Actually… I’m getting a bit of déjà vu. I’m pretty sure this feature was discussed back in 2007 when I was setting up my own study plan. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any details of the discussion. But, here’s how I’d like to see it work:
You can bookmark lessons, and they get put into a cue. You can completely ignore the calendar feature, and just work your way down your cue. That’s essentially how I do things using “My Self-Study.”
Alternatively, you could hold down the “Bookmark” button and a calendar pops up where you can assign it to a day. It skips the cue, and goes straight onto your calendar.
If you bookmarked it without assigning a day, there’s a view where you can look at your calendar, and along the edge you’ve got your cue. You can drag and drop lessons to any day on the calendar.
In addition, the calendar has settings that allow you to opt into a “Spaced Repetition” scheme. There’s a button somewhere on the site that says something like “Today’s Review,” and first you re-do the Exercise tab, and then you can re-listen to the “Lesson Review” mp3. Or it could be as simple as just taking you to the lesson page, and then you review in whatever way you want. Actually, keeping it as simple as that would probably be best.
The personalized calendar could replace the “Latest Lessons” tab on the Dashboard.
The more I think about this, the more I think that perhaps ChinesePod’s greatest potential at the current moment is in refining and expanding website features that help students take advantage of the incredible wealth of what’s already on the site. I’m able to use ChinesePod well simply because I’ve already invested so much time here.
I’d also like there to be friendly happy help videos all over the site. They’re short and to the point and give you ideas on how to use ChinesePod. They also alert you to little quirks you need to be aware of. The possibilities are endless, but students definitely need more guidance.
From my understanding, the big obstacle is that the whole website is now quite old, with code on top of code on top of code. When a feature is added, other features break. A complete ground-up rebuild would likely be the best option.