FREN 101 syllabus (1)

Last updated: 2019-05-05

2018, SUMMER SESSION, TERM 1 (May-June 2019)

Course information may be subject to change over the course of the term; the most up-to-date official version will be the one here on this site. Details of the weekly schedule may vary somewhat from section to section and from instructor to instructor, but following the same general structure and order. The example that follows below is the O’Brien version; variable elements are in green.

The full course description and syllabus here below is for all sections of FREN 101 in general: some details will vary between winter and summer sessions, in winter sessions between daytime and evening sections, and from section to section and instructor to instructor.


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FREN 101 is a beginners’ French course, based on the A1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), introducing the French language and Francophone cultures, and opening up their understanding in a worldwide context. With an approach that is communicative and collaborative, and inductive and interactive, the course develops comprehension and the mobilisation of knowledge as savoir-faire.  

French grammatical structures studied include: common verbs in the present tense, subject pronouns and adjectives for descriptions, prepositions for talking about places, simple negation, and asking questions. These will be applied in practice through:

  • listening: understanding everyday communication about yourself, your family, and your immediate and concrete environment
  • reading: understanding familiar vocabulary in simple communicative structures; such as advertisements, posters, menus
  • speaking: asking questions for information or about familiar or everyday topics, and engaging with others in simple conversation
  • using simple sentences and expressions to describe places and people
  • writing: short observations and portraits of people and places; completing forms and questionnaires; discussing cultural differences; and expressing opinions, ideas, and dreams

FREN 101 involves three hours per week of classroom work, with an emphasis on working collaboratively in pairs and small groups. At the end of the course, students will be able to understand simple communication and to communicate simply about familiar and frequently-encountered topics such as personal information, work, everyday life, identity, tastes, activities, travel, geography, and ecology.

Classes are mostly conducted in French, with some English as needed for explanation. As this course is for students who have never learned any French before, it assumes no prior knowledge of French. If you are unsure whether this is the appropriate level of French course for you—for example if you have already learned some French—please read Guidelines for Placement in French Language Courses.

FREN 101 is the first in a pair of courses. Successful completion of the course that follows it, FREN 102, corresponds to competence at the A1 level of the CEFR.


FREN 101 is a courses for true beginners. It is intended and designed for people who have no prior knowledge of French. Generally speaking, students may not earn academic credit for any course below the level for which they have qualified by previous study: FREN 101 is not for students with the prerequisite for FREN 102 or higher-level courses in French.

FREN 101 cannot be taken concurrently with 102 or other French courses. UBC’s French course sequence should be taken in order and one course at a time: FREN 101 then 102, followed by 111 and 112 (FREN 112 satisfies the 2018-19 UBC Faculty of Arts language requirement); then 122, 123, 224, 225, and so on. See further:


REQUIRED MATERIALS (for both FREN 101 and 102)

  • Hirschsprung & Tricot, Cosmopolite 1 – Livre de l’élève. (Paris: Hachette, 2017).
    (textbook) ISBN 9782014015973
  • + Hirschsprung & Tricot, Cosmopolite 1 – Cahier d’activités. (Paris: Hachette, 2017).
    (practice exercises workbook) ISBN 9782014015980

FREN 101 = the first half of Cosmopolite 1, dossiers 0-4
FREN 102 = the second half of Cosmopolite 1, dossiers 5-8

Available at the UBC Bookstore and elsewhere online.
Cost (last checked 2018-09-02)
= for 2 semesters as we use these materials for both FREN 101 and FREN 102:
textbook = CAD 36.50 (+ sales tax) / EUR 17.30 (+ shipping, sales tax, import taxes)
practice exercises = CAD 21.50 (+ sales tax) / EUR 10.10 (+ shipping, sales tax, import taxes)

Please bring the textbook with you to class.

