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Motive: upper intermediate German

This module builds on German studies 1 (L113), its predecessor Auftakt: intermediate German (L130) or equivalent knowledge. It will enhance your cultural knowledge and develop the skills needed to study at a higher level as well as your practical language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. By studying a variety of authentic audio, video and printed materials from German-speaking countries, you will learn how to communicate in situations ranging from everyday conversation to putting forward your point of view in a debate. You will also improve your command of grammar and vocabulary. A compulsory residential school takes place in Germany (or you can study an online alternative, subject to University approval).

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.

2 9 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
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Entry requirements
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What you will study

This module draws on a wide range of interactive audio-visual, web-based and printed material from German-speaking countries. The module is structured around themes, each covering a different aspect of life in German-speaking countries today. You will be working with print-based materials as well as practising listening and speaking with video footage and audio interviews from Berlin, Wuppertal, Jena, Zurich and Vienna. The materials also include a set film, ‘Good Bye, Lenin!’. A range of online activities gives you further access to authentic materials from German-speaking countries and fosters your ICT and communication skills.

The themes in detail are:

1. Lebenswelten: attitudes and views of different generations and their role in German-speaking societies; changing demographic and social patterns; issues that are relevant to people’s lives now and in the future.

2. Welt der Arbeit: jobs and training; the role of work in people’s lives; the changing world of work; different types of industry, including a closer look at the tourist industry in Switzerland; intercultural and business communication.

3. Medien: the role and use of the media in German-speaking countries, covering the press, TV, radio and internet; exploration of the impact on traditional media of increasing use of the internet; and consideration of issues surrounding media freedom such as the misrepresentation of information about people and events in the media.

4. Kunst und Kritik: the arts and their role in people's lives; emerging visual art forms in Germany; new German cinema and architecture; describing, discussing and reviewing works of art.

5. Weltanschauungen: issues of faith and personal beliefs; quests and pilgrimage today; what is happiness; and ethical and moral questions and debates.

6. Erlebte Geschichte gemeinsame Zukunft: the recent history of German-speaking countries (with a particular focus on Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall); language and identity; the future of Germany, Austria and Switzerland and their role in an expanded European Union.

The module is varied, with a wide range of mixed-media material that has been selected in order to build up your confidence in the different language skills. The structure of the materials allows you to evaluate your progress regularly and provides confidence-building strategies to improve your learning skills. The materials are interactive and encourage your participation.

This module is designed to enable you to achieve a level of language proficiency equivalent to level B2 of the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Professional recognition

The Chartered Institute of Marketing now recognises this module under their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You have a tutor to help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written and spoken tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). You can also ask your tutor for advice and guidance. This module usually includes a mix of face-to-face and online tutorials. Please note that depending on where you live, the mix will vary and in some places face-to-face tuition may be replaced by telephone conferencing. Although you are not obliged to attend any of these, you are strongly encouraged to take part as they will provide you with plenty of opportunities to speak and listen to German. How tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module in your area.  

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

The TMAs test a range of skills, including writing and speaking. There is a Writing Test at the end of the module, which takes the form of a three-hour examination at a standard examination centre. You may have to travel some distance to the examination centre.

Residential school

A compulsory residential school takes place in Germany (or you can study an online alternative). 

The one-week residential school provides excellent opportunities to enhance and develop the skills covered in the module, to practise your German in a variety of situations and learn more about the country. The residential school programme runs from approximately 09:00 until 21:00 most days but it allows for breaks and has flexible evening activities.

Online alternative

If you cannot attend the school for reasons beyond your control, an alternative learning experience (ALE), which runs in April, must be completed. This is provided online using a computer conferencing system which allows you to speak with your tutor and fellow students in real time. However, the residential school in Germany offers a wider range of learning opportunities than the ALE.

In order to successfully complete the module you have to participate satisfactorily in either the residential school or the ALE.

Future availability

Motive: upper intermediate German (L203) starts once a year – October 2018 is the last time we expect it to start.

We plan to replace Motive: upper intermediate German (L203) with a new module – German studies 2: language and culture of the German-speaking world (L223) – that will start for the first time in October 2019.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    Embedded residential school

    Entry requirements

    There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.

    However, as this is an OU level 2 module, you’ll need an appropriate knowledge of German obtained through any of the following:

    • German studies 1: language and culture of the German-speaking world (L116)
    • Auftakt: intermediate German (L130) – now discontinued
    • equivalent German knowledge

    If you’re not sure you’re ready, talk to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    Anything you can do to keep practising your German will be helpful, for example:

    • redoing some of the activities in L113 (or L130)
    • watching and listening to the L113 (or L130) audio and video materials
    • listening to German radio broadcasts
    • accessing authentic resources online
    • borrowing German books and films from the local library


    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £2928.00

    Registration closes 13/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    October 2018 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Residential schools

    This module includes a compulsory residential school for which you must pay an additional charge of £285 (2018/19) to cover the cost of accommodation and meals. You’ll pay this charge when you book the residential school, after you’ve enrolled on the module. You’ll also have to pay for your own travel to and from the venue. If you’re unable to attend a residential school, there will be an online alternative you must apply for (if accepted, the additional charge doesn’t apply).

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.

    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 22/07/2018.

    What's included

    Books, a set film on DVD and a dedicated website with access to a range of electronic tools, including real-time conferencing and asynchronous tools such as forums. 

    You will need

    You need a headset with a microphone and earphones to take part in online tutorials, record spoken TMAs and complete speaking activities.

    Your Motive module books refer to the following books Collins German Dictionary and Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide; however, you could use any other dictionaries or German grammar.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Collins German Dictionary (8th edn) Collins £40.00 - ISBN 9780007510832 The 9th edition of this book, ISBN 9780008241339, is due to publish in August 2018. Students may also use this edition.
    • Whittle, R., et al. Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide (3rd edn) Routledge £34.99 - ISBN 9780415567268

    Note: These books are recommended for the module, but students could use the previous editions of the books, or other suitable dictionaries or German grammar.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying L203 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition.