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Course Description

German 303 is an advanced language course that helps you to build upon the eight integrated language skills that you learned in German 302: reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, vocabulary, cultural competence, and pronunciation. German 303 is built around current events in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, so the course is broken down into eight units, each of them corresponding to a specific Rubrik or section of a newspaper: Nachrichten (Headline News), Politik (Politics), Wirtschaft (Business), Sport, Feuilleton (Culture and Arts), Wissen (Science and Technology), Wetter (Weather), and Lokales (Local News). At the end of the course, you will have completed writing a news article for each of the eight Rubrik sections, and you will put them together as a whole newspaper for your final project as a blog (including a recorded podcast or a video segment).

Learning Outcomes

In the assignments and on the exams of German 303, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate a high accuracy in the following grammatical areas: participial constructions, passive voice, subjunctive constructions, indirect speech, punctuation, rechtschreibung, adjective endings, verb/preposition phrases, strategies for avoiding clunky (verschachtelte) sentences, and modal particles.
  2. Use and understand a wide range of vocabulary items, idiomatic phrases, and grammatical constructions adopted from the class viewings, readings, and from the skill areas covered by the textbook.
  3. In writing, conversation, and especially in the audio/video and Adobe Connect-based assignments, the student will be able to correctly adjust her or his language according to German cultural practices such as proper register, honorifics, conversational cues, body language, etiquette, and other practices in this area.
  4. Achieve a B2–C1-level pronunciation rating on her or his spoken language, with an emphasis on the following sounds: Uvular and vocalic [r], vowel sounds (especially diphthong and non-diphthong sounds), phrase intonation, ich/ach, d/t, palatal l, production of umlauts, Auslautsverhärtung.
  5. Identify passages of written or spoken German that are above her or his competency level, decipher them, and then integrate them into her or his language production, including alternate word order beyond simple subject/verb/object constructions, idiomatic expressions, figurative speech, archaic phrases, local and dialect-specific expressions, proverbs, and so forth.
  6. Be able to discuss and write about a wide range of topics and tasks and demonstrate a high level of cultural competence about current German, Austrian, and Swiss political, cultural, and popular discourses.
  7. Complete reading, writing, speaking, and listening assignments with a proficiency that corresponds to the Common European Framework Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels B2 to C1 as defined below:
    • B2: Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions of his/her field of specialization. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
    • C1: Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express himself or herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic, and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices.

Course Materials

In addition to the required textbooks, you will need a reliable internet source, as this course relies heavily upon your use and access of online sources (see below). You will also need a headset or mic and speakers to conduct required speaking assignments in the course. The ability to record and upload audio files is also necessary.


Online Sources: Quellen

German-English Online Dictionary

Rubrik “Nachrichten” in several major German, Austrian, and Swiss Newspapers

News Magazines

News on Television Channels

Extra Grammar Exercises and Language Lessons

DW Placement Test A1/A2/B1/B2

Other Reading and Listening Materials

You are responsible for finding articles or video/audio clips that correspond to the topic for each of your rubrics. Explore the links above, and learn to find the kinds of articles that you find interesting, fun, or relevant to your own interests. You are strongly encouraged to find articles not only from German sources, but from Swiss and Austrian sources as well.

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Below, I have broken out the assignments into eight categories: reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, vocabulary, culture, and pronunciation.


In each section or Rubrik, you will be responsible for going online and locating several recent newspaper, websites or news magazine articles in authentic, high-level German. These articles will correspond with the topic of your Rubrik (If you are in the Sport Rubrik, for example, you will find a series of recent articles about some kind of sports event that interests you). Students who have difficulty reading German articles may arrange with the TA to start out the first three sections of the course with articles written in “Leichte Sprache,” or easy German (See the “Quellen” section of this syllabus for a list of online sources of easy German articles). When put together, the text of all of your articles should be about 1500–2000 words in length. You will write a 100-word article. Use your readings as models for your own language production, and you will mark up each article to identify vocabulary and sentence structures that you want to emulate. You will also be reading sections of your textbook that provide the grammar, vocabulary, and cultural hints that will help you to complete your other assignments. When you turn in any assignment for German 303, the class reader will immediately decide if the assignment fulfills the criteria given in this syllabus and on the model assignments. If it does not meet the criteria, or if the work is not up to a 303-level standard, the submitted assignment will be returned ungraded to the student for revision.