Each of the books above—textbook and workbook—also has an audio CD and a booklet at the back. Together, the booklets contain vocabulary as well as scripts for the textbook and workbook audio. You can also download these audio files (plus videos associated with the textbook) and PDFs of the booklets at the back of your books at:


  • Poisson-Quinton, La grammaire du français en 44 leçons et plus de 230 activités, niveau A1. (Paris: Éditions Maison des langues, 2014). ISBN 9788415640127


Course information and documents (such as this syllabus), and some other materials (ex. supplementary resources), will be on UBC Canvas. The most up-to-date official version of your syllabus for your class will be the online one (here, for the course in general; on Canvas or via your instructor, for your section).



As is usual with university-level courses, students should expect to be spending at least 2 hours outside class (regular preparation, homework, and practice) for every hour spent in class. For our summer intensive class, that is at least twelve hours’ work a week. Language learning requires regular practice: like music, dance, martial arts, and sports. It is better to do some French every day than to try to cram all your homework into one session on Sunday afternoon (also, this wrecks your weekend). FREN 101 has practice exercises (Cahier d’activités) and optional extra online exercises (Parcours digital) to provide you with this practice. 

Assignments outside class ( = group projects, workbook exercises, savoir-vivre):

  • Should be YOUR OWN work: you MAY NOT use tutors, Francophone friends, etc. to help. It is important to your learning to make your own mistakes, and to learn from them.
  • You MAY, however, work with the FHIS Learning Centre
  • You are strongly encouraged to work together with peers in our class, in pairs or small study groups, on the Cahier d’activités. It is recommended that you do exercises regularly, after you have covered the work concerned in class—ideally every class day—to reinforce what you have learned in class while it is still fresh in your mind.
  • You may use dictionaries and other resources; some assignments may explicitly ask you to do so


  • Some possible examples (the number and nature will vary from term to term, class to class, and instructor to instructor): workshops (ateliers) on listening comprehension, reading comprehension, open-ended writing, speaking and presentations; activities in the textbook, peer evaluation, a follow-up stage of posting on Canvas, rapid pop quiz (maximum 1 minute), preparatory work on Canvas reading and/or listening to a document from the next leçon, work after class on that class’s main “Focus langue” point, Canvas discussion, composing and sending an email in French, …
  • Points per item:
    0 = absent / not done
    1 = done
    (Instructors are also at liberty to award bonus points.)
  • Total of points tallied at end of week 13 of term, then translated to scores from 0 to 8%


  • Minimum 2 visits, 1% each
  • The first visit in weeks 2-4 of term (before the midterm break), the second in weeks 5-6 (after it)
  • See and the Learning Centre schedule (also linked from that main site), click “next” on there to see availability in other weeks)
  • Bring your Cahier d’activités (workbook): these visits are for working on it, on the activities associated with your class that week
  • Alone, or in a pair/three with the person(s) with whom you are working on your Cahier
  • Examples of Learning Centre work: writing practice, listening comprehension practice, checking answers (for the open-ended writing sections; or, elsewhere, if you had something different from the answers in the answer key provided and this has caused confusion), speaking practice: pronunciation, asking questions, answering questions, conversation, seeking alternative explanations and examples of grammar and structures, building vocabulary, working on the “Bilan” exercises, …
  • Afterwards, add a comment about your Learning Centre session in your Savoir-Vivre
  • You may also visit the Learning Centre more often if you wish: for workbook questions, to practice with your Projet group, to practice the Présentation that is part of your Savoir-Vivre, etc.
  • Alternative for students in sections that meet in the evening (after the Learning Centre is closed): see your instructor

