UCI Department of European Languages and Studies
Winter Quarter 2016
Accelerated German Fundamentals
Office hours M/F. 1 – 2pm in HIB 223
and by appointment
Language Program Director:
Willkommen in Deutsch 1AB! This course is designed for the beginning student with no previous knowledge of German. 1AB is part of our lower-division German course progression (1ABC, 2ABC). Our goals for the entire program are based on both meeting practical communication needs in the real world, and on developing critical cultural knowledge and skills. As we created your course we have in mind that if you were to land in a German-speaking country after two years of German or the equivalent, you should be able to interact and communicate in German in an enjoyable, culturally appropriate, and most importantly, stress-free manner. We also want you to have intermediate level reading and writing skills in German. And in terms of German degree programs, German 1 and 2 should serve as the solid foundation for advanced study of German and study-abroad programs.
NOTE: German 1AB and 1BC are the "intensive" version of German 1. With six 50-minute class meetings per week, it means you can complete three quarters of German 1 in two quarters. It also means that each class day is like two days of the regular 1A, 1B and 1C coure, and therefore you'll have proportionally more studying and homework for each class day than in the regular course.
Students who complete German 1AB with a grade of C or better may continue to German 1BC, or S1BC in the summer session.
Four basic beliefs guide our approach to teaching German here at UCI. First, you learn by doing. Thus, our methodology allows you to take an active part in each class, to hear, respond to, read, and speak a lot of German. As a result, the quality of the education you receive in this class will depend on the amount and quality of your own effort, as well as that of the other students.
Second, as a university student you should be entirely responsible for your own learning. Hence, in this course we move away from the traditional (and boring!) roles of instructor as provider of information and student as the ‘receptacle’ of that information. Instead, we see the instructor as the mediator of information and you as the gatherer of information and knowledge and acquirer of skills. In a sense, we encourage students to regard themselves as ethnographers of German language and culture.
Third, foreign language learning is in some ways the development of a skill. It can be compared with learning to play a musical instrument: You begin with the very basics and through study and practice you advance to ever more complex music. While every individual learns in different ways, practice is key, and this brings us back to our first belief or assumption, namely that you learn by doing. If you practice as much and as well as you can (we estimate about 1½ hours per class hour), you will find learning German extremely rewarding. Conversely, if you don’t practice enough or practice only half-heartedly, you may find the experience frustrating, or worse, boring.
Fourth, foreign language learning is also the acquisition of a body of knowledge along with socialization into a new culture. This means that through learning German you open doors to new ways of seeing the world, new ways of making meaning, and new ways of living. This does not mean that we expect you to become like native German speakers (unless you want to!), rather that you find ways of gaining access to fascinating new cultures that will be personally rewarding and challenging.
Your role as a participant in this course will be fairly simple and straightforward. You’ll be expected to come to class every day, prepared to interact in German in a variety of situations. To do this you will be expected to
1) keep up with the material detailed in the Stundenplan
2) complete and turn in assigned homework and class projects
3) take the tests
My role as instructor of this course is not quite as simple as yours, but it is just as straightforward. I will be responsible for
1) providing meaningful and interesting classroom activities and tasks to help you achieve course goals as stated above
2) reviewing and correcting your homework and offering feedback and suggestions on your performance and progress
3) writing, administering, and grading tests, and
4) providing out-of-class support for your German learning experience.
This last point will include office hours, other hours arranged by appointment, telephone calls, and e-mail communication.
The coursebook for German 1A, 1B and 1C is called Augenblicke: German through Film, Media, and Texts, co-authored by Christina Frei and Bridget Swanson of the University of Pennsylvania, and Glenn Levine of the University of California, Irvine. Because Augenblicke is still in development, we are piloting it here at UCI and at Penn. This is the second year of the pilot project. You can obtain the first three Modules as a bound copy packet in the Anthill Bookstore.
The online components of the course, which we call Augenblicke im Netz, is located here on this Canvas site, and can be navigated by clicking on the tabs to the left.
In being the second group of students to work with Augenblicke you are part of an innovative approach to language education. The textbook and online student platform seek to foster your awareness of communication with the ultimate goal in mind: effective real-life, contextually appropriate communication in German. By continuously drawing your attention to the purpose of your communicative competence, you become accustomed to viewing your language use in relation to the intended audience. This audience is comprised of your peers through in-class interpersonal oral communication and out-of-class written and oral interpersonal communication. In addition, you will learn to communicate with peers, other language learners, or speakers with near-native command in different contexts through presentational modes of communication such as videologs, or vlogs, threaded discussions, speeches and essays. Augenblicke’s incorporation of the interpretive mode of communication requires you to engage in self-reflection through active engagement with media and texts, discussions, and debates that help you to grow into a reflective and critical German language learner. For us, this means nurturing your ability to understand the complexities of your own language and cultural customs, viewpoints, and artifacts in order to meaningfully engage with practices, perspectives, and products of other cultures.
