CLO User 133's blog

New YouTube Videos

I'm happy to announce a partnership with Kevin Hogan, who will be creating videos of certain lessons that will be placed on YouTube and on our upcoming iPhone app version of the course. Kevin will be posting links in the comments section of lessons that have videos available. Here is a sample to begin with. If there is demand, we could have more videos created and placed on the site.

Expect to see more partnerships like this announced between CLO and other content providers over the next few months!

Work in Progress

Here's an update on what we are currently working on:

1. Fixing up older content:
a. Fixing up typos from older lessons(thanks to all the CLO users who have been sending us edits. A special thanks to Karl in Germany who has been going out of his way in this area to send us regular edits).
b. Replacing older lessons with older speakers with rerecorded ones. Only 13 more to go! (Lessons 48-60).
c. Redoing PDF transcripts and uploading of corrected lessons.
d. Replacing the normal speed dialogs in select lessons with a new native speaker pair.

2. New CLO website:
a. Some of you have had your accounts copied to the new site to try out and send feedback. If you are an existing online subscriber and would like a trial account, please let me know.
b. More features are being added to the new site, including linking with existing social networks (so you don't have to create a special account just for CLO), as well as being able to import content from other sources on the web.
c. General usability issues.
d. Graphic design.

3. Other (more distant projects):
a. An iPhone app version of CLO
b. A Spanish version of CLO.

More details will be provided on some of the above points as they get closer to fruition / completion.

Bulk Downloads of Level 7 Now Available

As the title says, level 7 bulk downloads can now be found on the bulk downloads page. There are 3 ways to get them:

1. Purchase each of the components (lessons, dialogue and audio summaries, PDF notes) for $19.95 USD, or purchase the entire level for $49.95 USD, which includes 30 days of online access.

2. Purchase an All Access Package that gives you access to all the site's content for $199.95 (a $400 USD value).

3. If you're an existing online subscriber, you may be able to redeem one or more of your download credits to get free bulk downloads. You get 1 credit for every 3 months of online access you have purchased. Check your profile page to see how many credits you have earned so far, then contact me to redeem them.

Site Update

Now that we have extra time from not making new lessons, I thought I would use this post to update you with what we're currently doing with our time.

1. Adding sentence builder exercises to the rest of level 7. [Update: Done]
2. Preparing bulk downloads of level 7. [Update: Done]
3. Cleaned up the music site, deleting outdated links. There are now 11 songs available for your listening and viewing pleasure. [Update: Done]
3. Working on the new CLO website including:
a. Moving lesson and exercise content over. [Update: In progress]
b. Painting the walls, and prettying it up.[Update: In progress]
c. Doing some usability testing.[Update: In progress]

[Jan 4: Update]: The main CLO podcast feed has now been reorganized to include the first four lessons of each of the seven levels. The premium resources for these same lessons are all available for free to try out. Interested users can then decide whether to purchase an online subscription (flashcards, videos, exercises) that covers all lessons, or get a bulk download (PDFs, MP3s) of a particular level.

I'll update the above as we complete it, and add new tasks.

We truly hope this has been a good year for you and that even better things are in store for you next year. Happy holidays from all of us here at CLO!

Holiday All Access Special

Now that level 7 has been finished, I will be adding it to the bulk downloads section over the next few weeks. Once that is done, I will be raising the price of the All Access package from $149.95 to $199.95. For this price, you will get access to all the bulk downloads for all 7 levels, which would normally cost you $349.85. You also get 3 months of online access thrown in which has a value of $49.95 on its own, giving you a $399.80 value for only $199.95.

Until the release of the level 7 bulk download package however, those who purchase the current All Access package for $149.95 will get free access to level 7 when it is available. This offer also extends to all those who have purchased the All Access package in the past 2 months, as their access should extend into the release of the new level.

Suspension of New Lessons

I'm considering suspending the creation of new lessons at the end of level 7 (up to lesson 420). The following is my reasoning - however I'm open to any feedback that users may have.

