|The overall objective of this textbook is to guide a learner who has no previous German experience, but advanced English language skills, to gain the ability to accurately understand formal written German prose, aided only by a comprehensive dictionary. Specific objectives include:|
* Explain enough grammatical and syntactical information about the German language to enable you to read any desired text with the aid of a dictionary.
* Explain elements of word formation to accelerate the process of learning vocabulary.
* Lead the reader through practice in small-scale translation as the necessary foundation for dealing with more complex readings.
The origin of this textbook was to support the University of Wisconsin's Independent Learning course German 391, "German for Reading Knowledge," which is a self-paced, one-to-one instructional program. Originally created by Howard Martin as a printed textbook in the 1990s, Alan Ng edited and adapted it for OER publication in 2014. The textbook is still used currently in German 391. Motivations to prepare our own textbook included reducing the administrative overhead associated with managing commercial textbook revisions in the context of an independent learning course open 365 days a year, with no time available where active students are not currently engaged with the textbook.
Reasons to move from print to an OER format included:
- Cost reduction for students.
- Cost reduction for the university.
- "Content marketing" power of the textbook to draw in prospective students for German 391.
- Ease of use for 391 students relative to a mix of print and online resources referring to each other.
- Elimination of shipping delay for students to begin work immediately in the course after registration.
- Improved content quality coming from the author's ability to revise the content constantly.
- Improved content quality coming from exposing the content to global readers who voluntarily submit improvement suggestions.
- Improved instructor feedback to student assignments from the ability to directly deep-link to particular texbook sections from within instructor comments.
- Commitment to the Wisconsin Idea, extending the benefits of the University to the world at large
Results of a longitudinal survey extending from 2014 to 2018 among students in German 391 demonstrated that students rated the OER version of the textbook significantly higher than they did the print version of the same textbook, both in terms of whether they perceived that the textbook "helped them learn" and whether they perceived that the texbook was "about the same as" or "better than other textbooks."