Degrees and courses for international students
You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.

Variationen: advanced German

Qualification dates
Start End

This module follows on from an OU Level 2 German module. It continues to develop your knowledge and understanding of the society and culture of contemporary Germany and German-speaking countries, and to extend the practical skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The study resources include online authentic audio and video, comprising interviews, documentaries and reportages, and illustrated printed materials. You will also develop your academic writing, critical and analytical skills, and intercultural competence. The module has six themes that give both broad and focused coverage of different aspects of historical and contemporary Germany and German-speaking countries.

What you will study

Most of the materials for this module are delivered online via the module website, and you will spend a considerable amount of time carrying out interactive online activities.

Each of the six themes studied covers different aspects of German speaking cultures today. You will be working with authentic print-based materials as well as audio and video features on the module website. The materials include a set film, Nirgendwo in Afrika (Caroline Link, 2001). A range of online activities gives you the opportunity to access further authentic materials and develop your ICT and communication skills.

The themes in detail are:

  • Landschaft und politische Strukturen: German-speaking regions, including looking in detail at the city of Wilhelmshaven in the north east of Germany; the notion of ’Heimat‘; issues that arise from differences in local, regional and national governance.
  • Geschichte: key periods of German and Austrian history such as the revolutionary movements in 1848 and 1968, and the 1953 uprising in East Germany; the beginnings of the two post-war German states in 1949, Austria in 1955, and re-unified Germany in 1990; life during the Nazi period in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, immediately after World War II; and the period of Red Army Faction terrorist activity in West Germany.
  • Sprache im Kontext: the evolution of modern German since the eighth century; the roles of dialects; issues relating to language such as identity, humour; language and communication in relation to minority and migrant communities.
  • Migration: emigration from Germany during the nineteenth century and during Nazi rule in the twentieth century; history of immigration in post-war Germany; issues relating to asylum, dual citizenship; living in a multi-cultured society, including an audio feature on the city of Aachen in the west of Germany bordering on Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • Literatur und Film: German-speaking literature since 1945; analysis of a short story by Ingo Schulze; history of German-speaking film during the twentieth century; analysis of Caroline Link’s film Nowhere in Africa.
  • Innovationen: aspects of the history of research and scientific discoveries in German-speaking countries in the nineteenth and twentieth century; famous scientists and scholars; German speaking inventions and inventors.

The module uses a wide range of mixed media that has been selected to increase your knowledge of the themes and develop your confidence in the four language skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking). You will also progressively develop your analytical skills leading up to a small scale project at the end of the module. The structure of the material allows you to evaluate your progress regularly and provide strategies to improve your language and general 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 C1 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.

Entry requirements

This is an OU Level 3 module for students who have successfully completed an OU Level 2 German module or who have an equivalent knowledge of German.

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 your OU Level 2 module; watching and listening to the audio and video materials from your OU Level 2 German module; reading a German newspaper; listening to German speaking radio or television broadcasts; accessing authentic resources such as online editions of newspapers and magazines, internet radio and television; or borrowing German books and films from the local library. Anything you can do to keep practising your German will help you to prepare yourself for the start of the module.

What's included

You'll have access to printed books and a module website, which is the focal point of your study, and includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assessment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access
  • and access to forums where you can communicate with your tutor and fellow students.

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 an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

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.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Collins German Dictionary (9th edn) Collins £40.00 - ISBN 9780008241339
  • Whittle, R. et al. Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide (3rd edn) Routledge £38.99 - 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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll have a tutor to help you with the study material who will 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. Some tutorials are offered online only, and others are offered face-to-face and online. Please note that student numbers on the module, and where tutors are based, will affect the locations of where face-to-face tutorials are held. We cannot guarantee that these will be hosted in specific locations, or locations that have been used previously. While you’re not obliged to attend tutorials, you are strongly encouraged to take part as they will provide you with the opportunity to speak and listen to German and meet other students and tutors, whether online or face-to-face. Note that you can attend as many tutorials as you like, offered by any of the tutors.

The online tutorials will give you practice in using the conferencing tool used for the end-of-module speaking test.

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). Please note that the written part of the end-of-module assessment (EMA) must also be submitted online and the EMA also includes a speaking test which is carried out online.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying L313 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

Variationen: advanced German starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2021, the last time it will be available for study.

It will be replaced with a new module, German studies 3: language and culture of the German-speaking world (L333), beginning in October 2022.

Course work includes:

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Student Reviews

See what other students thought.