You will complete three different kinds of writing assignments: (1) article mark-up and summary, (2) newspaper articles, and (3) grammar exercises. You will submit the article mark-up and summary and the grammar exercises to BYU Independent Study for grading. The newspaper articles will be posted on a blog you will create following the instructions in the course introduction, "Setting Your Blog" and you will give the instructor the link to your blog. Complete each assignment as follows:

  1. Article Mark-Up and Summary: Each time you read an article from a newspaper, a website, or a news magazine, you will copy and paste the article into a Word document. At the top of the document, you will write your name, and then “Quelle:” (source) and paste the URL of the page where you found the article. Next, you will write “Wortzahl:” (word count) and write the total number of words in the article. (Microsoft Word automatically keeps track of your word count in the panel at the bottom of the window.) You will then use a color code to identify different things that you are collecting from the article: In red, you will underline or highlight five model sentences that you would like to emulate in your own writing. In blue, you will underline or highlight five unfamiliar vocabulary words or idiomatic phrases that you want to use in your own German writing and speaking. In green, you will underline or highlight two instances of grammar constructions that you recognize from the chapter in HGG that you have been assigned for the current Rubrik. At the end of the document, you will write a 3–5 sentence English summary of the contents of the article. Make sure that you summarize the basic ideas of the article and do not get caught up in too many details. You will then define the five vocabulary words or phrases that you chose in the article. You should also paste each of the two grammar constructions that you marked in the article, followed by a short description of the grammar principle (such as “passive voice” or “verb tenses”). When you turn in your homework for each Rubrik, you will turn in a marked-up copy of each article and your grammar and vocabulary lists. If you are bothered by the many wavy green and red lines that show misspelled words and bad grammar when you put a German text into an English document, you may hide these by adjusting your document settings under “File” at the top of the window in your Word Document. Under “File” go to “Options” and under the “Proofing” tab, check the boxes to “Hide spelling errors in this document only”; the same can be done for grammar. (See the article mark-up model assignment and Grading Criteria: Article Mark-Up and Summary Assignment for this assignment.)
  2. Written News Articles: In each Rubrik, you will write one 450- to 500-word news article based on the topic of the Rubrik: politics, culture, weather, sports, and so on. In this news article, you will attempt to emulate the complex German language from the model articles that you read as a part of the assignments for the Rubrik. At the top of the article, you should write an article title and a byline with your name. You should then include the word count (Wortzahl) of your article. As you write the article, you will include five model sentences from the articles you have read, ten to fifteen model vocabulary words or phrases from the articles you have read and from the vocabulary list in the Rubrik, and five examples of grammar from the HGG chapter you are studying in the Rubrik. When you post your article, you will color-code the model sentences you used (in red), the model vocabulary words and phrases you used (in blue), and the model grammar constructions you used (in green). (See the model news article assignment.) You will be asked to rework your news articles twice: once before you pass off each Rubrik, and once more when you turn in all of your polished news articles for your final project. Each time you rework your articles, on your blog you will replace the old version with the revised one and send your instructor a link to your blog. Your grade for the news article will be an average of the grades you received on the first two drafts. (See the news article model assignment and the news articles grading criteria)
  3. Grammar Assignments: In each Rubrik, you will be assigned specific readings and exercises from our grammar textbook and workbook. You will complete the exercises, correct them using the key at the back of the textbook or workbook, and submit them with your essays. Every time you make a correction, you will make it in red. You will also sign your initials to each correction that you make (see the model PGG corrected grammar exercise assignment ).


There are two speaking assignments in each Rubrik: a live conversation assignment and a recorded podcast or video assignment.


In each Rubrik you will be asked to find a 2–3 minute audio or video clip of a new report that corresponds to the topic of your Rubrik (If you are working on the Politik Rubrik for example, you could find a clip of a news report on a German, an Austrian, or a Swiss political figure or political party). Just like the articles that you choose to read, you will watch or listen to the clip of the news report and then complete a 100-word summary and a list of 5 model sentences and 10 vocabulary words or phrases. You will use your selected clip of a news report as a model for your own podcast or video assignment. Listen carefully to the pronunciation and intonation of the news reporter, and try to emulate his or her vocal performance as well. You will report your listening assignment when you turn in your podcast. Include a link to your listening model text when you submit your podcast to your 303 grader.