TESTS IN CLASS (3) = 30%

  • Each test is worth 10%.
  • Test 1 is on dossier 1, test 2 on dossier 2, test 3 on dossier 3. As language knowledge and learning is cumulative, tests 2 and 3 also build on knowledge and know-how acquired in previous dossiers (ex. the test on dossier 3 will assume and include grammar, vocabulary, etc. from dossiers 0-2).
  • Tests will be in French; they will use simple language that you have already met in the textbook and workbook. For any questions that have more complex instructions, these will be both in French and in English. All answers should be in French.
  • Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Test format:
    • Test 1: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, grammar
    • Test 2: listening comprehension, grammar, open-ended writing / composition
    • Test 3: reading comprehension, grammar, open-ended writing
    • COMPRÉHENSION DE L’ORAL (listening)
      Listening comprehension. Each audio recording (this exercise may have one or two, depending on their length) will be played twice. A first set of multiple-choice questions will be about global, general understanding. A second set of questions will ask you to locate specific information. This will include grammar.
      This will be a previously-unseen text, at the same level as those in your textbook. A first set of multiple-choice questions will be about global, general understanding. A second set of questions will ask you to locate specific information in the text. A third set of questions will be on closer reading. Each one will be a sentence which (in relation to the text or to French grammar and spelling) is true or false. If it is true, tick “vrai”; if it is false, tick “faux” and write in a corrected version of the sentence in the space provided below. These changes will include applying grammatical knowledge from the dossier in question.
    • PRODUCTION ÉCRITE (writing)
      Short writing related to the topic of the reading comprehension text and to the “production écrite” writing in the “DELF” pages at the end of each dossier. This question will specifically ask you to put into applied practice grammar and lexical elements from the dossier(s) in question.
  • PREPARATION (also for the final exam, which has all three elements above but is scaled up from 45 minutes to 150, and is on everything in the course)
    —Regular attendance, participation, and work in every class; including before and after
    —Regular workbook practice, ideally with a colleague from class, in a peer pair
    —Practice tests: the “DELF” page at the end of each dossier in the textbook and the “Bilan” at the end of each dossier in the workbook
    —The Tableau des contenus at the start of your textbook works well as a checklist


  • Stage 1: form project groups and record video introducing yourselves (based on Dossier 1 Projet 1) on Canvas = 1%
  • Stage 2: includes grammar and structures from dossiers 1-2; written; on Canvas = 4%
  • Stage 3: includes grammar and structures from dossiers 3-4; written; on Canvas = 5%
  • Project topics will be communicated to you at the start of week 2 of term (the end of the course add/drop period)
  • There will be a choice of topics.


  • It is recommended that you do Cahier d’activités (workbook) exercises regularly, after you have covered the work concerned in class—ideally every class day—to reinforce what you have learned in class while it is still fresh in your mind.
  • You are strongly encouraged to work on these exercises together with peers in our class, in pairs or small study groups (a maximum of 3 is recommended)
  • 1 point per dossier (4 total)
  • For feedback and to discuss questions, bring your workbook to your instructor’s office hours the week that you have a test; otherwise, just for completion to be recorded, bring your workbook to the test. Your instructor will simply check that you’ve completed most of the exercises and give you a point.
  • You may also visit the FHIS Learning Centre for help (as well as the 2 visits that count towards your final grade)
  • NB: some of the “Nous agissons” exercises can sensibly be left until revision for the final exam, and some can be ignored; if in doubt, and if an exercise is taking a long time and looks like it requires a lot of extra research, consult your instructor and/or the coordinator.
  • NBB: the answer key is provided, in a booklet inserted in the back of your workbook and also online at, in the interests of promoting student autonomy and encouraging responsibility for this part of your own progress


A “carnet de bord” is a personal log or journal. Each student is expected to note in their carnet
(at least) once weekly what they have learned both inside and outside the classroom. This is like a diary or the Star Trek Captain’s Log; there are many other examples in history and literature. Some of you may already be keeping diaries, or have had this habit when you were younger; some of you may have older relatives who do so.

Think of this assignment as a combination of reflection about learning and language—a savoir-
that complements the savoirs of this course—and an individual curated collection of your own found materials in and on French, creating an environment of personal wellbeing—l’art et la joie de vivre—a savoir-être that complements the savoir-faire of your course and its materials.

