This is the Course Information and Syllabus for the EVENING SECTION of German 101 (Section 006)!
|“With every mistake we must surely be learning.” [George Harrison]|
Unterrichtsmaterialien [=Class/Lesson Materials]
|Semesterplan & Daily Lesson Plan Outlines Herbst 2020|
|Index of Video Lectures and Vocabulary Resources||Index of “Videos zum Spaß”|
Course Components and Logistics
Course Methods, Policies, Help, Resources and Advice
Vorsprung, 4th Edition + MindTap
Janosch: Oh, wie schön ist Panama [Paperback edition; ISBN: 9783407760067] (P)
If you want a paper dictionary, try:
|Zorach & Melin: English Grammar for Students of German, 6th ed. See below for more info!|
|Gabriel Wyner: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It [ISBN: 0385348118]|
|Attendance & Participation||15%|
|Preparing a delicious SPAM-based feast||0%|
Letter Grade / Point Value Conversions
You will receive letter grades for essays and role plays. These will be entered into Canvas as follows:
Canvas will convert your numerical final grades to letter grades as follows (Please note: at the final grade stage, there will be only minimal “rounding up”: e.g. 92.95-92.99 may be rounded up to a straight A, but 92.50, 92.60, 92.70, 92,80, 92.90, 92.94 would all translate into an A-, not an A):
We expect you to check Canvas regularly for:
- Assignments in your assignment calendar (this includes reading the information/instructions in assignments for which there is nothing to submit!)
- Announcements: Enable notifications and check your email inbox daily OR: visit Canvas daily to check for new Announcements.
- Gradebook: Please check regularly to make sure you have gotten credit for all assignments you have submitted, tests you have taken etc. Notify your instructor within a week of a grade being entered if you think there may be a mistake.
- “A&P Tally”: Your instructor will enter a weekly “Attendance & Participation Tally” grade, as described below. They will use the “comment” section of the assignment to explain any deductions from the maximum number of points available each week. If you wish to contest an “A&P Tally” grade, YOU MUST DO SO WITHIN ONE WEEK OF IT BEING ENTERED. ==> Please check your “A&P Tally” grades regularly!
- ==> Please check Canvas regularly for notifications about instructor comments. Gradebook comments do not generate email notifications ==> log into Canvas to see them!
Oral Tests will consist of two informal conversations in your instructor’s office. Practicing for the oral exams using the “Sprechtestindexkarten” on Canvas is an excellent way to review what we have learned and to build your confidence in all aspects of German. You will sign up to take the oral exams in pairs (10-15 minute conversation) or groups of three (15-20 minute conversation); if that is not possible, you may take them individually (5-8 minute conversation). You may retake each of the two oral exams ONCE if you are not satisfied with how you did!
The evening section of German 101 will meet via Zoom all semester.
- If you are in Ann Arbor, please note the Sites @ Home laptop loan program, which aims to make it easy for students on/near campus to borrow a Windows laptop for up to two semesters – and let your friends know about it!
Attendance at all online class meetings is required during the scheduled class time. Please note carefully the following expectations. If you anticipate problems meeting any of these expectations, please let your instructor know, and please don’t worry: of course exceptions will be necessary and possible for many reasons (e.g. connectivity issues, equipment or space limitations, religious or medical reasons, family constraints etc.)!
- Find a place where you can participate in class uninterrupted and where you can freely speak and practice your German during class.
- If possible, arrange a working space with a desk. There should be space for writing notes and for your textbook.
- Please use the paper textbook, not the eBook during class. Your screen and browser tabs should be as uncluttered as possible in order to efficiently navigate between your Zoom screen, the class Google doc and any other resources used in class.
- Before class begins, please close all unrelated programs on your computer and mute your phone.
- You should be clearly visible on video during class. This is essential for interactions in a language course.
- If bandwidth issues come up during class and you have to stop your video, please write “Entschuldigung! Mein Internet ist schlecht [=bad]. Ich muss mein Video abschalten [=switch off]” in the Zoom chat.
- For privacy, you could use a “Zoom background.” Click on “Choose Virtual Background” in the popup menu next to the “Stop Video” button in the Zoom toolbar, and choose/upload an appropriate image. Unfortunately, this option does not work on all computers.