By the end of the quarter you will be able to do the following with and through working with Augenblicke:
- Engage in conversations about familiar things
- Know greetings and everyday expressions and negate sentences in day-to-day contexts
- Talk about yourself and your family and friends
- Speak about events that happened in the immediate past and express plans for the future.
- Express your thoughts in written communication
- Develop reading strategies that allow you to gather information from authentic materials including newspaper and magazine articles, websites and short literary texts.
If you ever need a computer to work at, or want help with any of our course materials, you can go to the Humanities Studio in HH 269 during their hours of operation (usually M-F 8-5). They’re happy to help!
Your grade for German 1AB will be determined as follows
Percentage of grade
Online Canvas and paper-and-pencil assignments
Mein Blickwinkel and written assignments
Online Activities in Canvas, Paper-and-Pencil Homework Assignments, and Quizzes (30%)
Because this is an “intensive” or accelerated introductory German course, equaling 1.5 courses in the time usually taken for 1 course, a good deal of the learning and practice that takes place is done outside of class. This will happen primarily in three different ways:
(1) Augeblicke im Netz. This online platform, which we call Augenblicke im Netz, offers a range of activities, grammar exercises and composition prompts, podcasts and video clip tasks, and reflective journal prompts. Your contributions to the online platform must be prepared on the day indicated in the Stundenplan (see Stundenplan under Seiten on the left) will be incorporated into the content of class sessions. All assignments in the student online platform are part of your grade.
(2) Paper-and-pencil assignments. In addition to the online Augenblicke im Netz activities, most weeks you will also be assigned written homework to be completed the old-fashioned way, with a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. Most of these will be assigned during class time. If you are absent it is your responsibility to find out what will be due the next class day.
(3) Tagebuch. Beginning at the end of week 2 you will begin writing a Tagebuch (journal or diary). The Tagebuch is a place for you to "own" your German. You will not be graded on grammatical accuracy, vocabulary etc. You are encouraged to try out the German you have been working on, to look up and use new words and phrases, or to reflect (in English) about aspects of your German learning. But for the most part it is for you to practice writing German in a low-stakes and low-stress way. Sometimes I will provide a particular prompt, saying, “This week I would like you to write about ______." You may write your Tagebuch in a notebook with a pen or pencil, or create a blog site that you add entries to each week. If you opt for an online blog, please send me the link before the first Tagebuch due date. Each Tagebuch entry in the Stundenplan will count as one homework assignment.
Criteria for Evaluation of Written Homework
As stated, homework is an important part of this course. Written homework (assignments in which you have to produce German words, sentences, paragraphs) will be evaluated based not so much on the number of language errors, but on the overall amount of time and effort you invest in doing the homework; I am able to determine fairly well how much time and effort you put into your homework. I employ the following general criteria for evaluating homework (I may choose to assign a percentage in between these):
100%. You clearly invested a sufficient amount of time and effort to study for and then complete the assignment (as opposed to banging it out the hour before class). There are a ‘reasonable’ number of errors (i.e., errors that would be expected in a given section of the course, such as those related to the current material). The amount or length of the work is appropriate to the task assigned (and its goals).
70%. You completed the homework, but it is apparent that you did not invest the time and effort that would have been necessary to study for and complete the homework to benefit you in preparing to perform in class and/or on exams. There are several or many language errors from earlier chapters which you have not taken steps toward improving. The amount or length of work is not quite appropriate to the task assigned (and its goals).
0%. You clearly invested far too little time and effort in studying for and completing the homework to benefit you in preparing to perform in class and/or on exams. There are many language errors from earlier chapters which you have not taken steps toward improving. The homework is incomplete.
During the quarter there will be a number of short quizzes based on current material; often these will test how well you are learning vocabulary, grammar, and other details of language learning. Each quiz will count as one or two homework assignments (depending on length and difficulty) and will be given right at the beginning of the hour. Usually these will be announced in advance. Each quiz will count as one homework/quiz assignment.
Some Crucial Notes about Homework and Quizzes
(1) The lowest 3 homework or quiz scores will be dropped from the calculation of the final grade at the end of the quarter.
(2) I will announce some homework in class, and in any case I will often announce changes to the homework assignments relative to what is in the Stundenplan; it is your responsibility to be aware of what is due on a given class day.
(3) No late homework will be accepted, except in cases of documented illness or other bona fide personal emergency (see Attendance above for definitions of bona fide), and here only if you have communicated with me about the planned missed work in advance of the due date. If you do not communicate with me in advance you will receive no credit for missed assignments, regardless of the reason for missing the work.
