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French 101 - Elementary French I - Pierre Etienne

Course:Elementary French I
Professor:Pierre Etienne
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Professor Etienne in a  café in Seville, Spain.

The great 17th Century French philosopher, mathematician, inventor, and mystic Blaise Pascal once wrote that the problem with humans is that they don’t know how to sit quietly in a room. This pandemic has given us a chance to do just that!  Welcome to French 101, also known as Beginning Café Zoom-Zoom. Unlike at the Hotel California, you cannot check in any time you want (only at the time stated in the course schedule) but you can leave when our Zoom session is over. In other words, this is a distance learning but not online class. You will need to reserve for French class the entire 2.5-hour time block from 11:00 am to 1:25 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. We will meet on Zoom for at least an hour and 45 minutes of that time, but you need to be available for the entire period.

Let’s face it, most of us don’t think that a distance format is the best way to teach language. But that is our temporary destiny, and we will make the best of it. All is not lost, as you will spend at least two fun-filled hours on Mondays and Wednesdays in the comfort of your home, basking in the warm glow of your computer screen while I try valiantly to keep you awake—oops, I mean intellectually and emotionally engaged! To quote a famous line from the infamous French film Love Me If You Dare, Cap ou pas cap? (Are you game?)

And, oh, who am I? I'm a French and American-educated professor from La Rochelle, France with forty-two years of teaching experience at various colleges and universities in France, the U.S. and Puerto Rico. I believe that we need to open ourselves to the world and that learning other languages is the best step in that direction. I love teaching, music, literature, cinema, travelling, my wife, and my daughter, and even though English is not my native language, I am fond of the Oxford comma. I hate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Course Description

The goal of French 101 is to prepare you to function in French on a basic level in culturally appropriate ways. In French 101, you will acquire a general understanding of French and the francophone (=French-speaking) world. You will learn to pronounce French correctly and you will develop basic reading and writing skills, but the emphasis will be placed on understanding spoken French and responding to it orally. You will learn to talk about yourself and your family as well as some immediate need topics (“Do you know the way to Saint-Tropez?” rhymes with José). You will not learn how to make the perfect soufflé or how to become a world-class pétanque player, but you will be encouraged to give it a try on your own.

As a bonus, you will attempt to answer the following questions: (1) Why do French people eat their pizza with a knife and fork? (2) Is bistro[t] a Russian word? (3) Our professor, under quarantine, bought a breadbox online. When it arrived, he was surprised to learn that an American breadbox is not bigger than a breadbox and, consequently, cannot hold a French baguette--neither can an American toaster. So how do we deal with this problem? That's where the fun starts.

What to Expect in this Course

You will be busy. You will be expected to put in a minimum of five hours per week working on French through Zoom, Canvas, and the Internet. That's in ADDITION to time spent on homework. 

In addition to work in the textbook and the online lab, you will be assigned a wide variety of activities: short readings, poems, songs, YouTube videos, and films.

You will need a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet with microphone and camera and reliable access to the Internet. This is a must! Please let me know if you have any problems meeting this requirement. COC believes in access for all and has implemented measures to help you meet this requirement.

Types of Assessments

Exams and quizzes on Zoom and take-home. Short compositions, oral presentations and memorization of short poems.

Textbook Information

Horizons (7th edition only) by Manley, Smith, McMinn-Reyna and Prévost. ISBN varies with each semester. E-book and/or hard copy plus access code for online lab. Wait for instructions before purchasing.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 11/08/2021 Sub#: 201