Course reviews

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This page serves to exchange experience with courses we linguists might want to take for credit or out of interest. Especially welcome are hints about good courses at other faculties and departments, which do not show up in the SfS course catalogue and thus need our word of mouth. Please note this page only deals with courses outside the SfS. For internal courses, see Courses.

Keep in mind that the information about the lecturer is, albeit important to the relevance of the review, also subject to change. If you want to point out differences between lecturers of the same course, please feel free to do so.

Preliminary Notes on Taking "Foreign" Courses

Finding cool courses

Ask Your Advisor

Pay attention to bureaucracy! It is a good idea to ask your current student's adviser whether a course can be counted towards your studies or not. Do this in advance, if possible. In some cases you will have to make a deal with the lecturer, e.g., taking an exam even though other people do not take exams in that course. Unless counted towards key qualification, all Scheins for ISCL need to be equipped with a grade! In any case, give it a try, most people involved are cooperative.

(INFORMATION WANTED: What about AS? AS students please edit here!)

ISCL with a minor in General Linguistics

On April 19, 2012, Mr Sauer from the Prüfungsamt said that ISCLers with a General Linguistics minor need a total of 24 key qualification points (ECTS). 15 of them are counted for the major and 9 for the minor. There is no distinction in content between the key qualification courses for the major and the ones for the minor. This matches exactly what the Prüfungsordnung says.

Students whose native language is German have to do a language course with at least 2 SWS in a language that is usually not taught in school. The required course "Wiss. Englisch" mentioned in the Prüfungsordnung is covered by the Academic Writing course that students have to do anyway. Prof. Sternefeld has confirmed these two points. Otherwise, there is absolutely no restriction on the content of key qualification courses, although I haven't asked Prof. Sternefeld about the requirements for students whose native language is not German.

All this refers to the 2005 version of the Prüfungsordnung.

Languages

Urdu I-II

Hindi-Urdu is one of the most spoken languages of the world, being understood and used in northern India and Pakistan. The courses over at Indologie will not only teach you how to speak the standard Urdu Dialect, but also give you insight into contemporary Pakistani culture. Urdu I through II are not overly time intensive, but be prepared to learn a whole new writing system and a lot of vocabulary. Urdu uses a similar writing system as in Arabic and Persian. The atmosphere is very nice and friendly and you will surely get to know interesting people! There are regular cultural parties there including foods and music. There is an exam at the end of course assessing skills for Urdu-German-Urdu translation skills. This course can be taken as a 'mandatory structure course' required for General Linguistics minors (this has been confirmed by Prof. Dr. Christian Ebert) (and maybe help prevent Indologie from being closed down because of the lack of students...)

Registration in campus system is required.

Course language: German, course book in English
Hours per week (per course): 4, mandatory (and fun!) conversational tutorial. The occasional movie in Hindi
Lecturer: Rainer Kimmig
Credit points: 3 for minor elective in General Linguistics
Web site: Indologie
Takes place: Urdu I & II during summer and winter semesters.

Hindi I-V

Hindi-Urdu is one of the most spoken languages of the world, being understood and used in northern India and Pakistan. The courses over at Indologie will not only teach you how to speak the standard Indian Hindi Dialect Khariboli, but also give you insight into contemporary Indian culture. Hindi I through IV are not overly time intensive, but be prepared to learn a whole new writing system and a lot of vocabulary. They are usually taught by native speakers that will introduce you to to the subtleties of the language of which Hindi-Urdu has many. The atmosphere is very nice and friendly and you will surely get to know interesting people! (and maybe help prevent Indologie from being closed down because of the lack of students...)

Course language: German, course book in English
Hours per week (per course): 4, mandatory (and fun!) conversational tutorial. The occasional movie in Hindi
Lecturer: Divyaraj Amyia, Neeti Singh (Tutorium)
Credit points: 3 for minor elective in General Linguistics
Web site: Indologie
Takes place: Hindi I starts during winter semesters only, then proceeds every semester.

Polnisch I-IV

The Polish courses at the Slavonic department are pretty much oriented towards oral communication, the grammar is introduced rather slowly. On the other hand, Renata Makarska is very keen on integrating each and every student into class talk, sometimes starting a conversation with an unsuspecting student out of the blue. Those surprises are great training if you want to achieve a certain proficiency in oral communication fast, but they can also be rather strenuous. This is not a course to just sit in and listen, it requires presence of mind and a lot of practice. However, you will be rewarded with a nice atmosphere, many interesting insights and a good grasp of this important European language.

Course language: German/Polish
Hours per week (per course): 4; sometimes an optional tutorial is offered in addition
Credit points: to be added
Web site: http://www.slavistik.uni-tuebingen.de/

Russisch I-IV

The Russian courses at the Slavonic department are geared towards beginning Slavicists, but are also open to others. You can use this as a language course for credit and, if you want to gain a fair proficiency in Russian, continue until you get a Sprachschein after four semesters.

