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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Nikolai Penner


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 507

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24777

Office Hours: Thursdays 13:30-14:30

Course Objectives:

At the end of the course, students should be have completed level A2 of C.E.F. and should be able to:

  • understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance;
  • catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements;
  • read simple texts and find specific, predictable information in simple everyday materials;
  • understand personal letters;
  • communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information;
  • handle short social exchanges;
  • write short notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate need.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

This course will follow the second half of the German TPRS program for year II (‘Look, I Can Talk more!’) which has been somewhat modified and expanded by the instructor. All you will need for the course is the students’ ‘Extended study guide’ which is currently being developed by the instructor. All course-related materials prepared by the instructor are free of charge and will be posted online for you to print out and share.

You will also be required to purchase the following four novellas for learners of German which you will read throughout the semester. They are to be read in the following order:

das Doppelte Lottchen

Emil und die Detektive

Das Model

Kein Schnaps für Tamara

Please buy these books online, for example at or  Pesonally, I use a lot and so far they have been very reliable. 

Method of Assessment:

TPRS will continue to be the main method of instruction but will be supplemented by explicit grammar explanations and optional worksheets most of which will be completed at home. Similar to German 1Z06 and 1B03/2Z03, this course concentrates on the most frequent words and structures in the language and is aimed at giving students real fluency in German, i.e. the ability to use the words and structured with confidence and without hesitancy.  To achieve this, this course focuses on fewer vocabulary items and topics than a traditional course would at this level. 

3. Evaluation Criteria:






Participation (5% + 5%):



Written tasks:



Tests (2x10%):



Reading (4x5%):



Final exam:



Final project:


3.1. Quizzes:

At the end of most classes, there will be short quizzes, typically under 5 minutes long.

Please note that all quizzes are unannounced and cumulative. This allows me to see what material has been taught for long-term memory and to go back if some parts need to be revisited. I want to see what you really know and not what you studied the night before.

At the end of the term, I will drop one lowest mark you get or one ‘zero’ for a missed quiz. The exact number of quizzes will depend of the group’s progress but typically there are around 10 quizzes every semester.

3.2. Participation:

You can earn a maximum of 10 participation points by attending classes and actively taking part in in-class activities. You have to look and act excited, interested and engaged. 🙂

Superstar points: 5 of the 10 participation points are given for speaking in class and are called ‘Superstar points’. You earn them by showcasing your German in class. Usually you achieve this by telling, retelling, reading an existing story or your own work in front of the class. You get 1 point for participating in each superstar activity.

Absences: Because most of the learning will take place in the classroom in this course, you are allowed to miss two classes per term without any penalties. Every further absence will reduce your participation mark by 1% up to the maximum penalty of 5%. Of course, absences due to medical reasons with adequate documentation are excused.

MISSED WORK: This course places a heavy emphasis on learning in class, therefore, absences cannot be excused. Unless you have a doctor's note or fill out an MSAF, no course-related work can be re-written or made-up for. If you decide to miss a class during which a graded activity took place, you will get a 'zero' for missing that activity.

3.3. Written tasks:

Throughout the semester, you will be assigned a number of written tasks which will be done both in class and at home. The length of each will be around 100 words.

3.4. Tests

Every semester there will be two larger tests which will contain the material we have learned in class up to that point. The tests are cumulative and will include ALL information we have worked on in the course.

3.5. Reading

You will be expected to read a lot in German in this course.  I have selected four readers that you will need to have read during the course. By the end of the term, you should have read about 20,000 words in German. There will be one reading test on each novella, each asking details about details from the book in form of true/false questions in German. Therefore, there will be four Reading testes each term. You will be allowed to use the book during the test but you will only have 5-10 minutes to complete the test. Therefore, you do need to know the text really well because you will not enough time if you look up every single answer.

3.6. Final exam:                                                                                                                            

There will be a two-hour final examination at the end of the term.

3.7. Final project

In the second half of the term you will be assigned a take-home project which will then be presented to class during the last several weeks of the term.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

MISSED WORK: This course places a heavy emphasis on learning in class, therefore, absences cannot be excused. Unless you have a doctor's note or fill out an MSAF, no course-related work can be re-written or made-up for. If you decide to miss a class during which a graded activity took place, you will get a 'zero' for missing that activity.


McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.