(4) Because of the pace of this class, if you fall behind in the homework it will be extremely difficult to catch up with what you need to learn;
(5) If you neglect to do more than five homework assignments consecutively you will receive zero for this portion of the grade, which is 30% of the course grade. If you become ill or have some other personal emergency that prevents you from completing your assignments, it is essential that you communicate with me in a timely manner. I will do what I can to help you, but note point 2 above.
(6) It takes a good deal of my time to read and provide feedback on written homework assignments. If I note that you consistently do the homework in a shoddy manner I will communicate with you about it. If you do not take steps to address issues identified I will no longer provide feedback on your homework, though you will still receive partial credit for it (see Criteria for Evaluation of Written Homework).
Mein Blickwinkel: Presentational and Written Communication (15%)
At the end of each Module you will complete a Mein Blickwinkel ("My Perspective" summative project. It is not a test, rather a presentation of what you have learned in that module. I will share the specific rubrics for the evaluation of these tasks in class.
5 Module Tests (40%)
At the end of each Module you will have a 50-minute written test. They will reflect and test the sorts of language use, vocabulary, and grammar of the Module, and the types of tasks will resemble activities in Augenblicke im Netz. Much of the test will require more open-ended written communication, so the best way to practice will be to write both through the online activities and other sorts of practice.
Active Participation (15%)
Participation includes more than simply coming to class and arriving on time. I expect active participation. It is also the quality of participation, in terms of answers given (although I don’t expect that answers are always 100% correct!), and also applying the language (e.g. asking questions in German such as “Was bedeutet…? And “Wie sagt man…?” and “Ich habe eine Frage.”). It further includes demonstrating an active and consistent interest in learning the language, which involves, for example, coming to office hours.
What is active participation in class?
- Being prepared for class and completing online assignments on time
- Regularly volunteering with constructive comments (more isn’t always better)
- Contributing productively to group work
- Sharing ideas
- Listening to and respecting the ideas and comments of your peers
- Coming regularly to office hours (not just when you have language problems, but also to practice your German)
In particular, German 1AB concentrates on the development of oral competence and listening comprehension. Class sessions offer ample opportunities to practice speaking on a daily basis through partner and group work, role-play, and discussion forums. The variety of communicative activities expose you to rich input of spoken German and lead you from structured practice to free expression.
You will be evaluated for your in-class participation in week 3 or 4, again in week 6 or 7, and finally at the end of the quarter.
You will be allowed 2 absences for which you need offer no excuse. These include days for illness, personal problems, etc. This means that the first 2 days absent, even those for which you have an ‘excuse’, will count as absences. After your second absence, absences will count -2% against your final score for the course for each absence, unless you can provide documentation of an unavoidable absence. Please keep in mind that unexcused absences add up very quickly and will have a negative impact on your final grade!
What is an unavoidable absence? Those caused by a bona fide medical problem (including flu) or some other personal problem (psychological counseling, death or illness in the family etc.), or official university activity such as a sports or research trip (in which you are a participant). I will ask you to provide written documentation of such absences, such as a physician’s memo stating that you needed to miss class. In any case, it is very important that you communicate with me, either by telephone or e-mail, when you must be absent.
Reasons which will not under any circumstances be considered unavoidable include schedule conflicts with your job, or car or house difficulties. I reserve the right to determine whether or not to excuse an absence.
NOTE: If you must be absent for an exam, you must provide written documentation of the reason for the absence, and you must make up the exam within a week of your return to the university. If you do not do so, you may not make up the exam, and it will be recorded as a zero.
Coming Late to Class
It is expected that you attend class punctually every day. Therefore, coming to class three times more than ten minutes late will be counted as one absence.
Add/Drop Policy and Incompletes
Any student may add or drop a course in the School of Humanities up to the end of the second week of classes with the instructor's signature. Requests to add or drop after the second week will be granted only for exceptional circumstances.
Except in certain cases of hardship or illness, no incompletes will be given in this course.
All School of Humanities and Humanities major requirements must be taken for letter grades.
Academic dishonesty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the University of California, Irvine. Cheating, forgery, dishonest conduct, plagiarism, and collusion in dishonest activities erode the University's educational, research, and social roles. They devalue the learning experience and its legitimacy not only for the perpetrators but for the entire community. It is essential that all members of the academic community subscribe to the ideal of academic integrity and accept individual responsibility for their work. Please familiarize yourself with the UCI Policy on Academic Honesty.
Note: The use of any translation program and/or website for the purposes of producing and submitting language that is not your own is also considered plagiarism. Consult with your instructor for guidance on productive ways to use online tools for language learning.
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disability Services Center at 949/824-7494 as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.
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