could make the corrections needed and test themselves at every stage of their learning.
To make the process of learning even easier, I added many videos with the teacher explaining each lesson and writing each symbol, each word, each sentence in shorthand on the blackboard. So to say, with the videos, a teacher would “enter the home of the student” and teach him/her “a private lesson”! What computer-aided distance learning could be more practical?
CONTENTS OF THE COURSE
The whole course consists of two main parts:
1. LEARNING OF THE SHORTHAND SYSTEM (Maron System)
The Learning of the Shorthand System consists of several modules:
Ø 19 modules for the learning of the BASIC SIGNS.
Ø Each of the 19 modules is divided up into:
· lesson (signs, rules – theory)
· additional explanations with examples
· answers to the exercises
· answers to the exercises
Ø 41 modules for the learning of the SPECIAL SIGNS (initial and final abbreviations)
Ø a list of brief forms
Ø E-mail is used for communication between students and teacher.
For the Speedbuilding, many special on-line pages containing dictations are available.
Ø The speedbuilding is divided up into 4 levels:
1. Elementary (20wpm up to 55wpm)
2. Intermediate (60wpm up to 85wpm)
3. Advanced (90wpm up to 110wpm)
4. Advanced Plus (115wpm up to 140wpm)
For a better assimilation and strengthening of the learning of the symbols and the rules of the method, a series of complementary aids are at the disposal of the online students, such as:
ü A whole page with texts for copying in shorthand (with brief forms and special symbols put in relief)
ü A “Reading Room”, with literary texts in shorthand
ü Aesop’s Fables in shorthand
ü Songs with the words in shorthand (the student can hear the song and read the words in shorthand at the same time)
ü A periodical website page all in shorthand, called “Shorthand Newspaper”.
ü Many shorthand dictation videos in different speeds
COURSE ENROLLMENT – Daily AverageTo my amazement, the course has an on-line enrollment average of about 5 to 10 new students a day. And they come from all educational, social and economic backgrounds. Workers, students and even people with doctorate level join the course on a daily basis.
THE REACTION OF THE STUDENTS TO THE COURSEJudging by what the on-line students are expressing through their e-mails, the course has become a great success, and I am extremely proud of it. My mission was accomplished: I have done what I aimed to do: to make the learning of shorthand available to anyone who wants to learn it and has neither teacher nor a school nearby.
I do hope that many other shorthand teachers will do the same, so that, in a very short time, several other shorthand on-line courses will be easily accessible.
I invite you to take a look AT MY ON-LINE COURSE:
for group greggshorthand)