Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of the English Learning Support project?

The increasing number of English-language modules offered at the university, the restructuring of research priorities and the drive to meet the internationalisation targets set out not only by the federal government, but also by the FernUniversität in its Internationalisation Strategy 2020 document necessitate the development of international competencies such as good English language skills and intercultural competence.

Our project is student-centred, meaning your input will be welcomed every step of the way.  We aim to develop an English Learning Support framework so that regardless of students’ initial English competence, they will find the help they need to tackle their studies with knowledge and confidence.

What does the project entail?

The newly-launched English Learning Support service is a two-year research project for developing a language learning and support framework for students enrolled at the FernUniversität in Hagen.  Centred on a self-organised learning environment (SOLE) the service will enable 1000 volunteers to try out, free of charge, a language learning application – Altissia – that can be used via web browser or as a mobile application.  Additionally, studyFIT, in collaboration with the five faculties, will develop bridging courses to bolster students’ English language competence as they delve into their chosen disciplines.

How can I get involved?

You can sign up for the Altissia language learning app here.

I signed up to participate in the study way back when but did not hear back from you.  What gives?

The first thousand students to sign up were contacted at the start of the summer semester, followed by another cohort in mid-April.  It is likely that you entered your email address incorrectly because we received a number of non-delivery notifications.  To get onboard, simply register directly via Moodle, and make sure you try out the app at least once within the first three days to ensure that your place on the study is secured.

What’s this I hear about a language survey?  What sort of information are you seeking?

We wish to draw up a profile of FernUni students’ English language needs.  The survey covers a wide range of areas divided into three broad categories:

  • Your English language learning experiences to date
  • Your usage of English for work, study and leisure
  • Your wish list for future support, be it for general English or language specifically for your discipline

How long will it take to fill out the survey?

Ten minutes, give or take.

Will the findings be published?

Whilst your participation will be anonymous, we will indeed publish the overall findings of the survey for the benefit of all our students and teaching staff.  Transparency is an essential component in our process of developing a long-lasting English Learning Support framework.  For example, the FernUniversität in Hagen will need to make decisions on the suitability and feasibility of the Altissia learning application, the content and format of the bridging courses for the five faculties as well as what further measures are needed to provide students with the support they need to succeed in English for Academic Purposes.

The practical and academic value of such a study cannot be underestimated, and thus we will inform our stakeholders and all interested parties of the current state of affairs, the intended interventions and our long-term plans.

Do I have to pay to try out the learning application?

Not a penny!  The university is picking up the tab for the first 1000 students to sign up for the service during the pilot phase, which will run until December 2023.

I will not be around until December 2023.  May I still participate?

Yes.  The ideal participant is available for at least one semester between March 2022 and the end of the project, but don’t let that deter you.  Whilst the licences are issued for one year, we welcome students in any stage of any of our study programmes.

My English is top-notch, but I am curious.  May I still try out the learning app?

Indeed, the best-case scenario is to have students of all proficiency levels try out the app so that we can identify its strengths and shortcomings.  The feedback of students who use English frequently is just as valuable as that of beginners and intermediate learners.


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