Tested: winter term 2006/2007 - winter term 2007/08 (Russich I-III)
With teacher: Katja Sonnenwald (I, III), Inna Kamenetskaya (II)
Takes place: The beginners' course (Russisch I) starts only in winter terms.
Course language: German/Russian
Hours per week (per course): 4; sometimes an optional tutorial is offered in addition
Credit points: 3 (General Linguistics Minor Elective)
Web site: http://www.slavistik.uni-tuebingen.de/

Sanskrit

Currently taught by Frank Köhler, the Sanskrit courses over at Indologie are not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to iterate over page-long paradigms and hundreds of words of vocabulary per week. While the first semester starts off slowly, explaining how to pronounce and write Sanskrit, the pace quickly changes as the grammar and vocabulary size increase rapidly. If you are willing to spend quite some time on it, there is a lot to gain from this course. People with interests in comparative (in this case: Indo-European and Indo-Aryan) language studies will be as interested as those who like finding out more about Indian culture, history and religion.

Course Language: German, the book is in English
Hours per week (per course): 4 + mandatory tutorial
Lecturer: Frank Köhler
Credit points: 3 (General Linguistics Minor Elective)
Web site: Indologie
Takes place: Sanskrit I is only offered during winter semesters

Modern Greek

In Roula's Greek courses, you can really get the most out of your time. The entire lesson is spent practicing speaking and understanding Greek. Roula manages to teach you more in one hour than most language teachers can convey in two hours - and you don't even feel rushed.

Vocabulary learning outside of class is highly recommended, but there are no vocabulary tests. The occasional homework assignments are also optional. Plus, no one ever fails the final exam!

Course sequence: Anfänger I - Anfänger II - Fortgeschrittene Course language: German and Greek
Hours per week (per course): 1
Lecturer: Stavroula "Roula" Dimitriadou-Elmer (Career Service)
Credit points: 3
Takes place: all three courses are offered every semester

Computer Science

Informatik III: Theoretische Informatik

For all those who don't get enough of automata and formal languages in the ISCL program, here is a good lecture to get some more background and training with those concepts. The lecture comes in three parts: Formal Languages, Computability Theory and Complexity Theory. If you ever wanted to design Turing machines for specific tasks, be shown why regular expressions and finite state automata describe the same class of languages, or understand what NP-completeness REALLY means, this is the lecture for you. A certain background in logic is highly recommended. With a compulsory tutorial and one three-hour exercise sheet per week plus written exam, these are no easy credits, but for those with an interest in the theoretical side of what we are doing every day, this is a very worthwile effort.

Course language: German
Hours per week (per course): 4 (+2 for the tutorial necessary for credit)
Credit points: 6 (B.A. Computational Linguistics Major Elective)
Web site: http://www.informatik.uni-tuebingen.de/

Software-Architektur

This lecture will change your life. At least it said in the announcement that it would change your way of programming. And it did, in a positive way. Prerequisites are advanced skills in Java and the will to invest quite some time for obtaining even more advanced skills. Along with the lecture, there are a number of homework tasks that must be solved in teams. To get credit for ISCL, you must take an oral exam, which requires the points for the homework. Do not forget to contact the lecturer early (beginning of term) about oral exam. Contents of the course: the first part focuses on responsibility driven design, a strategy to divide tasks into (Java) classes in a way that enforces clear encapsulation of tasks, clear dependencies between modules (and programmers/programming teams) and good manners of object-oriented programming in general. The rest of the course has a strong focus on design patterns. Those are in a way template strategies to solve problems, e.g. separating a user interface from the actual treatment of the data (supporting sc. *ilities like exchangeability of code parts or whole implementations, scalability, reliability, understandability, whatever). Eventually the course puts the spotlight on architecture patterns, such as several types of frameworks (the Apache web server is taken as example, however other frameworks such as UIMA work with similar strategies). Participants are expected to use Eclipse. This is not a strict requirement, though. To sum up: this course is labor-intensive but it gives you loads of practice with Java and an entirely new and refreshing view on developing solutions for programming tasks – from a toy pocket calculator over technical means to program with trees up to your own spreadsheet application.

Tested: winter term 2006/2007
Takes place: during winter terms only
Course language: German
Lecturer: Holger Gast
Hours per week (per course): 2 (+2 for the tutorial consisting out of loads of homework, required for the Schein)
Credit points: 6 (B.A. Computational Linguistics Major Elective), 10 (M.A., not counted as CL course.)
Web site: http://www.informatik.uni-tuebingen.de/


Object-oriented programming

The course focuses on object-oriented design, and the programming langauge is Java. Prerequisites are advanced skills in Java. There are homework exercises to be submitted each week (you work on them in teams of three). To get credit for ISCL you have to do a written exam. To be allowed to do the exam you need to have successfully completed 60% of the homework exercises. About the course: topics, which are covered are: responsibility driven design, design patterns, event-driven programming, and of course, good manners of object-oriented programming in general (for the notions above, please, see the explanation in "Software-Architektur" above). The course is quite intensive, but definitely worths doing, because many interesting and useful exercises are discussed. (It was not expected that you know any event-driven programming in Java, and everything is covered from scratch).

