German 226, Spring 2005
Lecture 002, MWF 1:20, 490 Van Hise
Instructor: Nancy ThuleenOffice: 847 Van Hise
Course Web Page: http://www.nthuleen.com/226/Office Hours: Wed 12:00-1:00 and by appointment
Email: web@nthuleen.comPhone: 263-2590


Course objective: To increase the students’ accuracy and flexibility in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students’ reading and composition skills in German will be strengthened by analyzing and emulating various genres and types of authentic texts. Oral and aural skills will be trained through text discussion, group projects, and watching short video clips pertaining to the topics under discussion. Students are encouraged to debate and discuss freely with their classmates, thus strengthening their speaking skills. A review of selected grammar topics will be contextualized in text discussion, as will systematic vocabulary building. Finer points of style and usage will be discussed in detail and strengthened through numerous written and oral assignments.

Course materials:
  • Brigitte Turneaure, Der treffende Ausdruck, 2nd Edition (1997). ISBN: 0-393-96823-5.
  • Jamie Rankin & Larry D. Wells, Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik, 4th Edition (2004). ISBN: 0-618-33812-8.
  • German-English Dictionary (Harper-Collins recommeded, others acceptable)

Grading Breakdown:
  1.Attendance and Participation10%
  2.Homework10%
  3.Quizzes15%
  4.Essays20%
  5.Group Project10%
  6.Presentation5%
  7.Midterm Exam15%
  8.Final Exam15%
  (grading scale: 92-100 A, 89-92 AB, 82-89 B, 79-82 BC, 70-79 C, 60-69 D, 0-59 F)


Course Work:
1.Attendance: You are allowed three (3) absences during the semester without penalty. If you miss more than three class sessions, your participation grade will be reduced by 5% for each additional absence. This can dramatically affect your final course grade, so please ensure that you come to class on a regular basis. If you miss class, you are responsible for finding out about material covered in class and about additional homework assignments. Additionally, please tell me if you know that you are going to be absent. If you miss a quiz or exam without notifying me ahead of time, you will not be allowed to make it up.
 Participation: Daily work in class will consist of discussion of readings, primarily from Der treffende Ausdruck, along with vocabulary-building exercises and conversation on topics thematically related to the readings, as well as grammar and usage exercises, both oral and written. You are expected to have prepared for these discussions as outlined in the course schedule. You are expected to participate actively, which means not only speaking in class when called upon but also volunteering to speak and contributing meaningfully. Your participation is graded, among other things, on the following factors: positive contributions to the class, preparation, use of new vocabulary and grammar, volunteering to answer and ask questions, constant use of German in the classroom, progress in fluency and accuracy, and timely attendance.

2.Homework: As outlined in the course schedule, there will be written homework assignments for most class periods. These may take the form of exercises from the textbook, worksheets, or short writing assignments. Late homework will be accepted with no penalty for ONE DAY after the due date; beyond that it will no longer be acceptable for credit. Homework is either done (check) or not done (zero) -- there’s no letter grade on individual homework assignments. For many worksheets and preparatory exercises from the textbooks, answer keys will be provided on the class webpage in order for you to verify your work.

3.Quizzes: There will be four or five regularly scheduled short quizzes on vocabulary and grammar topics, scheduled after every two chapters. These will not take more than 25 minutes of class time, and will serve mainly to reinforce what you have learned in class. These quizzes will graded on a percentage basis, and averaged together to count as 15% of the final grade.

4.Essays: Five essays of progressively longer length (250-500 words) will be written, with topics handed out separately. Most essays will be peer-reviewed, that is, you and a partner will exchange drafts of the essay for critiquing. Specific guidelines for the peer review process will be handed out at a later date.
 Expectations and grading: The essays provide an opportunity for developing a wider vocabulary, more complex syntax, and greater grammatical accuracy. Please refer to your textbook and dictionary as you write. In addition to grammar and usage, the essays will be graded on the depth and thoughtfulness of their content and on their structure and the development of their argument or plot. I will be happy to help you with points of grammar or usage or discuss the structure or content of your essays with you as you are working on them. The essays will receive a letter grade and, averaged together, will count as 20% of the course grade. In addition, your peer review of a partner’s essays will count as 25% of your essay grade.