In every Rubrik, you will read sections from your grammar book and your workbook. You will also complete several grammar exercises, as discussed in the writing section above. In addition, several of your informal writing assignments will ask you to identify grammatical constructions in your readings and video and audio clips. You will then take these phrases and make them your own, integrating them into your own spoken and written speech. You will be graded not only on the grammatical accuracy of your essays and conversations, but also on your ability to integrate grammatical structures from outside texts and use them in your own language production. Every time you turn in the PGG grammar exercises for your Rubrik, make sure that you have gone back over them using the answer key at the end of PGG. You should make corrections in red so that the grader will see the mistakes you made (they will not count against your grade). Even if there are no mistakes, initial each exercise in red so that the grader can see that you have completed your corrections (see the model PGG corrected grammar exercise assignment).


In your writing assignments you will integrate vocabulary from the Rubrik lists, and you will also identify interesting new vocabulary words or phrases and then integrate them into your own spoken and written speech. You will be graded on your ability to work these words and phrases into your news articles, conversations, and podcast/video assignments. The final exam will include a section that tests you on your mastery of all of the vocabulary items on your Rubrik lists.


You are encouraged to not only focus upon Germany in your search for articles and video and audio clips, but also on Austria and Switzerland. All of the reading and listening assignments in the course are designed to acquaint you with aspects of German, Austrian, and Swiss culture. The topics of your podcast and video assignments are also designed to help you investigate different aspects of culture that interest you. The whole format of the course, based around current events, is designed to acquaint you with a broad range of cultural topics, from politics and literature to gestures, idiomatic expressions, and intonations.


As a part of your assignments in each unit, you will complete a set of pronunciation exercises on the following website:

In your podcast and video assignments, you will be asked to use video clips and audio clips as models for your own pronunciation. Your pronunciation will be corrected and critiqued as a part of the evaluation of these podcasts. Your pronunciation will also be evaluated as a part of your Adobe Connect conversations.

Final Project: Your final project which is represented by your blog will consist of compiling all of the articles and podcasts or videos you have created throughout the course. In essence, your final project will be your Newspaper. It is worth 20 percent of your final grade.

Each assignment includes a rubric that you will be graded on. You will find each rubric in the appendix at the end of the course.

Other Resources

There is a course discussion board at the end of the course, as well as a course wiki. The discussion board is designed for students to connect, discuss course-related matters, and share ideas with each other. The wiki is designed for the instructor to post information that may provide enrichment or to post relevant information for the course.

This course also includes a live online orientation meeting with your instructor. You must complete the orientation before continuing in the course. More information, including the schedule, is available on the Orientation Meeting page in the Welcome Module.

Note: You may refer to your notes to complete your speaking assignments and writing assignments; however, you may not use a translation device of any kind for your written assignments. The Speedbacks, the review assignment, and the final exam are closed book and closed notes.

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There are two parts to the comprehensive final exam: a final speaking appointment and a final written exam. Your final speaking appointment will be in the same format as the other live conversations in the course and must be completed before you request your written exam.

Your comprehensive written exam will be made up of exactly the same kinds of tasks that you have completed for the other assignments in the class. There will be grammar and vocabulary exercises, a reading comprehension assignment, and shorter writing assignments with topics taken from your various Rubrik sections. For study tips for the final exam, see the final exam preparation guide.

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Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

Article Mark-ups and Summaries 5%
Written News Articles 20%
Grammar Assignments 10%
Live Conversations 5%
Podcasts/Video Assignments 20%
Speedback Assignments 10%
Final Project 20%
Final Exam 10%


Grading Scale
A 93–100
A− 90–92
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–76
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) 59 or below

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


8 article mark-up and summaries, 8 news articles, 8 grammar assignments, 8 live conversations, 8 podcast or video assignments, and one final project, all instructor-graded with no resubmissions. Also 8 speedback,computer-graded, assignments.


1 instructor-graded exam consisting of a final speaking appointment and a written exam, may not retake; must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514