Sunday, December 7, 2014

Preparation is everything for Studying in Germany

The better your preparation is, the more successful your time studying in Germany will be! Clarify the most important questions well in advance.

    Where and what do I want to study in Germany?
    What conditions do I have to fulfil in order to enroll at the University of my Choice?
    Do I need a visa?
    How do I find affordable accommodation in the German university town of my choice?
    How do I finance everything?

You will have to contact several authorities or organizations to answer all these questions. Your most important contact will definitely be the German university that you choose. But in the German university system there is a clear division of responsibilities; the universities advise international students on all questions to do with admission, enrolment and academic support and the Studentenwerke are responsible for the social aspects around studying. Among other things they provide inexpensive accommodation. The Studentenwerke also offer many other services for international students.

Studying in Germany

In Germany there are 240 state and around 100 private universities. Basically the different types are: universities and universities of technology as well as technical colleges, art, film and music colleges and universities of applied sciences. German universities are manifold and diverse. The roots of some colleges, especially the universities, go back to the Middle Ages; others were founded after the Second World War.
The range of study courses is widely diversified. Of a total of 14,500 around 8,700 are undergraduate courses which lead to a university qualification. The remaining 5,800 courses lead to a higher university degree. The classic German degrees Diploma (degree), Magister (master's) and Staatsexamen (state examination) are to be changed to the international qualifications of Bachelor and Master.
The universities in Germany are open to students from all countries. Currently in Germany there are about two million enrolled students, 250,000 of them are international students. With over 10 % international students Germany is the world's favorite place to study! 85 % of international students arrange their stay in Germany themselves, 15 % via an exchange or cooperation program. 

Prerequisites for studying
Besides a good knowledge of German in order to study in Germany you will need a qualification for university entrance, that is, a certificate which would permit you to study in your own country.

However, universities in Germany may also have other requirements. For example, for certain courses or at several universities there are additional requirements regarding grade point averages or language ability.

Please also take note that closing dates for applications differ. You should, therefore, get as much detailed information as possible on the admission requirements for the course of studies you have chosen. You will avoid disappointment later on!

Points of contact on such questions are mainly the academic international offices and the students' offices at the universities.

Entry: with our without a visa?

Students from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and from some other countries can enter Germany without a visa.
As a rule, all other international students need a visa - especially if they want to stay longer than three months in Germany.
Enquire in advance about the entry regulations which apply for your country! Once you arrive in Germany you must present your visa to the German Aliens Department where it will be converted to a residence permit for the purpose of studying.
Cheap accommodation relieves the strain on your student budget enormously. The rent, on average about 250 Euro per month, is the largest monthly expense for students. However, the amount of rent depends mainly on the type of accommodation and the place of study; especially in the New Lander (East Germany) the average rents are lower and a room in student accommodation is also cheaper than a room or a flat on the independent housing market.

In urban areas and the classic university towns there is very little cheap accommodation. Especially at the beginning of term it is often difficult to find cheap rooms and flats. Begin as soon as you can with your flat search!

Students on an exchange program often have it easier than the students who organize their studies in Germany themselves. This is because they are usually provided a room in student accommodation. Enquire at your university in Germany!

How do international students finance their studies?

The financing of studies is one of the most difficult and important subjects that international students have to deal with. As early on as when you apply for a visa and a residence permit you must prove that you have enough financial means to finance your studies in Germany. At the moment the German authorities require proof that you have 8,040 Euro for one year of studies. This proof of financing is meant to ensure that international students can finance their studies themselves since they do not normally qualify for state help in Germany.
Even if you provide evidence of financing your financial worries are not yet over. In Germany, a budget of around 8,000 Euro per year will only allow you to lead a very modest lifestyle!

International students often have to go to work in order to finance their cost of living, but the amount of work they are allowed to do is restricted! Unfortunately financial difficulties are part of many international students' lives.

How do German students finance their studies?
In order to understand the German system it is important to know how German students finance their studies. In Germany, parents have to pay for student education. The German Studentenwerk has published a study on the economic situation of students; on average students receive roughly half their money from their parents. A quarter of their budget they earn themselves. The state financial assistance for education makes up about one seventh of their budget. Only three percent of German students receive a grant. Major grant donors are foundations and organizations sponsoring talented students.

On average German students have over 812 Euro per month at their disposal, however a quarter of all students have to make do with less than 640 Euro per month.

