RUSS 150: Elementary Russian I (online) Syllabus

Class Time

Monday-Friday, individual online asynchronous work (2 modules)

Every other week, online Zoom conferencing: Meeting Time TBD


Kate Crnkovich | | Zoom Office Hours: by appointment

Zakhar Ishov | | Zoom Office Hours: by appointment

Course Description

This is an introductory online course to Russian language and culture. It assumes no previous knowledge or study of the language.

Course Objectives

In this online course, you will work on developing the ability to communicate, which includes:

  • comprehending spoken Russian
  • hearing, reading, and understanding the story of four American students abroad
  • reading authentic Russian texts and websites
  • speaking and writing (typing and by hand) Russian on basic personal and everyday topics
  • understanding salient aspects of Russian culture and everyday life
  • understanding and applying the fundamentals of the Russian grammatical system.

Course Materials

The “textbook” is a free online resource available at:
Между нами (Between You and Me): An Online Learning Resource for Russian (deBenedette, Comer, Smyslova & Perkins, 2013).

The Homework book in the pdf format is also free, and it is available on the textbook website and on BlackBoard.

Structure of Weekly Work

MW | Asynchronous work.

  • Not graded | Daily informative and practice online tasks. You have unlimited attempts on practice tasks.
    • readings from the textbook
    • videos
    • practice exercises 
  • B. Graded. Due at the end of each module.
    • Grammar Quiz
    • Written Assignment
    • Oral Assignment

Every other week | Zoom Conversation, pick one of the days to attend


Grading Scale and Policies

  • 10% | Daily Grammar Quiz
  • 40% | Oral Work: VoiceThread Recordings
  • 40% | Written Work
  • 10% | Final Exam (Oral Recording + Written Take-home Test)

Late Submission

  • During the first week, there is no penalty for late submission of the graded assignments. However, do your best to keep up with the schedule to get in the rhythm.
  • After the second week, points will be deducted or not accepted for late submission of graded assignments UNLESS you contact the instructor and get an extension.


The oral assignments, the written assignments, and the cultural encounters will be graded on a ten-point scale. Below is the rubric. 

PtsWritten AssignmentsOral Assignments
10 ptsThe assignment is complete. No errors or almost errors. No abuse of online translators.The speech is fluent and well-practiced. The pronunciation is understandable and at least mostly correct. No or very few errors in grammar and vocabulary.
7-9 ptsNeeds some improvement. Some parts may be incomplete, or some errors require revision.The speech is mostly understandable and correct. Fluency or pronunciation may need improvement.
1-6 ptsNeeds significant improvement. Errors in important course grammar or vocabulary. May impede understanding.Significant errors that impede understanding. Not enough practice of fluency and pronunciation. Parts of the assignment are missing.
0 ptsNo submission, wrong submission or major abuse of online translators.No submission, wrong submission or major abuse of online translators.

Revision and Resubmission

If the graded assignments were complete and turned in on time, you have unlimited chances to revise and resubmit them for full credit. If you wish to improve your grade on an assignment, it is best to do it ASAP after you got the feedback, so you don’t fall behind on the following material. However, the chapter tests cannot be resubmitted.

Feel free to use the website plenty of time in preparing you written and oral posts!

Missed classes, Making up work, Tech issues

Please, do not hesitate to contact the instructor if for whatever reason you are unable to complete the work, meet the deadline, or attend the in-person meeting. I will make every effort to make necessary arrangements and adjustments.

WEEK Dec 12-16th, Review for the Final

Your Final Exam is to be uploaded no later than Dec 16th, 2022, 11:59 pm

Study Tip

The Mezhdu nami website contains a large number of audio recordings integrated into the webpage pages. These audio recordings give you a model for how words and phrases are pronounced in Russian. The first time you work with a new text, listen to the recording as you read it. Notice how the speakers pronounce the words. Work through the text, making sure that you understand the words and the situation. Put a "?" by any parts that don't make sense, so you can ask your instructor about them. When you have really got a handle on the text, close your eyes and listen to the episode again. As you listen, can you "see" the words that you are hearing?

Zoom Polices

You are expected to attend one zoom meeting every two weeks. You are expected to attend on time, with your camera on, and mute off. If your camera is off, you will lose points for the day. The only exception is if you contact me before so that I am aware of your needs.

Academic Integrity

Students are responsible for the academic integrity of their work. We will encourage you to use online dictionaries to check the English meanings of unknown Russian words, and to use other online resources to learn vocabulary and grammar.

There are LIMITS:

  1. We do not recommend the use of online translation programs to help you translate entire phrases, sentences, or compositions from English to Russian. They are not very effective for learning purposes.
  2. Please be also advised that when you turn in Google translation as your own work, you are committing academic misconduct. Moreover, Google Translate’s results are often wrong, so do not rely on the results from online translators.

Staying in Touch

You are expected to check your KU email account regularly and should check the Blackboard site every day. If you find that you are having difficulties with the class, please inform your instructor or course coordinator in office hours or by appointment. Instructors are available to work with you out of class so that you can be successful in the course. We can be much more helpful in dealing with emergencies and special circumstances if you contact us as soon as a situation arises. You may reach the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures at 864-9250 or by email at

Students with Disabilities

The staff of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), 135 Strong, (785) 864-2620 (v/tty), coordinates accommodations and services for KU courses. If you have a disability for which you may request accommodation in KU classes, please contact them as soon as possible. If you have questions regarding this course particularly, please contact your instructor or the course coordinator privately.

Anti-Discrimination Policy

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka Campuses).


The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law protecting the privacy of student education records. FERPA gives parents certain rights to their student's educational records, and these rights transfer to the student when the student reaches the age of 18 or pursues education beyond the high school level. The University of Kansas must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release information from a student's educational record.

The syllabus is subject to change

Download a PDF version of the RUSS 150 Syllabus.