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Course Elements

Just as conventional foreign language text books, e-Xplore Technical English is also comprised of several units, with each dedicated to specific technical, terminological, functional and grammatical focal points.

In addition to the units, a terminology trainer and two C-tests are included.

e-Xplore Technical English also offers a fundamental grammar review and an up-to-date glossary. Contextual usage and word meaning can be comfortably explored by means of the tools offered in the e-Xplore Words section.

Your WebCourse is complemented by so-called short guides: a pool of useful information and exercises for adult learners of English. Furthermore, there is a comprehensive list of recommended links to diverse Web sites which support further English language learning on an ongoing basis.

UnitsThe units are oriented to the course entrance requirements, interests and professional needs of students of engineering and science. Each one is dedicated to a number of pertinent technical, terminological, functional, and grammatical key areas.

Central components of the units are texts for reading and listening comprehension, which represent a variety of relevant text sorts. These are introduced and followed up through useful assignments and exercises such as

  • researching information,
  • vocabulary and terminology introduction,
  • grammar introduction,
  • practice in text reconstruction - in the form of both C-tests and other gap-filling tasks,
  • multiple-choice tasks,
  • matching tasks,
  • dictation practice,
  • pronunciation practice,
  • text analysis assignments of various kind, and
  • quizzes.

WebCourse group members find a detailed table of contents for the units as well as references for the other assignment areas, such as the integrated terminology trainer and the set of C-tests, under myWebCourse.

Important note: Browse the topics of the units in myWebCourse and decide in what sequence you want to work through the units. Still, as soon as you have started a unit, you must follow its tasks sequentially down to the final one before you can choose to study another unit. Every single task of a unit may be repeated up to three times to improve your result. Note, however, that each task can be accessed only once per day. Each of your tries per task is registered, but only the best of your tries per task is counted for the final result.

Terminology TrainerWhenever you have just a half-hour or even less time for your WebCourse, we recommend you to study the game-like terminology trainer, which is part of your WebCourse. It registers even minor progress, which is then documented in your individual learner diary under myWebCourse. Please note, brief but frequent short practice yields better results than sporadic, lengthy sessions.

The terminology trainer is a genuine learning tool. It introduces you to important terms and encourages you to utilise a variety of senses: You read the terms, an explanation or definition, and a selected example for its contextual usage. Since this information is also read aloud from a native speaker, you can hear it, as well. Additionally, an illustration provides helpful aid for term recognition in many cases. To finalise the presentation process, you need to type the term correctly. When you have had a number of terms presented in this fashion, you will be asked to correctly use the terms in further four variable exercises. When you have accomplished this, these terms are then marked as "learned" and are not asked about again. In the meantime, you will be presented with more terms, which you will, in turn, have to correctly apply to five different exercises, gradually raising the level of demand of the terminology work.

Once you have learned at least 50 per cent of your terms, you have reached the minimum goal. However, if you wish, you can continue working and thus, with a bit of effort, get more out of the WebCourse and improve your overall result.

C-TestsThese tests are integrated written tests of general native speaker or foreign language competence, cf. www.c-test.de. They represent a variation of cloze tests and are based on the theoretical principle of reduced redundancy. A complete C-test is made up of four or five short, self-contained single texts of varying contents, each containing 25 or 20 gaps respectively to be filled. The first sentence and the closing portion of the individual short texts are presented in their entirety, due to their context-establishing powers. Beginning with the second sentence, at the end of every second word, there is a gap which contains approximately half of the word's letters. These defective words should be reconstructed according to the context within the time limit, which is 25 minutes for an entire C-test.

Although these tests formally examine reading comprehension and must be done in written form, they represent, according to recent research, a suitable didactic tool for measuring general native speaker or foreign language competence, and not only reading and writing proficiency. Empirical studies have shown that C-test results closely correspond to the proficiency levels in speaking and listening comprehension assessed by teachers.

When the C-tests are given at the beginning and the end of a course, reliable comparative data as to the level of the participants' foreign language competence and their progress is yielded upon their evaluation. Should your result of the final test be better than that of the introductory placement test, then this would be factual evidence of learning progress, which - apart from the assessment of the language skills - would also appear on your certificate.

For successful completion of your WebCourse, you must take both tests. We will use your test data to evaluate the efficiency of the course and to identify possible options for further development.

Important note: Please, do not feel discouraged if you are only able to fill a good half of the gaps at the beginning. In fact, such results are quite normal for foreign language learners at an intermediate level. For native speakers, the percentage of correct answers is between 90 and 100 per cent.

Short GuidesEven the curricula of highly specialised ESP courses regularly refer to more general issues. So does your WebCourse. Just browse the chapters of the short guides to find valuable information as well as exercises on selected topics, which are taught in most academic English courses.

Grammar ReviewThe grammar review offers a compact overview of some elementary grammar topics. You are probably already familiar with most of them from your school days. If not, then you should also reserve some time to look over this part of the WebCourse. (Without this minimum of basic knowledge, you can forget about attaining the desired goal of an intermediate-level command of technical English.)

The grammar review should not and cannot replace conventional and more comprehensive grammar materials. For this reason, we advise you to consult the recommended grammar links or your own grammar resources for additional help on grammar problems, which may arise in the course of your studies.

e-Xplore WordsMake use of the various vocabulary tools in the e-Xplore Words section regularly.

  • AcronymFinder - Do you feel puzzled by the overuse of acronyms in technical English? The AcronymFinder provides you with the full wording of most English acronyms.
  • Concordancer - The ultimate tool to really e-Xplore Technical English. Just enter any search string (root or affix of a word, full word, or word group) and find how it is practically used in contexts of technical English.
  • DICT.org - The ultimate English online dictionary tool that refers to a wide variety of databases.
  • FreeDictionary - Use this most ingenious and comfortable tool for learners of English whenever you need information on a word. Doubleclick on any English word within your WebCourse to consult TheFreeDictionary.com, which offers explanations, definitions, contextual examples, synonyms, antonyms, related words, and sound recordings to listen, learn, and practise the proper pronunciation.
  • Glossary - A comprehensive list of words, phrases, terms, and acronyms that are commented on in the units of your WebCourse.
  • LEO - How to translate a word? Click LEO, a comprehensive bilingual dictionary, and find out.

ConcordancerThe concordancer is a learning tool which promotes, in the best sense of the word, explorative learning. Should you wish to know about how a part of a word (e.g. the stem or the word ending), a word itself, or an entire phrase is being used in English special texts, simply copy and paste the particular string of characters from the text, or type it into the search field offered. One click on "Concord" searches a database of more than 100 texts for the desired string, and then presents the result as a list of all the occurrences of your string with a complete overview of its usage in selected original texts - i.e. the concordance list.

Use the concordancer whenever you are searching for authentic information regarding the in-context usage or the meaning of lexical items.

GlossaryThe glossary represents a searchable list of all words, phrases, terms, and acronyms as they are commented on in the word lists of your WebCourse units. It does not include the terms of your terminology trainer for didactic reasons. Refer to the glossary while e-Xploring Technical English or make a printout for learning off-line.

Recommended LinksUse of recommended links is optional. They refer to English language websites, which can facilitate further studies of English through the Internet on an ongoing basis.