Planning reliability: the Servicepaket of the Studentenwerke
If you do not know Germany very well, it is difficult to guess how much money you will really need here. That is why many Studentenwerke offer Servicepakete. These give first year students from abroad more planning reliability for their first year of studies. They can be arranged from your homeland and for a fixed price they contain accommodation, meals and health insurance. Some Servicepakete also contain leisure activities and help you to settle in to life in Germany.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

EMOOCs 2014: European MOOCs Stakeholders Summit > Proceedings > Research Track


> Understanding Persistence in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): Descriptive & Experimental Evidence 5
Rachel Baker, Brent Evans, Erica Greenberg and Thomas Dee
> Analysing student participation in Foreign Language MOOCs: a case study 11
Elena Bárcena, Timothy Read, Elena Martín-Monje & Mª Dolores Castrillo
> Signals of Success and Self-directed Learning 18
Penny Bentley, Helen Crump, Paige Cuffe, Iwona Gniadek, Briar Jamieson, Sheila MacNeill and Yishay Mor
> Analyzing completion rates in the First French xMOOC 26
Matthieu Cisel
> Challenges for conceptualising EU MOOC for vulnerable learner groups 33
de Waard, Michael Sean Gallagher, Ronda Zelezny-Green, Laura
Czerniewicz, Stephen Downes, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme and Julie Willems
> Scaffolding Self-learning in MOOCs 43
Israel Gutiérrez-Rojas, Carlos Alario-Hoyos, Mar Pérez-Sanagustín, Derick Leony, Carlos Delgado-Kloos
> Towards an Outcome-based Discovery and Filtering of MOOCs using moocrank 50
Israel Gutiérrez-Rojas, Derick Leony, Carlos Alario-Hoyos, Mar Pérez-Sanagustín and Carlos Delgado-Kloos
> Dropout Prediction in MOOCs using Learner Activity Features 58
Sherif Halawa, Daniel Greene and John Mitchell
> Self-Regulated Learning in MOOCs: Do Open Badges and Certificates of Attendance Motivate Learners to Invest More? 66
Simone Haug, Katrin Wodzicki, Ulrike Cress and Johannes Moskaliuk
> Extending the MOOCversity A Multi-layered and Diversified Lens for MOOC Research 73
Tanja Jadin and Martina Gaisch

> Encouraging Forum Participation in Online Courses with Collectivist, Individualist and Neutral Motivational
René F. Kizilcec, Emily Schneider, Geoffrey L. Cohen and Daniel A. McFarland
> MOOC Learning in Spontaneous Study Groups: Does Synchronously Watching Videos Make a Difference? 88
Nan Li, Himanshu Verma, Afroditi Skevi, Guillaume Zufferey and Pierre Dillenbourg
> Dropout: MOOC Participants’ Perspective 95
Tharindu Rekha Liyanagunawardena, Patrick Parslow and Shirley Ann Williams
> Reflections on Enrollment Numbers and Success Rates at the openHPI MOOC Platform 101
Christoph Meinel, Christian Willems, Jan Renz and Thomas Staubitz
> The SIRET Training Platform: Facing the Dropout Phenomenon of MOOC Environments 107
Sergio Miranda, Giuseppina Rita Mangione, Francesco Orciuoli, Vincenzo Loia and Saverio Salerno
> MOOCs in fragile contexts 114
Barbara Moser-Mercer
> Cultural Translation in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) 122
Bernard Nkuyubwatsi
> A typology and dimensions of a description framework for MOOCs 130
Marilyne Rosselle*, Pierre-André Caron**, Jean Heutte**
> Characterizing video use in the catalogue of MITx MOOCs 140
Daniel T. Seaton, Sergiy Nesterko, Tommy Mullaney, Justin Reich, Andrew Ho and Isaac Chuang
> How Students Learn using MOOCs: An Eye-tracking Insight 147
Kshitij Sharma, Patrick Jermann and Pierre Dillenbourg
> A Platform that Integrates Quizzes into Videos 155
Robin Woll1, Sven Buschbeck2, Tino Steffens1, Pascal Berrang1, Jörn Loviscach3
> Designing Video for Massive Open Online-Education: Conceptual Challenges from a Learner-Centered Perspective 160
Carmen Zahn, Karsten Krauskopf, Jonas Kiener and Friedrich W. Hesse

Reviewers of Research Track 168

Source and Links to Full Text Available At:


Alt-Ed: eLearning Papers Issue 37: Experiences and Best P...

Alt-Ed: eLearning Papers Issue 37: Experiences and Best P...: This special issue of the eLearning Papers is based on the contributions made to the EMOOCS 2014 conference jointly organized by the Éco...

The New “Talk.” When Your Teen Wants to Tweet

Editor's note: If you're an innovative educator in secondary school, you are likely to have parents ask for your expert advice on teens and social
media. You can give them this article directly or use it to get some
ideas about how to best approach the conversation.