- If you need to leave class briefly, please write “Ich komme gleich zurück” [=I’ll be right back] in the Zoom chat, mute your video, then step away.
- Please give some thought to clothing, lighting etc. Your face should be clearly visible (exceptions to all these expectations are possible – see above!!). Please dress as you would dress for an in-person class (pajama pants are OK!), even if the weather is hot!
- If you are uncomfortable with this policy, or any of our course policies, for any reason, please discuss options with your instructor – we will be glad to hear from you!!
- Please note the following guidelines in order to avoid distracting others during class:
- Set your device on a flat surface, to keep the image stable.
- Your audio should generally be ON (unless your instructor mutes your/everyone’s audio or asks you/everyone to mute their audio) ==> Your environment should be quiet if possible. If this is not possible, please mute your audio when you are not speaking.
- Please do not eat (or smoke or vape!) during class. Having a beverage at hand is fine.
Breakout Room Advice
- If you are in a Zoom Breakout Room and you finish the assigned task before the rooms are closed, please reverse roles with your partner(s) and repeat the task that way (if possible), and/or simply keep repeating the task until the room closes. This repetition will be very beneficial to your learning, and for developing fluency. If repeating the task does not make sense, improvise a conversation in German :)
- Note the “Ask for help” button, which appears in your Zoom Toolbar when you enter a breakout room and allows you to ask your instructor to join your breakout room to answer any questions you may have!
Attendance and Participation Policy and Grading; Evening Section Exam Conflicts; Laptops and Cell Phones
- Speaking and listening in class are the most important part of this course. We will keep track of your attendance and participation by an “A&P Tally” grade on Canvas, as follows:
- Each day, you will earn four “attendance points” for coming to class, and four “participation points” for participating actively.
- If you are absent unexcused, you lose all eight attendance & participation points for that day (4 if you just miss one hour)
- If you are absent for an excused reason (e.g. self-quarantine, connectivity issues (for online classes), documented medical, psychological or family issues; religious holidays; family events such as weddings, funerals or graduations; job interviews; musical performances or athletic events in which you are participating, etc.), you will still earn all eight “A&P Tally” points for that day.
- As a courtesy to your instructor, please explain ALL absences, even if the reason is e.g. oversleeping, or work for another course, a trip, going to a concert etc.!
- Lateness: Loss of 1-8 points for that day, depending on how late you were.
- Inattention (inappropriate cell phone or laptop use, “zoning out,” etc.): Loss of 1-4 participation points for that day.
- Difficulty participating: The “A&P Tally” grade is primarily an effort grade, but it does have an achievement component. If you are in class and making an effort to participate, but you have noticeable linguistic difficulties understanding and carrying out partner activities and/or responding when called on in class, you will lose two (or one) participation points per week.
- BUT: We expect mistakes! Research has shown that language acquisition happens in a predictable sequence of stages. Each stage is characterized by certain patterns of mistakes. So: you have to make mistakes in order to learn!! ==> Difficulty participating (on an ongoing basis) may reduce your A&P grade. Making mistakes will not!
- Absence Make-Ups/Participation Bonus: You can earn 2 make-up/bonus participation points for attending events such as
- “German Convo on the Go” and “German Convo Home Edition”
- Max Kade Kaffeestunde or Deutschtisch
- German Club events
- Actively engaging with an instructor in the German Lab for more than 30 minutes
- Attending your instructor’s office hours for more than 30 minutes
- Occasional special events, as announced by your instructor
- You can earn a maximum of 10 make-up/bonus points in the first 2 calendar months of the semester, and up to 10 more in the second 2 calendar months of the semester.
- Your instructor will enter “A&P Tally” grades weekly. They will enter a “Comment” in the “A&P Tally” score for that week whenever the grade is different from the “standard” four points per class hour. If you wish to contest an “A&P Tally” grade, YOU MUST DO SO WITHIN ONE WEEK OF IT BEING ENTERED. ==> Please check your “A&P Tally” grades regularly!
- ***If you have lost a net total of 40 or more points (the equivalent of 5 unexcused absences) in your “A&P Tally” by the end of the semester, your FINAL COURSE GRADE will be an AUTOMATIC E***
- We will translate your final “A&P Tally” grade into your actual Attendance & Participation grade for the semester as follows:
- “A&P Tally” of 96 percent or more ==> 96 percent for the final Attendance & Participation grade (i.e. an “A”)
- Only in very exceptional cases (“A+” level of participation throughout the semester), your instructor may enter a higher final grade of 97-100.