Quantity and length: This is up to you, and will vary, and that’s why I’ve left them open. If you
read or listen to one thing in French every day during the week, that’s five links already. You
might also read or listen to something again (rereading is an integral and indeed crucial part of
higher-level reading). You might have only one item that week, but it was very long or needed to
be read and reread slowly. This is not a point-scoring box-ticking exercise; it’s about quality,
engagement, depth, enrichment; and acquiring habits of regular reading—in its broad sense,
including all other sensory interactions with the world around you—and writing and reflection.

The idea is that this is a regular weekly journal, so it’s building up a whole larger continuous work (like any other portfolio, journal, diary, etc.), which *you* can also read, going from page to page, as a continuous narrative; reading your past self and seeing how you and your thinking are changing. For more about the raison d’être for the savoir-vivre (and savoir-être and savoir-apprendre) part of our course, see: “Savoir-vivre plurilingual intercultural learning portfolios” (O’Brien, 2018) and information about the UBC Faculty of Arts ePortfolios … for this course, for other courses, and for life …

[O’Brien version] Carnet de bord (regular weekly journal) = 5%:

  • 5% = (at least one journal entry every week)
    individual curated collection of your own found materials in and on French, creating an environment of personal wellbeing—l’art et la joie de vivre—that is 50% soundscape, 50% visual and other senses; for example:
    music, visual arts, archaeology, cinema, the slow food movement, TV series, sounds, scents, trees and forests, opera, climates and climate change, multimedia and performance arts, board games and children’s games, war and peace, seas, gastronomy, molecular gastronomy, animation, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, chocolate, chanson française and other song, pâtisserie, the history of ideas, cycling, recycling, street arts, ruins, public sculpture, philosophy, immigration and emigration, agriculture, agrotourism, ecotourism, fashion, mime, pétanque and other leisure activities in parks, dance, le foot (“soccer”), politics, ancient sites, health and healthcare, seaside and spa resorts, cultural practices, funghi, sciences, hip-hop, birds, words, sports, rivers, libraries, book culture, cartoons, games, rural life, ports, architecture, bread, carnaval, international relations, fishing, graffiti, textiles, festivals, advertisements, cafés, bistrots and brasseries, picnics, markets, flea-markets, flowers, circus arts, education, caves, memes, jokes, mountains, poems, conservation, history, rugby, border areas, wine, novels, colonialism and decolonisation, comics and graphic novels (bande dessinée), other literature, UNESCO World Heritage sites (including intangible cultural heritage), ideas, cheese, museums, built and natural environments, the history of science, ecology, sustainability, food, tastes, l’art de flâner.
  • 1% = (at least one journal entry every dossier)
    reflexion and commentary on your learning in French: what you are learning, how, and why; how your perception of French is changing over the course of the course; what connections you have found between French and your other UBC courses. This part of your FREN 101 work may include English or other languages other than French—all other work produced in this course is in French—so that you can express yourself fully.
  • format and mode of submission: ePortfolio via Canvas


  • an individual video recording, in which you will talk for a maximum of one minute about yourself OR a fictionalised version of yourself OR a fictional character (but speaking in the first person). Who are you? What are your defining characteristics? For example: academic, intellectual, creative, and work interests; hobbies, sports, music; likes and dislikes, tastes, preferences, and habits; anything that defines you (or the fictionalised version of yourself, or the fiction) as you.
  • format and mode of submission: recording on Canvas.


  • The final examination will be in the exam period in June, after the end of the teaching term.
  • Length: two and a half hours
  • It is cumulative, on everything in this course, and its purpose is for you to put into applied practice what you have learned in the course.
  • Closed book, and following the usual UBC regulations on student conduct during examinations
  • A similar format to the three tests, but scaled up.


Your first port of call is your instructor (= the person who teaches you in class), who will hold weekly office hours.

