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Motive: upper intermediate German

This module builds on 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-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code
Study level
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

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015. We then expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Embedded residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


This is a OU level 2 module for students who have successfully completed Auftakt: intermediate German (L130) or who have an equivalent knowledge of German. 

If you have not studied a language with The Open University before or you have any doubt about the standard of your German, you are advised to go to our Language diagnostics website to see some sample materials.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

If you have time before the module begins, we suggest that you continue to use your German in any way you can. You could do this by redoing some of the activities in Auftakt: intermediate German (L130); watching and listening to the L130 video and audio materials; listening to German radio broadcasts; accessing authentic resources online; borrowing German books and films from the local library; or reading a German newspaper. Anything you can do to keep practising your German will be helpful. 

If you are new to The Open University, it would be useful to look at some of the L130 materials and work through them. Materials are either available to buy from The Open University Worldwide website or for viewing at your regional or national centre.


Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £2700.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

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 you register.

Residential schools

You will be responsible for the cost of travel to the venue and an additional charge (£260 in 2015/16) to cover the cost of accommodation and meals. This charge is payable after registration as part of your residential school booking. If specific reasons prevent you from attending, you can apply to study the online alternative learning experience. Please note that admittance to the online alternative is by application only. If you are accepted to the online alternative there is no additional charge.

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.

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

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. 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 qualification 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 modules.  

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 that is 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 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 03/08/2015.

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.

Please also check the Computing requirements and Assessment sections.

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

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Collins German Dictionary Collins £40.00 - ISBN 9780007510832
  • Whittle, R., et al. Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide (3rd edn) Routledge £29.99 - ISBN 9780415567268

If you have a disability

Please note that this module makes substantial use of audio and visual materials. Full transcripts of almost all the audio and video materials are provided. The study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Comb-bound versions of the written study materials, including the residential schools materials, can be provided on request.

You are advised to contact us to discuss your individual requirements before you register. After you have registered you will receive detailed information about the residential school site and the facilities available to help with the academic programme. 

You need to make extensive use of a personal computer throughout the module and will need to access the module website on a regular basis. You will also be offered tutorials, some of which will take place via an online conferencing system. 

There is a dedicated member of staff to support disabled students during the week in Germany. Some classrooms at the university have better accessibility than others but the needs of students with limited mobility are taken into account as much as possible when allocating rooms.

You will participate in some off-site activities, for example an excursion to Weimar. A taxi and assistance with access can be arranged for students with mobility difficulties.

 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 services for disabled students.