Computer-assisted language learning (CALL): First-Year German Grammar

Description of the CALL exercises

The exercises are delivered on the World Wide Web using QMWeb software.

The exercises tie in exactly with your weekly grammar classes. Thus Grammar1 and Grammar2 deal with nouns, Grammar3 with case, etc. Many of the questions resemble those in Practising German Grammar, but certain exercises work better in one or other medium, so that you will find a number of differences as well.

There is no time limit on the exercises, but you should reckon to spend about 30-40 minutes on each.

The CALL exercises and your learning

In all the CALL exercises, you get the benefit of feedback: and at the end of each exercise you will be told whether you have got a question right or wrong, and if the latter, what the correct answer is. You also get a score for your performance. This makes the CALL exercises a useful tool for self-diagnosis. You can also come back to them, at shorter or longer intervals, to see how well you have remembered what you need to know.

The exercises themselves will not teach you the grammar: this is what the grammar classes and the relevant textbooks are for. What they do enable you to do is to test yourself whether you have learned the grammar. A conceivable cycle of work would thus be to follow each grammar class with study of the relevant point in German Grammar and Usage (or other textbook you may be using). Once you think you have understood the point, test yourself both with Practising German Grammar and the CALL exercises. Note down which types of question you find difficult or score poorly on, and go back to your grammar textbook to see whether you can improve your grasp of the relevant topic. Test yourself again; and then again at an interval of a fortnight or so, to see whether the point has stuck. Just before the examination, you can run through the exercises again en bloc. You should be aiming for scores of 90% and upward: grammar is there to be got right!

Availability and use

The exercises can be accessed from any terminal around the University, in the colleges or at home that has an internet connection and a web browser (which is to say from most terminals).

You can use any web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.). The CALL page is on the Modern Languages Weblearn site (https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/portal/hierarchy/humdiv/modlang). Click on “German Prelims”, and the on “German Computer Aided Language Learning (CALL) Exercises”. This will take you to the page listing the CALL exercises.

You can also go directly to the CALL page from any other web page by typing in this URL in the “Location” box on the browser screen: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~spet0201/call/index.html.

To get feedback once you have completed a test, you will need to type in your last name and a password. You will be given the password in the induction session.

There is also a non-Web version of exercises Grammar 1-6 in the Language Centre, where they are mounted on the self-access terminals (and where you will also find a number of other CALL packages). No password is needed here. In both forms, the user interface will be easy to use, requiring little more than the basic skill of using a keyboard and mouse. Where more is required (e.g. to get German characters on screen), instruction is given on the screen.

When you run the exercises, make sure that you exit from them using the on-screen prompts. Never simply switch off the power to a machine!

Feedback

Bugs and mistakes do sometimes creep into programs and exercises. If you think you have answered a question correctly and the program marks it wrong, please let me know, preferably by e-mail at: kevin.hilliard@spc.ox.ac.uk, or by messenger at St. Peter’s College.

Other useful web pages

http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/: the German page in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Literatures.

http://www.lang.ox.ac.uk/: the Language Centre page, with a large number of further links.

 

 

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How to get German characters (if needed):

 

1. Check that ‘NumLock’ is on (see the indicator at the top right hand of the keyboard). If necessary, switch ‘NumLock’ on by pressing the relevant key on the number keypad at the right of the keyboard.

 

2. Hold down the Alt-key (to the left of the spacebar) and type the appropriate combinations on the number keypad (i.e. the numbers at the far right of the keyboard, not the numbers along the top row of the main keypad).

 

ä = 132  ö = 148  ü = 129  ß = 225  Ä = 142  Ö = 153  Ü = 154