You can also contact your instructor by email:
contact information
and you can learn more about them at:
FHIS Faculty
FHIS Graduate Students

You can also come and talk to or email the course coordinator:
Dr Juliet O’Brien
Office hours this term:
Office: Buchanan Tower 728

Syllabus (3): HELP = Links to resources to help you and for finding help:

  • French advising via the department
  • Academic advising in the Faculty of Arts and throughout UBC
  • Where to find information and help for everything in UBC life: well-being, accessibility, health, security, finance, being an international student, and any other matters of identity and being…
  • UBC policies and procedures, rules and regulations, and the Ombuds office 
  • If in doubt, if you have any questions or worries about anything, please ask! This course, your class, your instructor, and your coordinator are a safe space and here to help. If we don’t know an answer—we’re human—we’ll help you to find someone who does. This is a community of care.



  • Attendance is required.
  • Such details as assignments may vary somewhat from section to section at the discretion of individual instructors. They may not, however, vary from student to student within a section. 
  • Students may not do extra work for extra credit; nor may the distribution of marks allotted to any portion of the course (ex. 30% for the final examination) be changed. No extra credit.
  • No late work will be accepted.*
  • No make-up quizzes or other in-class assignments.*

(*) For exceptions to the two last policies above, in exceptional circumstances and with supporting evidence for your absence, see Syllabus (2): THE RULES

  • aims and objectives
  • expectations
  • responsibilities
  • grading criteria
  • plagiarism
  • late work, extensions, and making up for missed work
  • and quick links to UBC rules, policies and procedures 

These rights, rules, and responsibilities are in addition to, not instead of, all policies and guidelines as supplied by the University, Faculty of Arts, and Department of FHIS. The most up-to-date version will be online (at the URL above). 

They apply generally across all sections of FREN 101: there may be some variation from instructor to instructor. 

N.B.: you are expected to be cognizant with University rules and regulations: this is part of the contractual agreement every student enters into with the University when they register.


Exceptions to the rule requiring that all students write their final examinations at the appointed time:

  1. Students with three examinations scheduled within a twenty-four hour period are said to face an examination hardship and are entitled to have the middle exam rescheduled. If FREN 101 falls in the middle of such a combination, consult the coordinator.
  1. Students who are prevented by illness, bereavement, or other personal or family affliction from writing an examination on the appointed day may apply to their Faculty’s Academic Advising Office for deferral of standing. Documentary evidence will usually be needed to support the request.
  1. The coordinator will reschedule an examination whose date falls on a religious festival for adherents of the faith concerned. But please note: you may not invoke the policy to justify an early departure from campus for the holidays unless you adhere to a religion that has no place of worship in the Lower Mainland. Your exam will simply be moved a few days in either direction of the original appointed date for the exam.


  1. Under no circumstances will an examination be rescheduled to accommodate a student’s travel plans, not even to prevent the waste of money unwisely spent before the exam schedule was known.
  1. No provision will be made for students who miss a scheduled examination because they misread the timetable.


  • Without a W: until Friday 10 May 2019 (through the Student Service Centre online)
  • With a W: until Friday 24 May 2019 (ditto)
  • Withdrawal after 24 May 2019 is a formal academic concession, for which you will have to apply to and receive the approval of the Academic Advising Office of your Faculty.



ITEMS IN BOLD = assessed work 

SEMAINE 1 du 6 au 10 mai 2019

  • WORK IN CLASS 1 (Monday or Tuesday, depending on your section): Introduction + Cosmopolite 1, Dossier 0
  • WORK IN CLASS 2 (Wednesday or Thursday, depending on your section): Dossier 1 leçons 1-3

SEMAINE 2 du 13 au 17 mai 2019

  • WORK IN CLASS 1: Dossier 1 leçons 4-6 + workshop 1 (comprehension)
  • WORK IN CLASS 2: Dossier 1 test + Dossier 2 leçons 1-2
    TEST 1 on Dossier 1; listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and grammar; in your last class this week
    Cahier d’activités, Dossier 1: for feedback and to discuss questions, bring your Cahier to your instructor’s office hours this week; otherwise, just for completion to be recorded, bring it to Test 1 in class