- 95 percent or less: Your final Attendance & Participation grade will be the same as your “A&P Tally” grade.
- “A&P Tally” of 96 percent or more ==> 96 percent for the final Attendance & Participation grade (i.e. an “A”)
Evening Section Exam Conflicts
If you’re enrolled in a course that schedules tests outside of class time (e.g. Math, Chemistry, Physics), please ask for a schedule of exams now. Once you have it, please inform the instructor of the dates when you have class, so they can arrange an alternate exam time for you (and any other students with similar conflicts). If they absolutely refuse, please ask them to email your German instructor, so your absence for the exam can be excused.
Laptops and Cell Phones
- Inappropriate laptop/cell phone use (e.g. texting, chatting, checking social media or sports scores, answering the phone) will lower your attendance/participation grade, as described above!
- Please silence your cell phone when class begins. It’s OK if you forget this once or twice and it rings during class (it may even happen to your instructor…): just silence it quickly (or answer it in German if your instructor encourages you to do so!), apologize auf Deutsch (“Entschuldigung!”) and try not to let it happen again. If you MUST answer a call, please leave the room to do so, and please explain the reason to your instructor afterwards.
- Check out the “Pocketpoints” app: earn food discounts and other rewards for locking your phone in class!
Class sessions will be auto-recorded and made available to other students in this course. As part of your participation in this course, you may be recorded. If you do not wish to be recorded, please contact your instructor during the first week of class (or as soon as you enroll in the course, if you enroll after the first week of classes) to discuss alternative arrangements.
Students are prohibited from recording/distributing any class activity without written permission from the instructor, except as necessary as part of approved accommodations for students with disabilities. Any approved recordings may only be used for the student’s own private use.
- All Assignments will be submitted as Google Docs via Canvas.
- To keep you homework files organized and automatically share your homework and essay Google Docs with your instructor, create a folder on your Google Drive with
- our course name,
- your preferred first name (the name you would like your instructor to use for you in class),
- and the initial letter(s) of your last name,
- e.g. “Deutsch 101 Jesse LH”
- AND give edit access to this folder to your section instructor.
- For worksheet assignments, click on the worksheet (a Google Doc), go to File > Make a Copy, add your first name and last name initial(s) to the end of the suggested name, and save the document to your “Deutsch 101 [your name]” folder (My Drive > Deutsch 101 [your name]). Click OK when the system asks you if you want to create and share the new document. Complete the worksheet, then submit it on Canvas.
- For other assignments (e.g. essays), create a new document, include your first name and last name initial(s) at the end of the file name, and save the document in your “Deutsch 101 [your name]” folder. Click OK when the system asks you if you want to create and share the new document. [If you accidentally create the document elsewhere on your Google Drive, just move it into the shared “Deutsch 101 [your name]” folder and click OK when the system asks you if you want to create and share the new document.]
- Please remember to “Submit” your Google Doc via Canvas when you are done! Go to the Assignment on Canvas and click “Submit.” You will see 4 tabs: Website URL, Active Learning Platform, Box, and Google Drive. Choose Google Drive, and navigate to your document to submit it.
Homework is graded on a scale of “check”/”check +”/”check -“:
- “Check” (2 points on Canvas): the “normal” homework grade
- “Check +” (3): the assignment has been done exceptionally well
- “Check –” (1): the assignment is late, incomplete, or done poorly
- Homework will not be accepted if it is more than two class days late (unless there is a good reason)
- Missing assignments receive 0 points on Canvas
- We will translate your final “Homework Tally” grade into your actual Homework grade for the semester as follows:
- 125-150% ==> 100% for the final Homework grade
- 115-124.99% ==> 98% for the final Homework grade
- 96-114.99% ==> 96% for the final Homework grade (i.e. an “A”)
- 95.99% or less: Your final Homework grade will be the same as your “Homework Tally” grade.
- ==> To make sure you are on track for an “A” for your homework grade, look for an average of 96% or above in your overall Canvas Homework Tally grade.
