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Try not to make the same mistake I made with Encounters: Chinese Language and Culture


Wang7
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In an attempt to further my knowledge I sometimes "rush to judgement," and make a mistake. I purchased a textbook expecting something other than what it contained. I was highly disappointed. So in an attempt to assuage my loss of $85.00, the cost of the book, I fired off the following email to this publisher's "Expert Ambassador." .

Dear Expert Ambassador;

I am an independent, self learner of Mandarin who just recently acquired Student Book 1 based on the outstanding Encounters Web site (http://www.encounterschinese.com/ ) detailing its extraordinary, comprehensive language package. I made this acquisition by way of the Barnes & Nobles online store. The purchasing price for this book was $85.00. It wasn't until after I received Student Book 1 did I realize that other than having a very expensive text book, none of the additional features, especially., the audio/media for Student Book 1 was included. However, what disturbs me the most about this oversight on my part is that neither Encounters (http://www.encounter...rogram-packages ) or any of its vendors,including Yale Press (http://yalepress.yal...n=9780300161625 ) clearly state the cost or the availability of the audio/media material for Student Book 1 for independent, self learners of Mandarin. If this information was reasonably visible for perusal on your web site, I would not have purchased this product. It wasn't until after I received the book did I realize that the DVD Lab Pack 1, listed on Amazon. com ( http://www.amazon.co...k/dp/0300175655 ) cost $599.99. Unfortunately, I can not afford to fully utilize your product because of its expense. If there was ever a case where the caveat "let the buyer beware," applies, it does so in regards to the sales promotion of Encounters for the independent learner. Shame on you, and shame on me for not researching your product further.

Since I now own Encounters Student Book 1, which upon a quick perusal, is nothing more than a very expensive, beginner's primer text (without the audio/media package) I feel obliged to inform other self learners like my self not to make the same mistake in regards to the expectations they may have of Student Book 1.

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Encounters: Chinese Language and Culture, Student Book 1: . . .. Each book includes a code giving the student full access to the Encounters website.
2. Register for Student Access

During the account creation process, you will have the opportunity to obtain access to the audio-visual media that accompanies your textbook. Select "Yes" and enter the 10-digit code from your textbook in the Online Student Access section of the registration form.

Looks to me like you might want to politely ask where your code is, rather than calling them out in public. I'm assuming you gave them a reasonable amount of time to respond, bearing in mind the time of year, and only posted here when they ignored you.

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I was one of the teachers selected to test pilot Encounters last year. I posted in the Forums here somewhere that this series is very instructor-dependent, that is, I don't think an independent learner could benefit from it. The DVDs (videos and audios, the whole enchilada) were free to everyone on their website last year until the entire package came out on the market in summer 2011 but even then, the whole series is very very instructor driven.

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Thanks for pointing out what I neglected to include in my email, that I had registered onto the web site, as per instructed and that I was aware of the very visible 10 digit access code on the title page of the book. I guess what irks me the most is that I did not receive with my purchase the dvd that was advertised, and that I must be tethered to www.encounterschinese. com whenever I want to use the audio/media material.

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I guess you're not able to return the materials and get a refund? Because I think that you might like other series on the market that aren't so dependent on a website's audio and media and are friendly to independent learners.

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Is it really that ridiculous? I've not checked this case, but suppliers have a tendency to provide incorrect information or info that maybe technically correct but suggest that things are different than they really are. I see nothing wrong with making such behaviour public. It may help prevent that other people fall in the same trap and may result in companies being more honest in the info they provide as they don't like the negative attention.

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I've not checked this case

Check it then :)

Seriously, the letters 'DVD' don't even appear on the B&N page for the book. I can just about see how someone might get overenthusiastic and think they're getting a DVD, but even then . . .

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I had a look and indeed there's no reason to expect a DVD from the B&N website, but audio and video material might be expected. B&N clearly states without any reference to other related products:

The Encounters program includes:

• Two Full-color Student Books for introductory Chinese study

• Annotated Instructor’s Editions with answer keys and suggested class activities

• Two Character Writing Workbooks linked directly to the Student Book

• Ten hours of video materials, comprising dramatic episodes, cultural segments, and animations, all integrated with the Student Books

• A total of 200 minutes of audio material, linked to the Student Books, for listening and speaking practice

• A website, www.encounterschinese.com, providing a year’s free access to all audiovisual material of the program upon adoption

This combined with the fact that the dvd pack is mentioned on the encounters website and 10 hours of video is mentioned separate from the website I can see where the confusion comes from.

OP might have been a bit more critical the sources combined don't warrant that the DVD pack is included. However B&N might have been a bit more clear that what is bought is not the entire 'encounters program' mentioned. I at least suspect that the packages did not contain Two Full-color Student Books, Two Character Writing Workbooks and an Annotated Instructor’s Edition. Describing the entire product line without any clear description of what is purchased isn't the best way to manage expectations.

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