Elementary German

Course Details

Course Number
Fall 2015
Dillard College of Business Administration
Days & Times

MTWR 8:00-8:50 a.m.

Dr. Yvonne Franke (view Profile)

Course Objectives

This is a four-skills language course, in which you will develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in German for the purpose of exploring ideas that foster aesthetic and intellectual creation in order that students may understand the human condition across cultures. By the completion of this course, students who have attended classes regularly and successfully completed all listening, written, lab, and computer assignments, as well as ALL exams (with a minimum grade of B-) should be able to:


(a) Provide basic information about themselves, their families, interests, likes and dislikes, as well as daily activities in German;

(b) Understand and participate in a simple conversation on a variety of everyday topics (e.g. weather, meeting new people, shopping etc.)

(c) Read edited texts on familiar topics, understand the main ideas, and pick out important information from a variety of “authentic” texts (e.g. menus, signs, train schedules, etc.);

(d) Fill in forms requesting general information, as well as write letters, notes, postcards, or messages providing simple information;

(e) Provide general information about German-speaking countries (e.g. culture geography, size, weather, du/Sie distinctions, customs);

(f) Pronounce German well enough to be comprehensible to a German speaker accustomed to speaking to foreigners.

(g) Describe and illustrate aspects of the cultures of German-speaking countries and make comparisons between these cultures and his/her own culture using basic linguistic structures and vocabulary in the target language.

(h) Evaluate his/her own values, behaviors and worldviews on the socio-cultural topics presented and compare these to those of German-speakers.




Core objectives for the Language, Philosophy and Culture Foundational Component Area are addressed in this course according to the following descriptions. A global assessment tool that incorporates all required core objectives is used for assessment rather than objective specific assessment tools. This global assessment tool is called a Personal Reflection Essay for Assessment of Core Curriculum Objectives and will be written by students at the end of the course. Core objectives:


  • Critical Thinking:
    • Students will respond in the target language orally and in writing to questions and/or topics based upon in-class readings, presentations, and/or out-of-class assignments that require students to extract information, analyze and evaluate information, draw conclusions, and/or form opinions on the topic.
    • Students will inquire, analyze, evaluate and synthesize information from various resources available in the target language on a cultural topic of his/her choosing to be presented in a variety of modes to the instructor and/or class (e.g. art work, presentations, theatrical works, essays, music)


  • Communication Skills:
    • Students will demonstrate ability to effectively use memorized vocabulary, high-frequency expressions, accurate grammatical usage and idiomatic expressions in the target language to effectively develop, interpret and express ideas orally and in writing with culturally appropriate sensitivity.
    • Students will demonstrate effective interpretation of memorized vocabulary, high-frequency expressions, grammatical usage and idiomatic expression in the target language both aurally and in print through the use of culturally-bound print and multi-media.


  • Personal Responsibility
    • Students will demonstrate the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical-decision making by writing a personal reflection essay on a specific cultural topic that presents an ethical dilemma or issue for resolution.
    • In their personal reflection essay, students will identify their core beliefs and the origins of those core beliefs, recognize complex ethical issues and relationships between issues, state a position on an ethical issue and connect their position to implied actions and consequences.[1]


  • Social Responsibility
    • Students will demonstrate intercultural competence and knowledge of civic responsibility as demonstrated in the connections or comparisons made by the student between his/her own culture and the target culture
    • Students are encouraged to demonstrate intercultural competence and knowledge of civic responsibility by volunteering in the local, regional, national or global German-speaking community through the service projects of the MSU German Club, the German-American Club of Wichita Falls, and/or another campus or community organization.

[1] Modified from AACU Ethical Responsibility VALUE Rubric.


Course Expectations

REGULAR ATTENDANCE AND ACTIVE PARTICIPATION in class, written, lab, and computer assignments, short quizzes, chapter tests, essays, and a comprehensive written two-hour final exam.

Class Participation and Attendance

I will take attendance every day. Students are required to be in class for the entire 50-minute period. Students may be counted absent if arriving more than 10 minutes late or leaving class early. This syllabus serves as notice that a student may be dropped from the class without further notification if absent more than six times. Please note that if a student decides to drop the course, he/she must follow university procedure for dropping a course in order to receive a “W.” 


Absences due to official university functions or documented illness will be dealt with on an individual basis and should be discussed with the instructor outside of class time. There are no “excused absences” from regular class periods. If a student misses an exam, he/she must present documented proof of illness or university activity to the instructor before a make-up exam will be allowed.


Students will be expected to come to class prepared to participate actively in all discussions and activities. Participation grades will be given daily on a 0-10 scale based on both QUALITY and QUANTITY of your contributions, according to the following criteria:


0 = absent

6 = absolute minimal (present, but doesn’t contribute)

7= minimal (only contributes after being called on)

8 = average participation (contributes once)

9 = good participation (contributes twice)

         10 = outstanding participation (contributes three times or more)


Students may not use cell phones or smart phones during class time, unless explicitly encouraged by the instructor. Cell phones and smart phones need to be silenced and off the table during the entire class.


Daily Homework

Unless stated otherwise for some assignments, written homework is always due next class. Homework for each day is listed on the bi-weekly homework sheets, which are posted on D2L. I will not explicitly mention the individual homework assignments during class. It is your responsibility to check D2L every day and find the corresponding assignment. It is important to do your homework EVERY DAY, because the assignments are specifically designed to practice what has been covered during class and to prepare you for the next day of class. I will only accept the submission of assignments on the days they are due (which is usually the next day of class).

