Deutsch 232: Wissenschaftsdeutsch: Kursinformation
Course-Specific Resources & Information
General Policies and Resources
|Attendance & Participation||10%|
|Homework (including “free reading journals”)||15%|
|Fighting Plate Tectonics||0%|
Letter Grade / Point Value Conversions
You will receive letter grades for essays and presentations. These will be entered into Canvas as follows:
Canvas will convert your numerical final grades to letter grades as follows:
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: The easiest way to keep track of these is to enable notifications. 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, quizzes 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!
Class sessions will be audio/video 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.
Our class will meet in person, but we will meet via Zoom after Thanksgiving.
- Some additional class sessions may take place online, e.g. to facilitate pair/group work, or at times when a significant fraction of the class is in self-quarantine, i.e. well enough to participate, but unable to attend.
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.
- 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. 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!
- 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 two “attendance points” for coming to class, and two “participation points” for participating actively.
- If you are absent unexcused, you lose all four attendance & participation points for that day.
- If you are absent for an excused reason (e.g. 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 the two attendance points for that day, but you cannot earn participation points if you are not in class.
- 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, a concert etc.!
- Lateness: Loss of 1-4 points for that day, depending on how late you were.
- Inattention (inappropriate cell phone or laptop use, “zoning out,” etc.): Loss of one or both participation points for that day.
- Difficulty participating: The “A&P Tally” grade is primarily an effort grade, but it is also an achievement grade. 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” hours
- Max Kade Kaffeestunde or Deutschtisch
- German Club events
- Grammatik-Fanatik hour
- 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, i.e. you can earn a maximum of 20 make-up/bonus points in this way over the course 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 10 unexcused absences) in your “A&P Tally” by the end of the semester, your FINAL COURSE GRADE will be an AUTOMATIC E***
- Your instructor 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”)
Laptops and Cell Phones
- Please bring a laptop or tablet to class if possible, so that we can work without paper. Please let me know if this is not easy for you, so that we can figure out a solution. 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!
- Inappropriate laptop/cell phone use (e.g. texting, chatting, checking Facebook 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!
- 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.
- 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 adviser 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.
Finding the Homework
The easiest way to see the homework is via Canvas > Calendar > Agenda. Note that there are assignments every day: work through them systematically one by one.
- Your “To Do” list on Canvas shows upcoming Assignments. NOTE: Assignments are due at the beginning of class!
- If you’ve missed an assignment, your instructor will enter a “0” for it. To see what it was, click on the link to the Assignment. This gets you to a useless “Submission Details” page, from which you can then click on the actual link to the Assignment at the top of the page.
- The “Assignments” tab also shows current and past Assignments.
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.
There will be regular quizzes, each covering the most recent vocab, grammar and readings. The first two quizzes will focus primarily on the “Basic Scientific Vocabulary.”
- Dict.cc is easiest to use, has great “crowd-sourced” pronunciation samples, is great for technical terms, and has lots of handy tools (Note the “Wildcard Search” and “Desktop Integration” options!).
- PONS is great for choosing the right word.
- Linguee shows you translations in context.
- LEO provides easier access to noun plurals and verb conjugations, is great for technical terms, and has a great forum for tricky questions.
- If in doubt, check your results by a Google search and/or by comparing German and English Wikipedia entries.
For the Knoff-Hoff experiments in the middle of the semester, similar grading criteria apply as for the final project. These presentations should take 10-20 minutes, including the actual experiment. You don’t have to use PowerPoint (but you can, especially if you want to bring in some images/diagrams in support of your presentation), but you should again produce a handout with a summary, vocab list, and questions for the class to answer after your presentation.
