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GERMAN 1Z06A Begin Intensive German (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2019

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Nikolai Penner


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 507

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24777

Office Hours: Tuesday, 2:15 -3:15 p.m.

Course Objectives:

This course is intended for students without previous knowledge of German and is designed to develop linguistic skills linguistic skills through integrated and interactive practice in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Moreover, we will try to do it in an innovative, interesting, and fun way. We will combine the 'Natural Approach' to language acquisition through meaningful communication with the methodology of TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling©). 


At the end of the course, students should: 

  • be able to fluently communicate in basic German on a variety of familiar topics;
  • be able to understand spoken German and read simple German texts;
  • be able to fluently write in German on familiar topics and read texts of medium difficulty in German.

Student Expectations:

  • It is absolutely crucial to attend classes;
  • Let the instructor know immediately me when they don't understand something I say in the classroom;
  • Actively engage and participate in classroom activities.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

While we cannot completely avoid mechanical memorization, grammar & pronunciation drills, extensive homework and most other things typical to the standard language teaching approach, we are going to use TPRS, one of the most recent and most effective method of language teaching. You will learn to speak German in a fun and enjoyable way and will be amazed at how much you can learn with very little effort.

For this course, you will need to purchase two things:

  1. Top Hat: a basic subscription to the platform and the online textbook hosted on the same platform. The textbook has been created specifically for this course and follows the TPRS methodology.
  2. In addition, you will be required to read five short novellas written specifically for the TPRS curriculum:
    1. Arme Anna
    2. Petra reist nach Kalifornien
    3. Fast stirbt er
    4. Die Reise seines Lebens
    5. Mein eigenes Auto

Method of Assessment:

 Evaluation Criteria: 


Term 1

Term 2










Written tasks 


Written tasks 


Reading tests (2x5%)


Reading tests (3x5%)


Midterm Test 


Midterm Test 


Final exam


Final exam




Final Project



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 miss a class during which a graded activity took place, you will get a 'zero' for missing that activity. 

3.1 Participation:

You will earn points for attending classes and actively participating in them for up to 10% of the grade each semester. Attending all classes will give you 100% of the participation grade (10% toward you final grade for that term) while attending half of the classes will earn you 50% of the participation grade (i.e. 5% toward the final grade).

3.2 Quizzes:

At the end of most classes, there will be short quizzes, typically about 5 minutes long.  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 we write about 8 quizzes every semester.

3.3 Written tasks: 

Throughout the semester, you will be assigned a number of short written tasks. They will be written in class or assigned as homework.

3.4 Tests

We will write one midterm test each term. The tests are cumulative and will include ALL information we have worked on in the course.

3.5 Final project:

At the end of the course, you will need to prepare a short video together with 3 or 4 other students.  It can be a voiceover, a ppt presentation, a skit, or anything else you can think of! If should be in German, playable on a computer, and all participants should speak in it. It should be approximately 5 minutes long and use subtitles to make it easier for the class to understand. 

You must upload your video to a video hosting service (you are not required to make your video public) or bring a copy of it on a USB stick as a backup. In the final week of the course all final projects will be shown to the class. 

It is a good idea to use subtitles in German to make your video understandable to the class. If you use words and structures that other students don't know, you need to translate them and include the translation in the subtitles. 

3.6 Final exam:

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

The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Mid-term exams cannot be re-written in this course. If you miss a mid-term test and submit an MSAF for it, the grade will be carried over to the final exam in that term.

However, you will be required to re-write the Reading Tests in case you submit an MSAF.

There is also a zero-tolerance policy on late submissions in this course. No late work will be accepted under any circumstances.

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.