The best and most motivating way to learn all aspects of language (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, fluency, etc.) is by speaking. We will use as much class time as possible to let you speak. We use a lot of partner and group activities, so that you can speak for most of each class hour, rather than just once or twice when your instructor calls on you. The activities are meant to be interesting and fun. You will learn the most by relaxing, having fun, and experimenting with new words and structures without worrying too much about mistakes.
The in-class activities are designed to let you actively practice the chapter vocabulary. Building your vocabulary is the most important part of learning a language, MUCH more important than learning grammar. Please ask about unfamiliar words, and please try to experiment with new vocabulary we are learning during these activities. This will save you a lot of memorization time before the tests – AND it will make it much easier to learn and practice grammar!
We spend very little time explaining grammar in class, but we will constantly be practicing it. Research has shown that grammar is learned most efficiently and lastingly by using it to communicate, not by explanations and drills. You will watch video explanations at home, and practice with worksheets and online exercises. Watch the videos attentively: pause, rewind, take notes, write down questions, and review them regularly. Class activities will clear up many questions “automatically.” When the class needs it, your instructor will provide explicit explanations. Please ask questions when you have them: that is essential to making this work! You should focus on communicating in class, but also notice consciously how the activities review and practice new and old grammar.
Language Learning Anxiety
Researchers have found that about 1/3 of students feel anxious when learning a new language, in part because their limited language proficiency keeps them from “being themselves” when using the new language. They suggest two things that may be helpful in this context:
- Know that you are not alone. Consider letting your instructor know how you feel.
- Anxiety is often connected to perfectionism. As we will keep telling you throughout this course, your goal in speaking German should not be to “avoid mistakes,” but rather, to “keep talking”!
- HAVE FUN!! Make up amusing sentences. Notice cultural differences. Notice words you like. Enjoy funny mistakes you make. Notice your progress. Listen for interesting things your classmates say, and for differences and things you have in common. Get to know new music, movies, cartoons, stories, characters. See how your ideas evolve when you try to express them simply in a new language. Think in German, or “Denglisch” [Deutsch + Englisch]. Say random things in German to your friends. Try fun activities from class in your “regular” life. Daydream about living in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, or make actual plans to go there – ETC.!
- ASK QUESTIONS!! For every question you ask, there are likely to be multiple other students who will be grateful you asked it.
- FIGHT PERFECTIONISM! (1) Don’t worry about mistakes. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning a language. The more you speak, the more you learn; the less you obsess about mistakes, the more you can speak and the more conversations you can have. (2) When you hear or read German, make it your goal to understand the message, as opposed to trying to understand every word. Research has shown that students who look up every unknown word when they read actually understand and retain LESS than students who look up only the words they need in order to follow the text. Use your knowledge and common sense to help you fill in the gaps, as you would in English e.g. when you are having a conversation in a noisy place. If you know what a word probably means, don’t look it up unless what you read or hear later suggests that your guess must have been wrong.
- …BUT DO PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL! Fight perfectionism in the ways described above – but DO pay just enough attention to little details so that your brain can slowly, unconsciously notice and absorb them. 98% of your attention should go to the meaning of what you’re saying and hearing – but leave 2% for the details: the forms of articles, the endings of verbs, nouns and adjectives. That tiny bit of “noticing” in the back of your mind can make a huge difference over time. When your instructor repeats something you’ve said, try to notice whether any changes they make are corrections, or just a different way of saying the same thing. If you’re writing an essay, DO take the time to look up verb forms, and the genders and plurals of nouns; if you’re doing a regular homework assignment, just pick one or two things to look up that feel important to you.
- Find a study partner! You’ll have more fun, two heads are better than one, and you never learn a thing as well as when you try to explain it to someone else.
- Click on this page with General Language Learning Advice for additional ideas, including headings such as
- DO NOT MULTITASK!!
- Work in small chunks
- Grammar matters. Vocabulary matters more!
This class really depends on all of us being comfortable interacting informally with each other, experimenting with the language, taking risks, and being playful. That makes what is important in every college classroom especially important for us: that the classroom should be a comfortable environment in which everyone feels welcome and respected. That means thinking about the things we say, not perpetuating stereotypes, and apologizing if we say something we didn’t mean. It also means that we really want you to let your instructor know, in class or outside of class, in person or via email, if something happens in class that makes you uncomfortable – or if you believe your own words or actions have made someone else in the class feel uncomfortable – so that we can talk about how to make things better. If in doubt, please say something: your instructor will always be happy to hear from you.
