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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Nikolai Penner


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 507

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24777

Office Hours: Wednesday 13:00-14:00

Course Objectives:

This course is a continuation of German 1Z06 and is intended for students who are at level A1 of C.E.R. This course continues to use TPRS as the main method of instruction, so there will be little painful learning by heart, no lengthy grammar explanations or hardly any grammar drills or worksheets. However, more attention will be devoted to explanation of grammatical and cultural topics than compared to the first-year course. 

At the end of the course, students should reach level A2.1 level of C.E.F. and are expected to:

  • understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  •  communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  •  describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate  environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
  • be able to fluently write in German on familiar topics (100 words in 5 minutes);

Please note that teaching the facts about the German language, culture, or giving a thorough knowledge and understanding grammatical rules are not the primary objectives of this course

Please be warned that German 1B03/2Z03 is a fun course. We will talk about silly things and we will do things that 'serious' students will find too juvenile. Therefore, when you come to the German classroom, leave all problems and negativity outside, take your sense of humour along, and get ready to have fun!

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Instead of a textbook, you will be required to purchase four short e-books for beginning-intermediate students of German. The first three of them are collections of short stories by André Klein following experiences of a young immigrant in Germany:

1) Café in Berlin

2) Ferien in Frankfurt

3) Karneval in Köln

These three books are available on for just over $3 each.

The title of the fourth book will be announced in class later in the semester and will depend on the group's  preferences.

A smaller-size German dictionary will come in very handy.

For the conceptual learners  who would like to know more about grammar rules and maybe do some drills, a collection of links to explanatory videos and other explanations of all grammar used in the course is provided on Avenue.

Method of Assessment:





Written tasks:


Midterm Test:


Reading (4x5):


Final exam:


Final project:



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 have in your long-term memory 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 between 10 and 15 quizzes every semester.


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

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 of 10% (the participation mark). Of course, absences due to medical reasons with adequate documentation are excused.

I will do my absolute best to make sure that you acquire German during the class time by simply paying attention and participating in various activities. However, if you miss a class, you will have to learn the same information ‘the hard way’.

Written tasks:

Throughout the semester, you will be assigned a number of written tasks. These will be written both in class and occasionally as homework.

Midterm Test

There will be one larger test in the middle of the semester which will contain all the material we have learned in class up to that point.


You will be expected to read a lot in German in this course.  I have selected four novels that you will need to have read during the course. After reading each novel, you will be given a True/False type test checking your understanding of the book’s content. You will be allowed to use the book to verify the details but you will only have 5-10 minutes to complete the test. Therefore, you do need to know the text really well as you will not enough time if you look up every single answer.

Final exam:                                                                                                                                    

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

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 Dishonesty

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.

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.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. 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:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

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.

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. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.