The other day I stumbled on an interesting new language course called Fluenz. At the moment it’s only available for Mandarin Chinese, but a Spanish version is planned.
The course comes on a DVD-ROM and consists about 110 hours of interactive and video instruction. An American instructor, who studied Mandarin in China, explains everything in English on the videos. There are many different exercises, a glossary, and online live support is available.
The emphasis is on teaching you to communicate in Mandarin, so everyday, immediately useful language is used, and words are all written in pinyin romanization. Also included is an audio CD containing audio exercises that compliment the DVD lessons, and a booklet with all the phrases used in English, pinyin and Chinese characters.
A free demo of the course (quite a large file) is available for download on the Fluenz website