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Course Materials

What You Should Already Know

Before you take this course, you should have completed three semesters of high-school German. You should have a strong basic vocabulary and a good understanding of basic sentence structure. Most of all, you should have a burning desire to continue your progress in German.

Learning Outcomes

Course Materials

This course material is the only text required for the course. Speaking appointments are required and use audio and video. You will need a headset or speakers, a microphone and a webcam. For optimal connection speeds during speaking appointments, it is recommended that you use a hard-wired, high-speed internet connection during the appointment.

In most units, I have provided you with links to web sites where you can find additional information about the topics covered in the unit. You will, of course, need a computer to take advantage of this additional material. The Internet links are supplemental; you don’t need to visit the Web sites to complete the course.

Although it is not required, I recommend a German-English dictionary. You can purchase one at any bookstore. Here are some links to several online dictionaries that you can use for free:

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Course Organization

This course manual is your text, and it is divided into seven units. Each unit has an introduction, lessons, and discussion material. The listening activities are recordings of native German speakers. I have recorded the explanations and practice activities.

Each lesson includes several practice activities to help you learn the new vocabulary and structures. The self check section for each lesson gives you a chance to determine how well you have learned the material. Throughout the units, I have included short cultural notes. These deal with everyday aspects of German culture.

At the end of units 1–6 are unit quizzes that cover the material presented in each of the lessons from the unit. It is a good idea to review the discussion material thoroughly before you take the unit quiz for each unit. It is recommended that you use the unit quizzes to study for the final exam.

Other Resources

There is a course wiki at the end of the course, as well as a course. The wiki is designed for the instructor to post information that may provide enrichment or relevant information for the course to the students.

Other Technical Considerations

In order for the Flash games to perform properly, and for the pages to display correctly, you must have the most current version of either Firefox or Chrome, and the most current Flash player installed. If some of the games don't seem to work quite right, or you can't see all of the options, try downloading a newer version of the Flash player to fix the problem. This course functions best in a web browser other than Internet Explorer. If you only have Internet Explorer, you can download other browsers (e.g., Firefox, Safari, etc.) for free online. If you have trouble doing this, contact Technical Support at 1-877-897-8085 or


There are six units in this course. For the six units, you will work at your own pace and participate in various writing, speaking, and cultural activities. Each unit contains various self checks. These are intended to help you practice and master your German skills. Although these are not graded, they are very helpful in preparing you for your assignments and exams. At the end of each unit, you will complete a unit quiz.

Self Checks

There are self checks in each unit intended to help you review the material covered in that unit. Self checks are designed to be taken over and over as many times as you wish, to help you gain greater mastery of the concepts or skills being tested. If you find that you do not know or are not certain about an answer, go back to the unit material and reread the section pertaining to that question. Self checks do not count towards your grade, but may help you gain the competency for material that is graded.

Unit Quizzes

There are six unit quizzes throughout the course. These quizzes are submitted electronically, with the grade immediately revealed. Incorrect answers will be noted, and an explanation of why the student’s answer was incorrect will be included. Questions will be taken from the textbook and the readings. Unit quizzes account for 24% of your final grade. None may be resubmitted.

Conversation Café and Speaking Appointments

The Conversation Café is a virtual room where conversation practice and speaking appointments take place. Minimal English is used in the Café. Activities are moderated by a TA/instructor. Hours of the Café are posted on the Communication and Conversation Café page. Spend as much time as possible in the Café, practicing the concepts you learn! Before you complete your speaking appointment, you must spend some time practicing in the Conversation Café. You must complete the first Conversation Café to move on in the course.

Speaking appointments are graded oral assessments. You will be required to complete certain language tasks or have a dialogue with the TA/instructor during your speaking appointment. A speaking appointment is a required part of every unit and must be completed before you move on to the next unit. TA-graded speaking appointments are completed on a first-come, first-served basis (no scheduling) in the Conversation Café room. The second, fifth, and final exam speaking appointments will be scheduled with your instructor and will take place in the instructor’s virtual room. These appointments require a photo ID and a webcam. If you are not able to keep your scheduled appointment, you must reschedule or cancel at least 24 hours before the appointment. If you fail to show up at your scheduled time, you will receive a 0.

A grade will be posted within 24 hours of the appointment. The lowest score from all of your speaking appointments will be dropped. (This does not include the final speaking appointment.) See “Grading” below to see what percentage of your final grade the speaking appointments are on.

We strongly encourage you not to use notes during your speaking appointments. That will help you be better prepared for the final speaking appointment where no notes are allowed. Note: You should complete all speaking appointments in the correct order. For more specific information about each speaking appointment, please refer to each assignment in the course.

Writing Assignments

You will be required to complete four writing assignments paced throughout the course. These should be submitted electronically through the dropbox and will be graded by the instructor/teaching assistant. Grading will be based on provided rubrics associated with each assignment. Graded assignments will be returned with comments. These assignments count toward 16% of your final grade.

