14. May 2018
Learning German as a foreign language for one’s daily interactions is one thing. Learning German for specialist purposes such as university study is quite another. What methods are available? How can social media and video tutorials be used in the process? Ruhr West professor Mike Altieri and Meni Syrou of TU Dortmund have created interactive video tutorials to help prepare and assist international students by combining specialist German language training and academic support. And successfully so: Their project ‘Lernvideo 2.0 MINTernational’ is among the winners of the MINTernational innovativ contest, a competition among German universities towards more internationalisation.
Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences and TU Dortmund are among the winners of the MINTernational innovativ contest, a national-level grant programme to promote internationalisation efforts at universities, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM, in German: MINT). For their joint project, the winners initially receive €50,000 to implement their ideas for more internationalisation in the STEM subjects. Overall, a total of €700,000 in funding is made available by the programme sponsors: Daimler Fonds, the Daimler and Benz Foundation, and Stifterverband.
The project is headed by Dr Mike Altieri, a professor of applied mathematics and mathematics education at Ruhr West, and Dr Meni Syrou, head of foreign language programmes at TU Dortmund. Their project shows how new methods can be used to recruit international talent and teach intercultural competencies. According to Altieri, ‘Lernvideo 2.0 MINTernational is a digital service to help prepare non-native speakers of German for university study in science, technology, engineering or mathematics by combining foreign language and academic support’.
The specialist German language training embedded in the video tutorials gives international students the opportunity to systematically expand and deepen their German skills in an authentic setting. Whether it is reading or listening comprehension, grammar skills or vocabulary building – the videos offer plenty of opportunity for students to enhance their command of specialist German in an individualised format.
In the first stage, the target group includes refugees, international first-year students and exchange programme participants attending – or planning to attend – lectures in mathematics at a German higher education institution. In the second stage, the target group will be expanded to include German STEM students on exchange programmes in Spain and participants in English-language STEM programmes at German universities. Lernvideo 2.0 MINTernational thus targets an audience of some 100,000 leaners annually. Its rollout is supported by local partners in Germany and Spain.