- Please look carefully at these Guidelines for Classroom Interactions!
- In this context, please bear in mind the University of Michigan’s non-discrimination policy: The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.
One simple way to maintain an open and inclusive classroom environment is to be mindful and respectful of our classmates’ gender identity and preferred pronouns for class discussion and speaking activities. This will also be good practice for all of us to have before visiting the German-speaking countries. The German language does not yet include any generally accepted pronoun options for non-binary gender identities (in part because the case system makes this complicated), but many options have been proposed. If you identify outside the gender binary or have any other concerns about gender pronouns, your instructor will be happy to meet with you to find a solution that empowers you to comfortably participate in in-class language practice. This will include planning for how best to communicate this solution to your classmates, and how to set realistic expectations in a context where language mistakes of all kinds are an important and expected part of the learning process.
In the German language, nouns denoting people and professions also frequently have different forms based on a binary grammatical gender (e.g. der Student = the male student, die Studentin = the female student). In addition to being inherently problematic as regards non-binary gender identities, this has in the past led to absurd conventions such as using the male plural for mixed-gender groups, or ignoring the female forms of nouns when making general references to students, members of a profession etc. Your instructor will attempt to model an inclusive use of gendered nouns. This can be difficult to do consistently in German, and people differ as to how it should be done. Your instructor may also intentionally use multiple approaches. Please let your instructor know if you have any questions about this as you proceed through the course!
- “German Convo on the Go” and “German Convo Home Edition” will each take place weekly – look for weekly emails with more details. “German Convo on the Go” will take place in person, outside; weather permitting, the group will go for a walk. “German Convo Home Edition” will take place remotely each week, regardless of the weather conditions on the internet (haha). All students at all levels are welcome to come and chat in German.
- German Club works to connect students of all levels with a passion for German language and culture to opportunities for language practice, cultural events, and networking! This semester, our events have been adjusted to allow for fully remote participation, and we encourage you to come to as many or few as you would like! In addition to virtual Stammtisch (German conversation table), we will offer online game nights where you can win German Club swag, virtual German cook-alongs, tutoring, and more. Additionally, 101-232 students can make up absences by participating in German Club events. E-mail the German Club E-Board at email@example.com for more information and follow @umichgerman on Instagram to see what we are up to!
- The Max Kade Haus is the University’s German Residence, located in North Quad. It hosts a weekly “Kaffeestunde” (informal conversation hour, perhaps with coffee) and a weekly “Deutschtisch” (same as Kaffeestunde, but over dinner), where residents and guests can chat informally in German. Don’t be intimidated: try it out and have fun! These events will take place virtually this Fall.
- Look for a sign-in sheet at these events. The facilitator will inform your instructor that you were there. You can make up 2 “A&P Tally” points by attending (for the full hour) OR you can write an AMD post about it (NOT BOTH!).
- For more information about the Kade house, check out its website – see the link in the footer!
- Your instructor’s office hours: Please take advantage of this resource – don’t be shy!!
- German Lab: Mon – Thu 1-4 pm. The German Lab meets virtually – sign up for the German Lab here. You can go to the German Lab for help with any kind of German-related question. You can ask for help with assignments, for grammar explanations, or you can just go to practice speaking.
- Language Program Director: Hartmut Rastalsky (3214 MLB; 647-0404). Your instructor may pass some questions on to Hartmut. Let Hartmut know if you notice broken links or find a great learning resource!
- English Grammar for Students of German: This book explains English grammar simply, with lots of English & German examples to compare and contrast. It’s the ideal remedy if you’re having difficulty understanding the grammar explanations you encounter in class and for homework. We recommend that you read the relevant sections of the book quickly, like a novel, but that you read them multiple times, to let the material slowly sink in. The book is available at the campus bookstores as recommended reading for this course. You can borrow a copy in order to decide if you would like to buy the book – just ask your instructor!
- LS&A Academic Advising ((734) 764-0332; 1255 Angell Hall). If you are falling behind or doing poorly in one or more courses, or just want advice on how to study more effectively, please make an appointment to see an academic advisor as soon as possible: the earlier you try to address the problem, the better your chances of solving it. If you are not an LS&A student, please consult the Academic Advising Office for your school.