The final project should be a group PowerPoint/Google Slides presentation roughly 20 minutes in length on a scientific topic of interest to your group. Grades will be assigned as follows:
|comprehensibility||40% [see below for more details]|
You should focus your efforts on making what you say comprehensible to the other students in the class. In particular, this includes
- giving your presentation based on minimal notes. Your slides should contain no more than a skeletal outline of what you will say. If you need additional notes on cue cards, these should be kept to an absolute minimum. If you are reading your presentation, it will be difficult for the rest of the class to follow, and your “comprehensibility” grade will be a “C” or lower.
- making a handout.
- This handout should include
- a list of 10-20 vocabulary items. This should also be the first slide of your presentation, and you should begin your presentation by having the class repeat this vocabulary–so be sure you can pronounce it!
- a 5-8 line summary of your main points. This should also be the second slide of your presentation, and you should read it to the class ==> it should not exceed 8 lines
- some questions to be answered by the class at the end of your presentation. These questions should also be the last slide of your presentation.
- You should bring copies of the handout to class to accompany your presentation. Please email the handout to your instructor well in advance of the presentation, so that they can correct it before you copy it for the class.
- If you do not make a handout, your “comprehensibility” grade will be a “C” or lower.
- This handout should include
If there are 3 of you and you plan for each of you to speak for about 4 minutes, chances are that each of you will end up taking about 5 minutes. Including the time it will take for
- you to have the class repeat the vocabulary on your handout before you begin
- the class to answer the questions on your handout when you are finished
- the class (and your instructor) to ask you questions afterwards
…this should make your presentation be of the appropriate length.
It is a very good idea for you to practice giving your presentation several times before you actually give it. You can either do this as a group, or individually. You should try actually saying out loud (quietly if necessary) all the words you will say in your presentation, using only the minimal notes on your slides or note cards. Use a stopwatch when you do this, to make sure your part of the presentation takes about 4-5 minutes–not more!
Past topics have included, for example
- A Rube Goldberg machine [a very complicated machine to do something really simple]
- DNA (OR: Stem cells) (OR: Genetic mutations) (OR: Genetic algorithms)
- ESP, Telekinesis, Clairvoyance, and Other Unexplained Mental Powers (OR: Aliens, UFOS)
- Wie man Eis macht (How to make ice cream)
- Mathematical Models (OR: Numerical Patterns in Nature)
- The Science of Cooking (OR: Nutrition)
- The Psychological Effects of Violent Video Games/Music/Movies on Teenagers and/or Young Adults
- Dinosaurs in Popular Films: Fact or Fiction?
- Forensic Science (OR: “CSI Deutschland”)
- Topics within Archaeology/Anthropology/Architecture
- The daily life of astronauts in space (OR: The Hubble Telescope)
- Intro to Rocket Science
- Personality Types (OR: How (Human) Memory Works)
- The Large Hadron Collider
- Lasers (OR: Radar)
- Hydrogen as an energy source
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!
- Note: If there are students in your section whom you know from your previous German course(s), then of course it’s great if you continue to enjoy working with these old friends – but please also make an effort to meet new people in this section, and be open to making new friends!
- 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.
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.
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.
The in-class activities are also 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!
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 / die Studentin). 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 her know if you have any questions about this as you proceed through the course!
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual misconduct — including harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We understand that sexual violence can undermine students’ academic success and we encourage anyone dealing with sexual misconduct to talk to someone about their experience, so they can get the support they need. Confidential support and academic advocacy can be found with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) on their 24-hour crisis line, 734.936.3333 and at sapac.umich.edu.
Alleged violations can be non-confidentially reported to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 (see the topics here): The four essays (and rewrites of these essays) that you submit for this course are where this policy crucially applies. This means:
- You may NOT get someone who is proficient in German to proofread your essay. We recognize that you can actually learn a lot from having someone look over your essay with you, but we have to enforce this rule in order to make the grading fair for everyone. It IS OK for you to ask me, an instructor in the German Lab, or some other proficient speaker 3 or 4 specific questions on how to say something. If you do so, please put the relevant text in bold print in your essay and include a note at the end with the name of the instructor or peer who helped you. If the person who helped you is a UofM German instructor and they chose to help you with more than 3 or 4 things, you may cite the additional items in the same way.