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The final exam will consist of two parts: first, your final speaking appointment (completed prior to requesting the written final exam) and second, a written exam with a multiple choice bubble-sheet portion. The exam will be comprehensive, dealing with material presented throughout the entire course. The final exam, both portions combined, accounts for 24% of your final grade. You must pass all portions of the exam separately with a 60% to pass the course. Notes will not be allowed during your final speaking appointment. If you use notes during the final speaking appointment, you will receive a 0 grade and fail the course. 

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Your grade will be based on the following:

You must have a 60 percent or higher in the course to pass.

A 100-94 C 75-74
A- 93-90 C- 73-70
B+ 89-86 D+ 69-66
B 85-83 D 65-63
B- 82-80 D- 62-60
C+ 79-76 E (fail) 59-0

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Learning the German Language

Before you start the course, I’d like to give you some advice. First, learn the vocabulary for each unit thoroughly. Make sure you know the plural form and gender for each noun. (Some nouns are presented without a plural because the plural is never used.) You will be very glad you learned the genders and plurals when you get to unit 5. In units 3 and 4, you’ll work with the German Irregular Verb List. Use that list as a tool for all units to help you determine if a verb is irregular or regular. Identify and memorize the verbs that are irregular and learn how to conjugate them correctly. Irregular verbs are marked with an asterisk in the word lists.

Second, make the most out of the activities in which you have to produce your own German. It can be hard to produce your own sentences, diaries, and dialogues, but your ability to do it will grow as you really throw yourself into the task. Try not to translate from English into German as you complete these activities; use the German you know to express yourself the best way you can. Think in German. Use the words from the units in the context in which you learned them. Try not to look up too many words in a dictionary. Use what you know to express yourself. Please don’t write something in English and then take it to an Internet site to have it translated electronically. If you do that, the results will be largely unintelligible. Although it may seem like a good idea, it just doesn’t work.

Third, work on your German word order. Because German word order is different from English word order, this is often one of the most difficult elements of German to master. In each unit, I have included tips and formulas for word order in the discussion material. Try to fully digest this information. Use it as you produce your own sentences and paragraphs. You’ll notice very quickly how much your overall fluency improves.

Finally, work on your pronunciation. Good pronunciation is always a hallmark of a good language learner. Practice the pronunciation activities over and over until you have mastered them.

In my descriptions of various German structures, I have used the German names for the structures. I did this so that you can become familiar with the German names. This will help you as you continue learning German.

The more you immerse yourself in a language, the faster and better you learn it. Take advantage of any opportunities that you may have to use your German. I have included many Web sites that you can visit while you work on this course. You can also rent German videos or DVDs, write to a German pen pal, speak to a family member or friend who knows German, or even teach your friends and family some German. The more you put into this course, the more you will learn.

It can sometimes seem overwhelming to learn another language. It is kind of like trying to get a drink from a fire hydrant; it seems like so much water is coming at you at once that you can’t get any in your mouth. Don’t get discouraged. Stay positive. Do a little work each day instead of doing eight hours on one day. There will be words and phrases that come up in the units that you don’t know. Don’t panic. Use what you do know to help you figure out what you don’t know. Be a detective. Look for clues. Learn and understand from context. Think in German. Use what you know to express yourself. Remember that it’s all just part of the process. If you keep on going, you will be successful.

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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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.


6 unit quizzes, 6 speaking appointments, 7 writing assignments (3 rough drafts). No graded assignments may be resubmitted; the lowest speaking appointment score will be dropped (except final appointment).

For the writing assignments, follow the instructions in the course on how and where to submit each assignment. 


1 final speaking appointment (may retake once for a fee; no-shows count as attempts and are given zeros), and 1 proctored, computer-graded final exam (may retake once for a fee). To pass the course, you must pass both the final speaking appointment and the final exam with at least a 60 percent on each.

Course Duration

Because of the nature of some assignments, you will not be able to complete this course in less than 2 months. You may only complete one speaking appointment per day. No exceptions. You have 1 year to complete this course, but if you need more than a year, you may purchase one 3-month extension.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This may also include when a student copies and pastes directly from another source and passes it off as his or her own, copies computer-generated text from a translation tool and uses it as his or her own, or fails to cite a source after loosely summarizing its content in his or her own words. As determined by your instructor or the BYU Independent Study administration, if evidence of academic misconduct on assignments or exams is established, one of the two following consequences will apply to each incidence:

First Offense of Plagiarism

  1. You will fail the unit and be allowed the opportunity to resubmit the unit (or)
  2. You will fail the unit and be denied the opportunity to resubmit the unit

Second Offense of Plagiarism

  1. You will fail the unit and fail the class (or)
  2. You will fail the unit, fail the class, and may be ineligible to enroll in a specific course or any of our courses without going through an appeals process which will determine the severity of your plagiarism

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.