If you may need an accommodation for a disability, please let your instructor know. Tests and other aspects of this course may be modified to facilitate your participation and progress. Appropriate accommodations are determined by the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office, in consultation with instructors. SSD (ssd.umich.edu; (734) 763-3000; G-664 Haven Hall) typically recommends accommodations through a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) form. If/When you receive a VISA form from SSD, please present it to your instructor as soon as possible, so they can implement the appropriate accommodations. Any information you provide is private and confidential and will be treated as such.
If you begin to notice a disproportion between how hard you are working and the results you are achieving, but you are unsure whether or not to contact SSD, please consider the following:
- A diagnosis from SSD may make you eligible for accommodations that will help you more accurately demonstrate your abilities in all your courses.
- In addition to diagnosing a disability and recommending possible accommodations, SSD can direct you to advice and resources that may help you to minimize the effects of this disability over the years, and to harness the abilities and talents that often accompany such disabilities.
- It is possible that SSD may not diagnose a disability. This may help you to decide on next steps, such as contacting Academic Advising or Counseling Services, or seeking advice from your instructors, your family, your friends, or others.
The University of Michigan is committed to advancing the mental health and wellbeing of its students. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or in need of support, services are available. For help, contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (734) 764-8312 and https://caps.umich.edu/ during and after hours, on weekends and holidays, or through its counselors physically located in schools on both Central and North Campus. You may also consult University Health Service (UHS) at (734) 764-8320 and www.uhs.umich.edu/mentalhealthsvcs, or for alcohol or drug concerns, see www.uhs.umich.edu/aodresources.
For a listing of other mental health resources available on and off campus, visit: http://umich.edu/~mhealth/
The University of Michigan is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment. Title IX and our school policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, and all forms of sexual misconduct, including harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We encourage students who have experienced some form of sexual misconduct to talk to someone about their experience, so they can get the support they need.
The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) provides free and confidential crisis intervention, advocacy, and support for survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment who are University of Michigan students, faculty and staff. SAPAC can be reached on their 24-hour crisis line,734-936-3333 and at http://sapac.umich.edu/. Violations can also be non-confidentially reported to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reports to law enforcement can be made to the University of Michigan Police Department at 734-763-3434.
This course is governed by the prevailing Codes of Student Conduct and of Academic Integrity of the University of Michigan and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA). All work submitted must be original student work produced for this course, with proper quotation and citation of the contributions of others. Violations of Academic Integrity will be taken seriously and can in serious cases result in a failing grade for the course and/or referral to the LSA Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education. Click here to see the official LSA pages on Academic Integrity, including a quiz on Academic Integrity.
ESSAYS: The four essays you submit for this course are where this policy crucially applies. It is your responsibility to demonstrate that your essay is your work by following the instructions for citing sources carefully. Failure to do so may result in a citation for academic dishonesty. These instructions are integrated into each essay assignment. The instructions for essays in this course are available here.
Test Essays and Homework: No Need to Cite Sources! The above instructions for citing sources apply only to the four essay assignments in this course. They do NOT apply to regular homework assignments, or to essays you draft for the chapter tests. Read on for more details!
Test Essays: Test review sheets for this course will always include the essay topics for the test. You are allowed (and even encouraged!) to get help from others when drafting your test essays. Online translator use is also permitted, but discouraged. As with regular essays, you should view test essays as an opportunity to put into practice what you have learned. Leaf through the course materials to find ideas. You can be very creative in this way, and you will learn much more from writing the essays. Applying something you have learned will “make it stick,” much more than new words and phrases you look up.
- If you do use an online translator for a longer phrase or sentence when drafting a test essay, take a moment to reflect consciously on how the resulting German phrase/sentence works, what you can learn from it, and whether you could have said the same thing more simply using what we have learned: this will make the difference between learning more and learning less!
Homework: You are allowed (and even encouraged!) to get help from others and to collaborate with classmates on homework; you may also use online translators and other sources without citing them. Although you are not required to cite your sources, we encourage you to do so if you have time. Your instructor can then give you feedback on your use of these resources. In many cases, this feedback will be positive: they may encourage you to continue getting help from the person who helped you, or may let you know that you are using translation resources well (which is a difficult and valuable skill to learn). If your instructor is concerned that you are getting too much help and/or making excessive use of online translators and not learning as much as you could from the assignments, they will discuss this with you.