If you are a parent of a teen, you already have a lot of experience
working with your child(ren) to help them figure out how to engage
safely and responsibly in the world.
You've thought about which (or if)
school is the best, which clubs they should join, which friends they
should hang out with, which groups they should be a part of, and when
and where they can go and hang out safely.

your child becomes a teen there will be some new places for you to
think about your child being a part of. That is because at 13 your child
legally old enough to join popular social media sites like Twitter,
Instagram, Facebook, and more.

good news is you are prepared to do this. You have experience in making
sure your child is engaging safely and responsibly in environments that
are beneficial. What you've done in the physical world is exactly what
you should do online.

the time comes, be prepared to "discuss" not "tell" your child how to
remain safe and responsible online. It is likely they already know what
to do if someone writes something that makes them, or someone they know,
feel uncomfortable.  F
example, you can block or report them to the space. Also discuss what
to do if they find someone is making someone else uncomfortable.

Here are some things to think about when, or ideally before, that day comes.

"Just say no" to "Just say no"

While banning certainly is the easy way out,
it is usually not what is best. Try to remember when you were a teen
and how you felt when something was forbidden. That thing suddenly
seemed very special. In some cases, it drove the activity underground
and made it secret. Or in some cases the teen does what they are told
just because you say so, but...

you want to help instill the ability for your child to make responsible
decisions independently and, if you want your child to make smart
decisions, rather than just do what they’re told, then banning is not
the answer.

If your child wanted to join a new club or play a new game you would never "just say no." Think of online worlds that way.

What would you do first?


would probably start by talking to your child respectfully, just like
you would if they wanted to go to a new school or join a new program.
You would want to know why they are interested in this school or
program. Maybe it’s to make new friends, learn new things, get better at
something they love to do, or maybe they think this might be the ticket
to making the world a better place. All of these reasons your child
wants to belong to physical spaces can apply to online spaces.


out who your child knows who is using this platform and ask your child
how they use it? Take note of news stories of people using this platform
in both successful and unsuccessful ways. Discuss with your child what
ways they envision using the space. Find out the types of people with
whom they hope to connect and interact.


is of utmost importance. By the time they're a teen, you've already had
conversations with your child about how to remain safe in physical
spaces. For example, if someone says something that makes them
uncomfortable they should leave the situation and find a trusted adult
to discuss what happened. If they live in New York City, they know, "If
you see something, say something" (to the proper authorities). You'll
have the same conversations when it comes to online spaces.

Give your children credit

it comes to using social media, don't be surprised with the amount of
common sense teens have today. They've grown up in a social world.
They've heard the stories, watched the media, and likely even watched
adults in their lives using it. 

If they don’t…

Know basic safety tips

Explain to them the importance of being an active upstander
rather than a passive bystander. Talk about ways you can verify
identity, just like you would do with face-to-face connections. For
example, before you would engage in ongoing conversation with someone,
you’d want to know a little more about them. How old are they? Where do
they work or go to school? What sort of conversations are they involved
in? Make sure your child know how to do this by doing things like
checking profiles across platforms, looking at posting history, doing a
Google search.

For more advice you can check out this parent guide to social media from the New York City Department of Education.

Do your research

Learn about some of the amazing ways people are using social media. For example, did you know that social media use can help improve your child's writing? Did you know that more and more students are using social media to build learning networks, for social good, or to understand and discuss important issues. You wouldn't want to get in the way of that.

if, however, your teen just wants to use social media to socialize and
stay abreast of their favorite teen idol. Well, that's not much
different then when you were a teen. There were teen magazines, posters
of their favs on the wall (True confession: for me it was Blackie from
Days of Our Lives). The bonus with this is they'll be reading and
writing more for real audiences. Research indicates that improves

in public, whether it's in the form of blogs or microblogs, like a
Twitter stream, is forcing us to be clearer, more convincing and
smarter. A big audience isn't required. Knowing your write for an
audience of just a few people will force you to stretch and grow." - Clive Thompson, Wired

you don't feel capable or knowledgeable enough to discuss this with
your child alone, be honest. Discuss with you child if there is a
trusted friend or family member that could support you both as you enter
these waters.
Dana Boyd says one of the most important things you can do is help your child develop a support network.

a parent, there are times your kid won’t want to talk to you. So the
more you’ve thought through how they have a support network that’s not
just you, the better off they’ll be when they hit any bump. And
increasingly, the way that happens is online. As a parent, you can also
reach out to other kids in your friend networks, so you’re an adult
those kids can turn to.”

children are likely to need social media for academic and career
success. Talking to your child about how to do this safely and
responsibly is an important part of your job as a parent today.  


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