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Italian as a second language with E-LOCAL (Electronically Learning Other Cultures and Languages)

Course description

This beginner’s course, stemming from the European project E-LOCAL (Electronically Learning Other Cultures And Languages), will guide you into the discovery of Italian language and culture. The course is divided into 2 parts, part I and part II. In part I you will follow the main characters of the course in their adventures: Anna and Alex. With them you will discover the Italian language and culture. They are two Erasmus students who arrive in Bologna. Anna and Alex are welcomed in their university town by Lorenzo and Lucia and are helped in their learning process by Elena and Giovanni.

Part I is organised in 4 main units, plus an introductory unit and a final assessment unit. In units 1-4 you will find:

  • a story with seven situations and a comprehension quiz at the end;
  • grammar explanations along with related exercises;
  • cultural pills with short tests and everyday information;
  • language exercises to fix grammar, lexicon and communicative aspects.

You will also find a unit 0 with preliminary grammar information, and a final unit with the assessment of the course.

In each part of the course, where necessary, you will find a specific glossary, but please remember that you will always have the Overall Glossary at your disposal, which contains the entire vocabulary used during the course. You will also be able to download the Overall Grammar, which includes all the grammar explanations of the course. You can find both the Overall Glossary and the Overall Grammar in the Additional Materials.

Intended Learning Outcomes


No prerequisite knowledge is required, but it is necessary to speak English.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.

Topic outline

  • Unit 0

    Unit 0 is the introduction to the course and gives you preliminary information.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Unit 1

    In this unit, Anna and Alex arrive in Bologna and meet their friends Lorenzo and Lucia. You will learn to say hallo and goodbye, to introduce yourself, to ask and express states of mind, as well as the numbers from 1 to 10 and many other useful words and expressions. In “e-Culture” you will find some general information about Italy.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Unit 2

    In this unit, Anna and Alex familiarise with the new environment. You will learn how to describe basic qualities of people and things. New vocabulary includes colours, parts of the body, family tree, nationalities. You will also meet some major figures in Italian art, literature, history, and you will learn something about Italian society.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Unit 3

    In this unit, Anna and Alex meet their teachers, Elena and Giovanni. You will learn words and expressions related to eating: names of foods and drinks, kitchen stuff, flavours, how to order in public places, as well as other useful vocabulary concerning e.g. the state of health, rooms in the house and numbers from 11 to 100. You will also have an insight into Italian cuisine and meals.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Unit 4

    In this unit, Anna and Alex deal with jobs. You will meet new words and expressions concerning work, hobbies and sports, pets, and you will also learn how to express likes and dislikes. Some historical curiosities about the Italian language will be provided, along with some contemporary trends.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Final Assessment

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Additional Resources

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      Additional Materials Page
      Not available unless: You are a(n) Student


Your final grade for the course will be based on the results of your answers to the graded quizzes. You have unlimited attempts at each quiz, but you must wait 5 minutes before you can try again. You will have successfully completed the course if you achieve 60% (or more) of the total course score. The maximum score possible for each quiz is given at the top of the quiz. You can see your score in the quiz on your last attempt or on the 'Grades' page.

The course has several questions. Some of these questions will not be evaluated to complete the course. Instead, the Homework you will find at the end of each Unit and the Final Assessment you will find at the end of the course will be evaluated. The Homework, as a whole, weighs 20% of the final score; the Final Assessment weighs 80% of the final score. You can find the points assigned for each exercise just under the title of the exercise itself, while the number of the maximum attempts is indicated under each quiz. The correct answer will be shown once you have used all the attempts available. Remember, the system will record the result of your final attempt, not the best of your attempts.

The course is considered properly completed if the participant responds correctly to 60% of the questions in total. After completing the course, if you have surpassed the required score, you can download and print a certificate of participation. The certificate of participation is signed by professor Andrea Ceccherelli, scientific coordinator of the E-LOCAL project and courses.

Certificate of accomplishment

You must be registered in POK through Politecnico di Milano personal account to obtain the Certificate of Accomplishment. It will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the graded quizzes and filling the final survey.

You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from Politecnico di Milano web services.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course completely online and absolutely free of charge.

Course faculty

This MOOC is the result of a successful collaboration between Politecnico di Milano and the University of Bologna.

It is based on the Italian course developed within E-LOCAL, a European project coordinated by the University of Bologna. Professor Andrea Ceccherelli is the scientific coordinator of the E-LOCAL project and courses. The E-LOCAL course of Italian language and culture was created by:

  • Silvia Baroni, ICTS Rosa Luxemburg, Italy (e-Story; e-Life texts units 1, 3, 6, 7)
  • Andrea Ceccherelli, University of Bologna, Italy (e-Story; e-Culture texts unit 2)
  • Cristina Donà, ICTS Rosa Luxemburg, Italy (e-Story)
  • Elisa Magnani, University of Bologna, Italy (e-Culture texts and exercises units 1, 7, 8; e-Life texts units 2, 8)
  • Elisabetta Magni, University of Bologna, Italy (e-Grammar notes; e-culture texts unit 4; e-Life texts unit 4)
  • Annalisa Planera, Tóth Árpád Gimnázium, Hungary (e-culture texts units 3, 5, 6; e-Life texts unit 5)
  • Katalin Puskas, Tóth Árpád Gimnázium, Hungary (e-culture texts units 3, 5, 6; e-Life texts unit 5)
  • Antonella Valva, University of Bologna, Italy (e-Grammar exercises; e-Culture exercises units 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; e-Life exercises; e-Language exercises; supervision)

The production and implementation of this MOOC was edited by Politecnico di Milano – METID, consistently with the competences in pedagogical design of the team and in collaboration with Antonella Valva from the University of Bologna.

Antonella Valva has collaborated with the University of Bologna since 2008 dealing with internationalisation and European projects. She was project manager of the E-LOCAL and the elocALL projects, she is currently project manager of the ILOCALAPP project. She was also tutor of Italian language at the University Language Centre and she is currently attending a PhD in digital humanities.

This MOOC could not exist without the precious support of Andrea Ceccherelli, Paola Salomoni and Alessandra Scagliarini (University of Bologna).

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.