Frequently asked questions - Open Access language courses

Students often have questions about what their Open Access course will involve and what preparation is needed:

What if I find the level I have joined is too difficult/easy for me?

Have a word with your tutor at the end of the class and then contact the Languages for All admin team; it is usually possible to move up or down a level within the first few weeks if you and your tutor feel it is appropriate.  It should be noted that all moves must be organised through the LfA office and that moving between levels depends on places being available in your chosen level.  It may not always be possible to make the move immediately.

How much work am I expected to do between classes?

Tutors normally set homework each week and students are expected to spend no more than one hour on this. If no formal homework has been set, it is always a good idea to spend a little time consolidating the work you have done and to prepare for the next class.

It is several years since I left school and I haven't done any language learning since then.  Will I cope with the course?

It is never too late to pick up a language you have already studied or, indeed, to learn a new one. Our aim is to teach people how to improve their communication skills in their chosen language and none of our classes are based on the learning of grammar alone. Above all, we want you to enjoy the challenge of learning a new language and to have fun in doing so! Remember that your tutor is there to help as much as possible and will always be happy to respond to any uncertainties you may have.

Do I need to buy the textbook before the start of the course?

Sometimes it is useful to have the book beforehand, particularly if you are picking up a language previously studied, so that you can do some pre-course revision! However, it is not necessary and in some cases (if a course is cancelled or if you move levels) it might not always be a good idea to spend money on a book until you know it will definitely be the one you are going to use.

Do I need to enrol on a course before attending the first class?

Yes. It is essential that you enrol in advance as we have an absolute maximum of 16 people per class and cannot go beyond this number.  Tutors have a list of everyone who has enrolled and anyone who comes to class without a verified enrolment will be asked to refer to the office for instructions before they can start attending. 

Please bear in mind that it's also possible for a course to be cancelled if there are insufficient enrolments - you may turn up to a course that is no longer running when your enrolment might have made all the difference!

How do I enrol for a course?

You enrol through the University’s Online Shop. Once you have decided which level language course you require, just click on the ‘Enrol now' on the Open Access page which will take you to the right page in the Online shop. The Shop will take you through the stages required to select a course and make your payment by debit or credit card.

I cannot find the ‘Enrol now’ link?

The link is visible and active during enrolment periods only.  If it is not showing on the Open Access webpage, enrolment is not available.

Is there any other way of enrolling?

No. Online enrolment is the only way to register for an Open Access course. If you are having problems with online enrolment, please contact the Languages for All admin team, who will be happy to give you guidance.  However, please note that our staff are not permitted to make an enrolment for you.

Will there be any formal tests?

Yes and no. There won’t be any formal tests during the 20 weeks of classes. Your tutor may run some informal tests in class to monitor your progress, but they do not count as formal evaluation. However, if you wish to be awarded a mark for your language course by taking the formal course assessment you will be able to do so if you are available to attend written and oral examinations in the University’s summer term.  Open Access students will receive further information about examinations towards the end of the autumn term.

A £25.00 admin fee is payable in January by Open Access students who wish to register for the exams.

How to find Languages for All when travelling by public transport?

The Languages for All office is located in the Ashley building, (R17 in the red zone on the campus map), which is a two-minute walk from the Barber Institute. Our teaching rooms are normally within a 5-minute walk of the Ashley building.

By rail

Most cross-country services to Birmingham arrive at New Street Station. Up to six trains an hour depart for the University on the cross-city line from New Street (ten minutes to University station, final destination Longbridge or Redditch). The Ashley building is a seven-minute walk across campus from University Station.

By bus

Numbers 61, X62 and 63 travel to the University’s Edgbaston and Selly Oak campuses, while the 636 serves the Medical School and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The services all run frequently from the city centre.  For other routes, please see the latest information available on the Network West Midlands website. You should use B15 2TT as your destination postcode for journey and route planners. 

What about parking at the University?

Current parking charges between the hours of 09.00 and 16.30 are as follows:

  • Up to 1 hour £2.00
  • 1 - 3 hours   £3.00
  • 3 - 5 hours   £4.00
  • 5 - 8 hours   £6.00

Visitors to campus are requested to park in one of the Pay & Display car parks:

  • North East Car Park Multi Storey (access from Pritchatts Road) Sat Nav Postcode B15 2SA 
  • North Car Park (access from Pritchatts Road) Sat Nav Postcode B15 2SB
  • Pritchatts Road Car Park (at the junction with Vincent Drive) Sat Nav Postcode B15 2QU

Charges only apply between the hours of 0900 and 1630, Mondays to Fridays, excluding Public Holidays and Closed Days, so students attending classes from 5.00pm onwards will not be charged.

Charges will only apply between the hours of 0900 and 1630, Mondays to Fridays, excluding Public Holidays and Closed Days and, therefore, students involved in classes from 5.00pm onwards will not be charged.

What if I miss a class?

Try and let your tutor or another class member know; above all, don't drop out of the course just because you have missed one or two classes. Tutors are always happy to pass on handouts and go over any missed work with you.

What are the course dates?

You enrol for a 20-week course with.

10 weeks of tuition in the first Semester starting in Week 2 of the University’s autumn term (usually the first full week in October).

In the second Semester, classes resume in January in the first week of the University’s spring term. The course will finish after 11 weeks with a break in Week 6 of this term (the Department’s Reading Week) when all classes are suspended.

University term dates can be provided on application to lfa@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

I cannot attend any longer. Can I be refunded?

Fees are not refundable after the end of the second week of the course. Any applications for a refund of your course fee must be made in writing to the Open Access administrator at lfa@contacts.bham.ac.uk before this deadline. An administrative charge of £25 per course (equivalent to 2 weeks of classes) will be applied to all refunds.

Please note that if you fail to attend for three weeks in a row without notifying the Languages for All office, the appropriate Language Co-ordinator or your course tutor, we will assume that you do not intend to continue your classes and your name will be removed from the class register.

How do I contact you?

By e-mail at lfa@contacts.bham.ac.uk or you can telephone us on +44 (0)121 415 8718.