Grading of homework: Unlike your essays, you will not receive a letter grade, but are rather graded based on a + / √  / - / 0-scale. (+/plus = good; √  / check = satisfactory;  -/ minus = marginal/missing parts/lack of self-correction; 0 / zero = not handed in).

NOTE: This is a four-credit course. If you want to pass it successfully, be prepared to do approximately four hours of homework a week.


Any assignment for which an answer key is provided (Workbook) has to be self-corrected, using a different color (except red) BEFORE turning it in.


EXTRA CREDIT: Students may receive a BONUS of up to 10 percentage points on the FINAL EXAM. The amount of bonus points earned depends on the percentage of homework assignments completed. A bonus percentage point is earned for each 10% of total homework assignments completed. Thus, if 100% of homework assignments are completed, the student earns 10 percentage points. If only 90% of homework assignments are completed, the student earns 9 percentage points, and so on. In order to qualify for this bonus, the student MUST TURN IN A MINIMUM OF 50% OF ALL HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS. Note that this assures you of at least 5 bonus percentage points on the final exam. This bonus will be penalized by unexcused absences; each unexcused absence beyond the fifth will reduce the maximum earnable bonus percentage points by 1. Thus, a student with 4 unexcused absences can earn only 9 bonus percentage points, even if 100% of the homework assignments are completed.




You will write four essays completely in German language during the course of the semester. Students are expected to write a coherent text (of about 75 words, typed, double-spaced) on the assigned topic. The purpose of this activity is to strengthen your ability to use written German to communicate on a range of everyday topics.


There is no need for extensive use of dictionaries to find new vocabulary words.

Compositions will be graded on


- clarity

- quality and quantity of content provided

- appropriate use of familiar vocabulary

- grammatical accuracy

- spelling


You need to print out your essay and bring it to class or to my office the day it is due. Do not send it to me via e-mail, unless I allowed you to do so.


NOTE THAT EACH COMPOSITION MUST BE WRITTEN TWICE. The first time, students will receive comments about the content and indication of errors. The second time, students should have incorporated the suggestions and have made the appropriate corrections. Students will only receive a grade AFTER they have handed in their second, corrected version of a given essay. NO partial credit will be given if a student writes a rough draft but does not turn in a corrected final version of the assignment.


Writing and re-writing short essays provides excellent language practice and gives you the opportunity to use the language you are learning to convey your own thoughts and ideas. Take these composition assignments seriously, and don’t wait until the last minute to write them. Allow yourself enough time to write a couple of drafts before turning the paper in to your instructor.




There will be regular quizzes, which may be unannounced, in which you will show how you have mastered the material of the previous days. Quizzes may NOT be made up unless students can provide appropriate documentation for their absences. At the end of the term, the lowest quiz grade will be dropped.


Chapter Tests

There will be four chapter tests that will be administered on the dates announced. They will cover the material in individual chapters and will build upon previously covered material. All students from the various sections are tested and graded uniformly. Check the testing schedule on D2L.


No chapter tests will be made up without a valid medical excuse. You must e-mail me BEFORE the exam is administered. If you miss a quiz or test, and are not properly excused, your grade is calculated as 0.

Tests may be corrected within one week for a final 5% improvement of the grade. This can only be achieved if ALL errors have been corrected. The corrections have to be written on a separate sheet of paper, and each error needs to be corrected within a complete sentence.




Engage with any topic of the German-speaking world and give a short presentation (3-5 min.) in English language. You have the choice of either creating a poster, a PowerPoint, or a video to accompany your oral presentation. Discuss what strikes you most about this piece of culture, and how it is similar and/or different from your own culture. Introduce some related German vocabulary. You will display/perform your project during class at the end of the semester. This activity is meant to be a starting point for any possible further investigation, analysis, and synthesis during your study of German language and culture. You should choose a topic that really interests you (e.g. related to your major) and demonstrates that you have engaged with it intensely. Presentations will be held during the last week of classes of the semester.



Personal Reflection Essay for Assessment of Core Curriculum Objectives For this essay, to be written in English, you will be presented with different cultural scenarios, from which you will choose one. You will take a stance on the chosen topic, identify your core beliefs and the origins of those core beliefs, recognize the ethical issues presented and relationships between issues, state a position and connect it to implied actions and consequences. Write the essay in English language (2-3 pages, double-spaced, font 12). This essay will be due on the last day of classes of the semester.



Final Written Exam

A 2-hour comprehensive final exam that covers the material of the whole semester. Time and place TBA.

Grading Standards


Classwork (attendance, participation) 15%

Homework (WB, LM, www, handouts) 10%

Quizzes (a minimum of 7 short quizzes)                15% (weakest quiz result won’t count)

Chapter Tests                              25%

Essays (in German) 10%

Presentation 5%

Personal Reflection Essay (in English)     5%

Comprehensive Final Exam 15%


Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Students are required to be in class for the entire 50-minute period. Students may be counted absent if arriving more than 10 minutes late or leaving class early. This syllabus serves as notice that a student may be dropped from the class without further notification if absent more than six times. Please note that if a student decides to drop the course, he/she must follow university procedure for dropping a course in order to receive a “W.” 


Absences due to official university functions or documented illness will be dealt with on an individual basis and should be discussed with the instructor outside of class time. There are no “excused absences” from regular class periods. If a student misses an exam, he/she must present documented proof of illness or university activity to the instructor before a make-up exam will be allowed.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at