Independent Learning: German

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Academic Administrative Team at DCS: Sarah Korpi, David Werther: il@dcs.wisc.edu

Student Services: 1-877-895-3276

Tech Support: 1-877-724-7883

Online Writing Lab: owl.wisconsin.edu

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German Courses

Willkommen! Our distance learning courses in German offer you the flexibility and convenience of learning a language at “your pace, your place” from experienced, highly qualified, and caring instructors.

Whether you are looking for a first semester course or German for Reading Knowledge, our distance education courses can fulfill your needs. Classes are available online.


First Year Courses:

First Semester German (Online, 4 Credits)

Eine neue Sprache ist ein neues Leben.

A new language is a new life.

Learn to read simple German texts, hear and understand spoken German, and communicate in everyday living situations.

Designed for beginning students who have had no previous instruction in German and for those interested in a refresher course. Begins with a lesson on German pronunciation and continues with developing skills in reading, writing, listening, speaking and cultural competency. Topics include grammar (present, past and future tenses; nominative, accusative, and dative cases), vocabulary building, and Germanic culture (food and shopping, free-time and sports).  Includes three Skype interviews with the course instructor.

Uses e-book and online materials, making the course more affordable than traditional courses with print textbooks. Students who go on to take Second Semester German will not need any additional course materials.

Second Semester German (Online, 4 Credits)

Übung macht den Meister.

Practice is what makes the master.

Learn the basic survival skills necessary for communicating in any German-speaking country.

Continues the development of German pronunciation, speech, reading, writing, listening, and vocabulary, grammar (topics include: genitive case, present subjunctive, relative clauses and passive voice), and understanding of Germanic cultural traditions (topics include: employment, immigration and family life) begun in First Semester German. Includes three Skype interviews with the course instructor.

Uses e-book and online materials, making the course more affordable than traditional courses with print textbooks.

German for Reading Knowledge (Online, 3 Credits)

Das Land der Dichter und Denker

[Germany] the land of poets and thinkers.

Prepare for the German reading knowledge PhD requirement—without previous instruction in German.

Gain the ability to read any advanced German text with only the aid of a good dictionary. Get detailed, expert feedback from your instructor on translation assignments, proceeding from very basic grammar to the complex sentence structures characteristic of journalistic, technical, and scholarly writing.

Preview the entire course now at the free, open textbook, which includes online drills and visualization games.  https://courses.dcs.wisc.edu/wp/readinggerman/

Learn key skills: taking advantage of similarities between English and German, expert dictionary use, using easy grammar cues to save time, which grammar rules are the most important to memorize for reading purposes, and how to use step-by-step techniques to untangle even the most complex sentences.

Grateful graduate students write:

I took this course to help me pass entrance exams for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Prior to finding this course, I had been greatly concerned as to how I would pass this portion of the exam. I have access to German language courses, but they would not be helpful in passing this specific exam, which entails having two hours to translate a scholarly article with the use of a dictionary. This course was perfect and helped me achieve my goals. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to take this course, and would recommend it very highly to my colleagues looking to pass the language requirement for doctoral candidates.

This course and its online format worked perfectly for me! I am a PhD student at another university, and I needed reading knowledge of German for my program’s requirements, but there weren’t many viable options for me as a parent. This program allowed me to learn the language, satisfy my requirement, and care for my child over the summer. Sarah Korpi was extraordinarily helpful and provided very thorough feedback, so that I didn’t feel that I was going it alone. I will definitely recommend this program to colleagues in similar situations to my own.


Second Year Courses (currently closed, if interested, contact us):

Third Semester German (Online, 4 Credits)

Anfangen ist leicht, beharren eine Kunst.

To begin is easy, to persist is art.

Bases course objectives—written and oral proficiencies—on The American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale.

Provides a thorough grammar review of first year German, a variety of readings grouped around relevant cultural and literary topics (travel to Berlin, music, poetry, the family et al.) and the opportunity to advance German communication skills (perfect and past perfect tenses, nominative, accusative, and dative cases, et al.); uses Skype for three interviews with the course instructor.

Fourth Semester German (Online, 4 Credits)

Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kent, wei   nichts von seiner eigen.”

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Bases course objectives—written and oral proficiencies—on The American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale, and completes the foundational course sequence in German.

Continues and thorough grammar review of first year German and aims to enhance reading skills and increase vocabulary (topics include: immigration, integration and diversity in Germany; generational conflict; environmental issues) and practice writing and self-expression in German (grammar includes: uses of the subjunctive mood; reflexive pronouns and verbs; indirect commands); uses Skype for three interviews with the course instructor


German Team

Sarah Korpi

Alan Ng


Choose the right course: With a language, it is sometimes a challenge to determine which course is right for you. Please contact Sarah Korpi or David Werther for help in selecting your course. In some cases, we will ask you for a writing sample for correct placement.