Multi-Media German Language
Project Receives $495,870 Grant
Posted September 26, 2001
HOLLAND -- A cooperative effort to produce a
"next-generation" multi-media course for beginning students
in German has received major support from the Fund for
Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S.
Department of Education.
The project, "Auf Geht's!," is a collaborative
effort to develop computer-based, multi-media teaching
materials for first-year German courses at the college
level. The FIPSE grant provides "Auf Geht's!" with a total
of $495,870 across the next three years.
"Our goal is to produce a 'next generation' course
that is based equally on print and multi-media/Internet,"
said Dr. Lee Forester, who is an associate professor of
German and is project director and head of instructional
design for "Auf Geht's!" "There is no textbook, though
there are workbooks and a reference book."
The primary innovation, according to Forester,
will be in how students study outside of class. The four
CD-ROMs that will come with "Auf Geht's!" will make seeing
and hearing not only central but crucial components in
students' at-home studies.
Through the multi-media approach, "Auf Geht's!" is
being designed to provide an immersion into German life and
culture. Audio clips, for example, will feature Germans
engaged in unscripted, everyday conversation, offering
learning experiences simply not possible through the written
In the same way, students will see Germany through
images shot on location. "We're planning on over 4,000
photos shot all in Germany by a professional photographer
specifically for this package," Forester said.
Forester is hoping that "Auf Geht's!" will help
students see acquiring the language not as an end, but as a
means to deeper understanding. "Grammar will play a
secondary role and be studied not for its own sake, but to
understand and produce German," he said.
"My goal for them is for them to learn the
language, and then when they go to Germany to feel like
they've been there," Forester said. "That to me would be a
mark of success."
The project started in 1998 and previously
received $50,000 in support through the Foundation for
Independent Higher Education's "Ameritech Distance
Collaboration Grants" Program. Work on the package will
proceed during the next two years, with testing beginning
next year and continuing through the third year of the
latest grant. The federal funding through the FIPSE grant
is underwriting approximately 60 percent of the total
In addition to Forester, those involved include
Dr. Penny Dykstra-Pruim, a research associate at Calvin
College; Dr. Anne Green, a senior lecturer in German at
Carnegie Mellon University; and David Antoniuk, president of
Live Oak Multimedia of Orinda, Calif.
Dykstra-Pruim is responsible for writing the
package's two workbooks and designing additional classroom
materials. Green is preparing the "how to" reference book,
which will provide technical details in using the language,
such as how to structure a letter or essay, and "how to"
software materials. Antoniuk, whose company is contributing
in-kind assistance to the project, is doing the photography,
programming and artistic design; his company will also
distribute the package once it's finished.