SEMAINE 3 du 20 au 24 mai 2019

  • WORK IN CLASS 1: (no class: Monday = public holiday, Tuesday = fieldwork in lieu of class)
  • WORK IN CLASS 2: Dossier 2 leçons 3-5
    PROJET STAGE 1 (adapted from the Dossier 1 Projet; on Canvas)

SEMAINE 4 du 27 au 31 mai 2019

  • WORK IN CLASS 1: Dossier 2 leçon 6 + Cultures (or alternative) + workshop (writing)
  • WORK IN CLASS 2: Dossier 2 test + Dossier 3 leçons 1-2
    TEST 2 on Dossier 2: listening comprehension, grammar, and open-ended writing; in your last class this week
    Cahier d’activités, Dossier 2: for feedback and to discuss questions, bring your Cahier to your instructor’s office hours this week; otherwise, just for completion to be recorded, bring it to Test 2 in class
    FHIS Learning Centre / office hours visit #1 (in weeks 2-4 of term)

du 3 au 9 juin 2019

  • WORK DURING THE BREAK: Dossier 3 leçon 3 (independent study) + Project stage 2
    PROJECT STAGE 2 (Canvas)

SEMAINE 5 du 10 au 14 juin 2019

  • WORK IN CLASS 1: Dossier 3 leçons 4-6 + Cultures (or alternative) + workshop (speaking)
  • WORK IN CLASS 2: Dossier 3 test + Dossier 4 leçons 1-2
    TEST 3 on Dossier 3; reading comprehension, grammar, and open-ended writing; in your last class this week
    Cahier d’activités – Dossier 3: for feedback and to discuss questions, bring to your instructor’s office hours this week; otherwise, just for completion to be recorded, bring to Test 3 in class

SEMAINE 6 du 17 au 21 juin 2019

  • WORK IN CLASS 1: Dossier 4 leçons 3-5 + workshop (writing)
  • WORK IN CLASS 2: Dossier 4 leçon 6 + Cultures (or alternative) + revision
  • FHIS Learning Centre / office hours visit #2 (in weeks 5-6 of term)
    PROJET STAGE 3 (Canvas)
    Video presentation (Canvas)

PÉRIODE DES EXAMENS du 24 au 28 juin 2019

  • FINAL EXAMINATION (2.5 hours, on everything in the course)
    date, time, and place t.b.a.
    SAVOIR-VIVRE (Canvas)
    Cahier d’activités – Dossier 4: for feedback and to discuss questions, bring to your instructor’s office hours this week; otherwise, just for completion to be recorded, bring to final exa


All work must be completed by the day of your final exam at the very latest. This is for a practical reason: your instructor has to submit their final grades for your class shortly after that final exam, and as it will take them at least a couple of days to mark the final exam (and they may have other exams to mark from other classes they’re teaching), they need all marks for all other work from the course to be ready by the time they have finished marking the exam and are calculating and calibrating final grades. That having been said, individual instructors’ policies may vary on amnesties for late work, ranging from none at all (all term work due by the end of the teaching term) to a few days after the final exam.


The date of the final examination is not yet known. It is not set by your instructor, the course coordinator, or the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies; nor by the Faculty of Arts. They have no control over it. It is set by the Higher Authority that is Enrolment Services.

The examination schedule will be available around half-way through the term, and exam locations will be posted shortly after. For more, see:

Information will be added and updated here accordingly, once it is known.

Your personal examination schedule will be at the Student Service Centre; the complete examination schedule for all UBC courses may be consulted at

The examination period for this term runs from 24 to 28 June 2019 inclusive. It is strongly recommended that you not make any travel plans or purchase tickets until the examination schedules have been published: vacation or other travel is not an acceptable reason for absence from an examination. See also:

Course information may be subject to change over the course of the term; that is in the nature of a flexible, responsive, interactive course in live action with human beings. Changes will only ever be in your favour: ex. if a deadline is changed for your section, it will only ever be moved forwards in time to a later date—never to an earlier one—and this will be done in consultation with you and your whole class. The most up-to-date official version of this information is the electronic one online.