It’s 2 a.m.
You’ve just gotten home after dabbing your night away at the bar. As you scour your fridge for your roommate’s leftovers, you feel that random surge of motivation to conquer the world.
So what do you do?
Slump into your couch (leftovers in hand), open up your laptop and press play… on your French course’s most recent lecture.
No more waking up early to trudge your way to class.
No more fake smiling at your classmates.
No more awkward presentations in front of the class.
World peace has been achieved. Your acne is gone. Your rent just decreased.
Okay, we’re getting ahead of ourselves—but there are some seriously huge benefits to earning college language credits online.
And the best online French courses for college credits are just a click away!
What Makes an Online French Course Worth It?
- Location, location, location. You can study whenever, wherever, while earning your degree. Live attendance isn’t necessary because courses are usually recorded and saved on the school’s virtual campus.
- You can learn at your own pace by pausing and replaying.
- Learning through a screen is less intimidating than being in class because you don’t need to worry about answering in front of your peers. Even if your course has a live interactive component, it’s less daunting when you’re not physically together.
- You can still practice your speaking skills because many courses involve either a recorded or live interactive element, which is sometimes optional.
What to Know Before Enrolling
- You’ll probably be required to take the host university’s online placement test to determine your level.
- In many states and provinces, the numerical grades you receive at a host school don’t appear on your home school’s official transcript. You may instead see a “pass” or “fail,” but no indication of your letter grade. If there’s a grade, many schools don’t count it towards your overall GPA.
Therefore, if you plan on applying to grad school, you’ll probably have to submit your alma mater’s transcript and a copy of your host school’s transcript for the online course, which will contain the actual grade.
- Remember to confirm that your home school will accept credits from another institution. Many schools will require you to fill in a form with your host school’s course codes in order for them to verify the courses and give you the green light.
We’ve covered a range of North American courses below. If you’re considering a Canadian course while enrolled at an American university or vice versa, ask your home school what type of paperwork is required to transfer credits.
- Online courses aren’t the same as MOOCs (massive open online courses), which provide open and typically free access to academic materials and lectures, but usually not a transferrable credit.
- Use FluentU to help your French studies go faster and easier.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
College Minus Classroom: 6 Fantastic Online French Courses for College Credit
University of Maryland University College
Yes, I know this school’s name is like that “Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs” meme, but it offers some great beginner courses ideal for learners with little or no previous French experience.
For learners who hate theory, you’re in luck: these online courses emphasize concrete and practical uses of French. The courses are recorded and available whenever you want, but some live interactive involvement is required.
If you’re a complete novice and worried about your French sounding like Arabic when you speak, these courses include pronunciation training. Just be sure you have a microphone and some speakers (a headset would probably work, too). There’s also some cultural teaching about France.
Once you’re done, you’ll be blessed with three credits for each completed course.
Indiana University Bloomington
Beginners who are experiencing growing pains and in that weird limbo between “not quite a novice but not quite intermediate” will love Indiana University’s online program. With these elementary and advanced-elementary courses, you’ll have no trouble eventually transitioning to intermediate French.
These online courses cover basic concepts, but as with other schools, also teach you about French culture so you’ll be well-prepared when you’re making your way downtown, walking fast, in Paris.
Each course is worth three to four credits and there are typically between 20 and 30 students per class.
Durham College’s online French courses are available for beginner to advanced students, with different topics covered in each. Style and substance.
Topics include vocabulary training, sentence structure and verb tenses, as well as practical uses of French in everyday and specific situations. In a surprising twist, course materials relate to French-Canadian culture and traditions, but also cover international topics.
As with several other online courses, there’s no textbook required, so you’ll be able to ask for extra guacamole at Chipotle. There’s also an interactive component, where you’ll need a headset or microphone and speakers to submit recordings via YouTube, Windows Media Player or other systems.
Oregon State University
If you’re looking to become a Benny Beaver, Oregon State is for you. There are nine online French courses ranging from beginner to advanced.
Unlike many schools, you’ll learn about francophone cultures and French-speaking cultures beyond France. OSU also provides a message board you can use to interact with your peers, so if you have nothing to do on a Saturday night, why not head over there?
Undecided? You can request a syllabus or access a sample syllabus to have a better understanding of what it entails. The first- and second-year courses are four credits, while third-year courses are three credits.
Note that OSU runs on a quarter system, where the academic year is split into four parts, not three, so the registration dates may be different than your home university’s.
Humber College offers a unique professional French program consisting of six courses—three “everyday” language courses and three business-focused ones.
Themes include home, dining, travel arrangements, banking and business transactions, among others.
Are you ready for this? You can even earn a French certificate while taking your courses: the Everyday French Language Certificate or the Professional French Language Certificate.
Just keep in mind you’ll have to take a placement test to determine your appropriate level and avoid starting with the basic courses if you don’t need them.
These courses involve a lot of interaction, where you “enter” a class and talk to your peers and teachers, so make sure you practice your best fake smile.
World Mentoring Academy
If you want to live vicariously and fulfill your lifelong dream of entering the foreign service while jet-setting all over the world (okay, but not really), this self-paced, basic course is used by diplomats to learn French.
You’ll learn about formal and informal French, so you’ll know what to say whether you’re at a meeting or going wild in a Parisian club. Also, you’ll practice your new skills in Google Hangouts and Twitter chats.
Three to six credits are available upon completion of the French Language CLEP exam, while 12 to 16 credits are available through the NYU School of Professional Studies.
The next time you crack open your laptop, instead of immediately going onto Netflix, you might just be logging into your French online college course. Imagine how empowered and accomplished you’ll feel knowing you’re getting your education… from the comfort of your bed.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.