It seems that the vast majority of our users are still in the early levels (1 to 3) perhaps. The majority of the bulk downloads are all coming from those areas. However the majority of our production costs are in the later levels and lessons of which, only a small minority of our users are on. I think at this point it would make more sense to shift some of the focus back to the earlier levels and lessons. By this, I mean creating more resources for them to enable students there to progress further.

When we aren't creating new lessons, we have been working on two areas:

1. A new version of the CLO site, that is more user and student friendly. I have been releasing hints on the approach I am planning in recent podcast updates. The idea is for students to have better control over the resources they want, to enable themselves to progress quicker in their learning.
2. Rerecording of older lessons to meet current standards.

Both these points have taken MUCH longer than I expected. By suspending production of new lessons, I can put more resources into these areas so we can finish them off. There's also a lot of other work, like creating more sentence builder and other activities for older lessons. I also have some ideas for new features that I would like to do some research on. My thinking is that once I have caught up on these areas, then we can continue producing lessons and resuming with level 8.

As mentioned above, I'm open to feedback. If subscribers on extended subscriptions feel that I have an obligation to create new content, then I am open to continuing to do that. However if the same users would rather see me put more resources into the lessons they are currently on (older ones), then I can certainly do that too.

Let me know what you think!

New Landing Page

I updated the CLO landing page a few days ago, to provide more of an introduction for new users on our course and how it differs from others. I also added some user testimonials to it. There was a problem with members not being able to log in from that page however, so I just added a login link to it. Hopefully this didn't cause too much inconvenience.

CLO 3rd Anniversary

It was only 3 short years ago that I began CLO in my basement in Canada, releasing lesson 1 on September 4, 2006. At the time, I wasn't sure where it would lead or how far I would be able to take it. 3 years later, I am now based in Taiwan with a full time staff of 2 and a part time group of 10 people that include voice actors, a language consultant, a proof reader, a salesperson, a programmer, a cartoonist and a graphic designer. We just released our 382nd lesson and have expanded from the main site to 2 iphone applications and a site for a local university Chinese language center .

So what's in store for CLO in the future? Apart from working on a brand new CLO site, with much improved functionality, I'm working on introducing our model to more Chinese language schools in Taiwan. I'm also building a site for teachers in an American Chinese school to use, and I hope to import some of that functionality into the next version of CLO. There will also be more tools released for the general public to use, that should help Chinese learners in general.

I would like to thank all of you for your support over the past 3 years, and hope we can continue this relationship over the next few years!

Typhoon Morakot

Sorry for the lack of updates here of late. Most of our efforts of late have gone into development for the new version of CLO. Since it will be using a different software system, there is no point in implementing any of the features in the current version since they have to be rewritten on the new system. More details on what exactly you will see in the new version will be released over the next few weeks.

Regarding some news close to home here, some of you may have read about the floods and mudslides caused by Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan this past week. While we at CLO weren't directly affected by it, there are a lot of people in Taiwan who were. As a result, I will be donating 5% of our revenue this month towards Typhoon Morakot relief. If anyone wants to donate money specifically for this cause, please use the donate button below.

If you want to know what happens to this money, please read this blog post written by my friend Michael.

September 2 Update: Contribution made today - a big thank you to all our subscribers!

New Additions

With the start of level 7, I'm happy to announce some new additions to the course and website. Regarding the course, you may have noticed two new speakers in lesson 361. They will be used for the regular speed dialogues from here on. We will also be inserting them into older lessons.

I'm also happy to announce that I have upgraded the site to a new, faster server. This is the second time I've had to do so in the 3 years (approaching) the site has been around. This is a result of the site growing and its needs growing with it. The new server should make the site faster and more responsive. It'll also give me the flexibility to keep adding more features, especially with a new version of CLO around the corner.

A few bugs have now been fixed - comments have now been restored - however the music pages are a bit of a mess, so please bear with me as I fix those.

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