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German studies 2: language and culture of the German-speaking world

This module takes you to an upper intermediate level of competence in German, which is equivalent to level B2 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference. You’ll further develop your cultural knowledge, and practical language skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing and interacting in a variety of situations – ranging from everyday conversation to putting forward your point of view in a debate. You’ll also consolidate and further develop academic, digital and employability skills in German-speaking contexts. A residential school takes place in Germany.

What you will study

This module further extends your language competence as well as enhancing your cultural knowledge and developing key skills necessary for studying at a higher level. The themes of the module cover different aspects of life in German-speaking countries today.

You’ll work with online materials, and study a variety of texts, and audio and video materials that will develop your reading, speaking, listening and writing skills. The activities provided will also develop your academic, digital, professional and intercultural skills in German-speaking contexts.

The module has six themes:

  • Work and education
  • Environment
  • Media and popular culture
  • History
  • Individuals and institutions
  • Social issues

Through each theme, you’ll gradually develop your knowledge and skills by:

  • consolidating and expanding your knowledge of German vocabulary and grammar
  • learning about and reflecting on language, culture and intercultural communication skills
  • studying with audio recordings and videos that explore topical issues in German-speaking cultures and societies
  • engaging in a wide variety of speaking and interactive activities
  • practising translation to support your language learning
  • consolidating and expanding your academic skills
  • using digital tools and resources to support your language learning
  • finding and using information from external sources
  • working independently and in collaboration with others
  • reviewing your personal goals and monitoring your progress using checklists and reflective questions.

The study materials provide confidence-building strategies to improve your learning skills. We’ve carefully structured these to equip you gradually with the key skills necessary for studying at a higher level.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.

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

  • German studies 1 (intermediate) (L113)
  • Auftakt: intermediate German (L130) – now discontinued
  • German knowledge equivalent to the above

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:

  • listening to German radio broadcasts and podcasts
  • accessing authentic resources online
  • checking out the language materials available in iTunes U
  • borrowing German books and films from the local library
  • reading a German newspaper
  • redoing some of the activities in L113 (or L130)
  • watching and listening to the L113 (or L130) audio and video materials.

You can also visit OpenLearn to explore the free materials available for German.

What's included

  • A dedicated website with online learning activities
  • A printed grammar-book
  • Access to online forums where you can communicate with fellow students and tutors
  • Access to the Open University online library that contains resources for German

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 join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll 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. Depending on where you live, the mix will vary. In some places, we may replace face-to-face tuition with more online sessions or telephone conferencing. How and where we hold tutorials will depend on the distribution of students taking the module in your area. Although you’re not obliged to attend any of these, we strongly encourage you to take part, as they will provide you with plenty of opportunities to speak and listen to German.

Assessment

You can find the assessment details for this module in the facts box.

The TMAs test your writing and speaking skills. The EMA tests your writing skills.

Residential school

A compulsory residential school takes place in Germany.

The one-week residential school runs in February/March and 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. On most days, the programme runs from approximately 09:00 until 19:00, with breaks between activities.

If you can’t 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 that 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.

To pass the module, you must take part in either the residential school or the ALE.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying L223 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

German studies 2: language and culture of the German-speaking world (L223) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2027.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
Embedded residential school