I did not find this course to be very helpful to an absolute beginner. There is little vocabulary building, and too few practical phrases presented. I don't speak any Latvian and I am about to leave for Riga for a year. I don't expect to be able to master this language in one year's time, but I would like to be able to ease my way into the culture by being able to communicate in some basic everyday situations. For example I would like to be able to hail a taxi, order coffee, or buy grocieries.
This course attempts to instruct by having you be an outside observer to situations, rather than having you learn as a direct paricipant. Furthermore, the cassette tapes have poor sound quality which makes them a bit difficult to understand.
I did find this course somewhat useful for listening to basic pronounciation, inflection, and sentence structure. Since the number of available Latvian language courses is extremely limited, I would recommend using this course in conjunction with the Lonely Planet Baltic Phasebook to give you a more practical and useful experience.