5.Group Project: Your group project will involve one day of teaching the class on a topic of the group’s choosing. The only restriction on the topic is that it must relate to German culture. Topics that involve media other than text (i.e. video, slides, music) are particularly encouraged. Group assignments will be made within the first week of class, and specific guidelines will be handed out then.
 Expectations and grading: This project is intended to be a group endeavor: while you may certainly divide up tasks as you work on the project, the presentation in class is to be well-integrated and unified, not a series of independent mini-presentations. The project will require research (internet or library) and gathering materials as background and for use during the presentation. Each group will hand in a list of its sources and will provide a handout for the class with an outline of its presentation and any vocabulary necessary to understand the topic. Presentations will be graded on content, organization, clarity, and delivery as well as on the handout. The project will count as 10% of the course grade. Students who are not presenting on a given day must still be present and actively participating, since information and factual material from these presentations may be included on a quiz.

6.Presentation: A Referat (oral report), prepared and given either individually or with one partner will be given in connection with your fifth essay. The topic, to be chosen by you, will be based on an issue currently reflected in the German media,. The report as well as the separate essay will summarize and comment on one or more articles in German newspapers and/or magazines such as Die Zeit and Der Spiegel. In the oral report you will explain to the class the main points surrounding the issue you have chosen and your own opinion on the issue and its presentation in the media.
 Expectations and grading: Each presenter will provide the class with a handout giving the source of their article(s), an outline of the main points of their report, and a list of new vocabulary needed to understand the presentation. The reports will be graded on their content, organization, comprehensibility, and delivery (including level of vocabulary and grammatical accuracy) as well as on the handout. The presentation will count as 5% of the course grade.

7.Midterm and Final: A one-hour midterm exam of short answer and essay format questions will focus on the content of the readings and class discussion as well as some points of grammar and usage. It will count as 15% of the final grade. A two-hour final exam will count as 15% of the course grade. The format and content will be discussed toward the end of the semester.


Issues of Academic Honesty:
Over the last several years, the increasing availability and capability of computer-assisted translation programs has led to issues and complaints of academic dishonesty (i.e. plagiarism and cheating) in many foreign-language classrooms. The German Department has issued a blanket statement from which no deviation will be allowed:

The use of translation programs is categorically prohibited for any work submitted as your own.

Please know that it is extremely easy for an instructor to recognize plagiarized and/or computer-translated work. Inaccurate incorporations, typos in the English input (which result in inaccurate or even missing German translations), and - most tellingly - a stark differential in stylistic sophistication by comparison to a student’s usual work, including the use of regional varieties, are sure giveaways.
It is also not permissible to have friends (German or otherwise), previous instructors, or any other person not specifically pre-approved by the instructor, correct or edit or otherwise alter/improve any work you submit for academic credit.
Other sources of information, such as online DICTIONARIES -- which provide single-word translations or guidance for using words and concepts correctly -- are encouraged. The line is crossed when a significant portion of your writing (a complete sentence or more) is translated directly. For example, using an online dictionary to help you say “the will of the people” is completely acceptable. Using an online translation service to translate “The will of the people must not be ignored” is unacceptable, and will be penalized.
Violations of standards of academic honesty will not be tolerated. Punishments may include a lowering of the grade, no credit for dishonest work, expulsion from the course, a notation on your academic record, and others, deemed appropriate by the instructor, the course supervisor, or deans. Plagiarism and cheating are taken very seriously by the German Department and the UW. For specific penalty options and procedures, please visit http://www.wisc.edu/students/UWS14.htm .


Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns or comments about the course at any point during the semester.
Viel Glück, viel Erfolg und viel Spaß!