Participants are expected to use Eclipse.

Tested: winter term 2007/2008
Course language: German
Lecturer: Holger Gast
Hours per week (per course): 2 (+2 for the tutorial consisting out of loads of homework, required for the Schein)
Credit points: 6 (B.A. Computational Linguistics Major Elective), 10 (M.A., not counted as CL course.)
Web site: http://www.informatik.uni-tuebingen.de/

Grundlagen der Webentwicklung

This course starts where normal website-building courses (e.g., the Webmaster Crash Courses) end. It teaches you how to setup your own web server, configure it, and run content management systems (CMS) on it. Furtherly, some common CMS's are reviewed and compared to each other. You will also learn basic concepts of computer networks like the OSI Model of seven network layers.

Tested: winter term 2011/2012
Course language: German
Lecturer: Prof. Thomas Walter (Informatik/ ZDV)
Hours per week (per course): 2 (+2 for the tutorial consisting of loads of homework, required for the Schein)
Credit points: 4
Web site: Grundlagen der Webentwicklung

Key qualifications

Rede- und Präsentationskompetenz

This is an online seminar offered by the rhetorics department which provides valuable insights into the field of rhetorics as such as well as methods for preparing and giving good presentations. Presentations being an important part of our studies, this course is certainly worth the non-negligible effort: Every week, a half-hour video must be watched, a written task completed and other participants' exercises reviewed. There are also two practical sessions where one meets at a fixed time in real life and gives a speech prepared beforehand.

Tested: winter term 2006/2007
Lecturer: Katie Böhme
Course language: German (very good command required!)
Credit points: 4 (B.A. Computational Linguistics Major Elective)
Web site: http://www.virtuelle-rhetorik.de/

Webmaster Crashkurs I und II

In just two weeks, these courses teach you everything you need to know to start your own professional website. Please note that this is not an introduction to any WYSIWYG editors for web pages, but you'll learn how to write the HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript... code yourself.

Tested: winter term 2010/2011
Lecturer: Axel Pratzner
Course language: German
Credit points: 3 + 2
Web site: http://www.webmaster-crashkurs.de/

Mit Körper und Stimme überzeugen

This is not one of the usual courses on presentation techniques. While academic presentations are a very prominent topic, this course addresses all kinds of human communication. You will learn how to use body language and voice modifications to get your point accross. This course is especially suitable for shy people and people who don't know what to do with their hands while speaking.

Tested: winter term 2012/13
Lecturer: Annika Beifuß (external)
Course language: German
Credit points: 2 (?)

Poster gestalten leicht gemacht

Here you learn how to design a poster about your research work that is both appealing and informative. As a young researcher, poster presentations are often your first contact with the scientific community - and you want to make a good first impression!

Tested: winter term 2012/13
Lecturer: Matthias Stoll (Biologie)
Course language: German/English (bilingual)
Credit points: 2 (?)

Grundlagen professioneller Kommunikation

Learn how to communicate effectively with your friends as well as with your boss. You will also learn how to listen properly, how to avoid starting an argument, and how to address inappropriate behavior by colleagues. Be prepared to be involved in many practical activities and role-playing games.

Lecturer: Matthias Mayer (external)
Tested: winter term 2011/12
Course language: German
Credit points: 2

Impro-Akademie - die Lust am Scheitern

In this course you learn how to improvise theatre scenes. You play various impro games (e.g. dramatic death, telling a story with others, changing status), which almost always produce funny stories. Of course, you also learn some theory, e.g. that you should always stay positive and accept offers from the other actors. There are usually 2 groups per semester, which are relatively small, about 15 people each. At the end of the course you (can) participate in the 'Werkschau', where you can show what you have learned in the Landestheater Tübingen. http://www.improakademie.de/

Lecturer: Volker Quandt (LTT)
Tested: summer term 2012
Course language: German
Credit points: 3

Story-Telling oder wie man eine Geschichte erzählt

You don't have to 'be born' to tell good stories. In this course you can learn techniques how to write and tell interesting stories.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Thomas Vogel
Tested: winter term 11/12
Course language: German
Credit points: 3

English Theatre Workshop

This workshop offers you an opportunity to try acting by playing scenes from famous theatre plays. In one compact weekend you do exercises, games and improvisation and learn techniques and tools used in theatre.

Lecturer: Stefanie Giebert
Tested: winter term 11/12
Course language: English
Credit points: 2