Can I learn German in a structured, online course?
January 27, 2008 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Where can I learn German online through an actual school/university?

For years now, I've been half-assedly trying to learn German. I took it in college, but when I graduated, I took a year and a half off. I have since worked with a tutor, taken a class at the Goethe Institut, tried Rosetta Stone, and have tried teach-yourself-German podcasts, but I think that to really get myself to do the work necessary to learn the language, I need something structured along the lines of a school course. The Goethe Institut class was the closest I've come, but I found the variety of skill levels of other students and having to spend three hours in class after working 8:30-5:30 to be an impediment.

At one point, several years ago, I had considered signing up for an online course at a local community college. It was one of those deals where you buy the textbook and then post on a bulletin board. Now the school no longer offers the course and although I can find a lot of online courses, none of the schools I've seen (Harvard Extension, UC Berkeley Extension, among others) offer German.

Does anyone know of any schools/programs/universities/anything that offer online language courses?
posted by lxs to Education (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I realized you said you'd need a structured course, but is an online course substantially different than a well-paced book? College textbooks are pricey and, in my experience, mediocre. The German publishing house Hueber has a wide selection of excellent and fairly-priced Deutsch als Fremdsprache material. If I were you, I'd get a good grammer and some vocabulary builders, and commit to doing a certain number of pages each week.
posted by limon at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2008

Let me know when you find out. I'm curious myself.

I lived in Germany for 3 years during my teens. I plan on taking German this fall at college, but I'm always looking for ways to get the dust off that part of my brain.
posted by Chocomog at 5:08 PM on January 27, 2008

Here. A real university and you needn't be in the UK.
posted by fire&wings at 5:18 PM on January 27, 2008

Not knowing what your work/school situation is at the moment, is there any chance you could do a study or work abroad program? If your company or school has an office/campus in a German-speaking country, that would be your best bet -- most companies will shell out for additional language classes while you're overseas, and the immersion will really help.

I found when living in Salzburg and Munich at various times that my skills really went up a notch, much more so than while I was at home in the States as a German *major*!
posted by at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2008

I'm looking for one for Danish as well! Let us know if you find anything useful.
posted by divabat at 10:54 PM on January 27, 2008

Speaking as someone currently living in Germany after taking various classes, the thing I'd be most worried about is lack of practice speaking. At the very least, I'd ask around at your local universities, the Goethe Institut, or your local foreign language bookshop to see if there are any German conversation groups or partners. You definitely want speaking practice (or even practice doing extemporaneous writing) to supplement the study of grammar. Really, though, an actual class - perhaps one at a local community college, rather than the intense, expensive, and time-consuming Goethe Institut classes - would almost certainly help you more than an online class. Having something structured is definitely key, but with an actual class (as opposed to a textbook/bulletin board situation), you're apt to make much better progress.

(And if you get a chance to go to a German-speaking country, take it! You get so much better so quickly when you're immersed in the language. It's incredible.)

Viel Gl├╝ck!
posted by ubersturm at 4:34 AM on January 28, 2008

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