- You may ONLY use an online dictionary or translator for single words and short phrases. When you do, please underline the relevant word or phrase and note the source you used at the end of your essay. Do this also when you use a paper dictionary. If you used multiple dictionary/translation resources, find a way to cite clearly which ones you used for what word/phrase. Note that online translators often produce noticeably absurd translations. The less you use them, the better your grade is likely to be!
- It is normal (and good practice!) to look up the genders and plurals of nouns, and the conjugation patterns of verbs you use in your essay. You do NOT need to cite your use of online or paper dictionaries for this purpose!
- I strongly encourage you to use a German spellchecker for your essays (and for your homework, and also for any spells you cast in German). You do NOT need to cite your use of this resource.
- If you consult any additional resources not assigned in the course (e.g. Wikipedia or other online sources), please cite them at the end of your essay, even if you did not quote from them directly. Put any direct quotes in quotation marks and cite the source with a footnote. Any format for the citation is acceptable if it allows me to find the specific source.
- ***If you have no sources to cite (you didn’t look anything up in a dictionary, no one helped you, and you consulted no other sources), please write “I did not consult any outside sources for this essay :) ” at the end!***
- If in doubt, ASK ME before submitting your essay!!
- ADVICE: You will get the most out of writing the essays for this course by creatively using the language you have learned, and thus “making it your own.” Applying something you have learned will “make it stick,” much more than new words and phrases you look up. When you write about a German article you have read, look for opportunities to express the ideas from the article more simply in your own words. Where that is not possible or appropriate, integrate the language of the article as much as you can into your own language, so that you are actually practicing and thus learning how to use the new terminology you are taking from the article. Looking up lots of new words and phrases for your essay means you will do more work, learn less, and (usually) get a lower grade!
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, it is still good practice to do so, and I can then give you feedback on your use of these resources. In many cases, this feedback will be positive: I 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 I am 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, I will discuss this with you.
Hartmut Rastalsky (3214 MLB; 647-0404).
Students may experience stressors that can impact both their academic experience and their personal well-being. These may include academic pressures and challenges associated with relationships, mental health, alcohol or other drugs, identities, finances, etc. If you are experiencing concerns, seeking help is a courageous thing to do for yourself and those who care about you. If the source of your stressors is academic, please contact your instructor so that we can find solutions together. For personal concerns, U-M offers a variety of resources, many which are listed on the Resources for Student Well-being webpage. You can also search for additional well-being resources here.
The University of Michigan is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all classes, programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office located at G664 Haven Hall. The SSD phone number is 734-763-3000. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (VISA) form. Please present this form to your instructor at the beginning of the term, or at least two weeks prior to the need for the accommodation (test, project, etc…).
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.
LSA is committed to delivering our mission while aiming to protect the health and safety of the community, which includes minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Our entire LSA community is responsible for protecting the collective health of all members by being mindful and respectful in carrying out the guidelines laid out in our Wolverine Culture of Care and the University’s Face Covering Policy for COVID-19. Individuals seeking to request an accommodation related to the face covering requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the Office for Institutional Equity.
In our classrooms all students are expected to adhere to the required safety measures and guidelines of the State of Michigan and the University of Michigan, including sanitizing their work areas, maintaining 6 feet or more of personal distance, wearing a face covering that covers the mouth and nose in all public spaces, and not coming to class when ill or in quarantine. This course will also limit group gatherings while being thoughtful about classroom activities and exercises that require collaboration.
Any student who is not able and willing to comply with campus safety measures for this in-person course should contact the course instructor or their academic advisor to discuss alternate participation or course options. Students who do not adhere to these safety measures while in a face-to-face class setting, and do not have an approved exception or accommodation, may be asked to disenroll from the class.
For additional information refer to the LSA Student Commitment to the Wolverine Culture of Care and the OSCR Addendum to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities on the OSCR website.