Berlin - Brandenburg Gate


GER 105 Elementary German  --- An online course

Instructor: Mr. David Westenskow

Professor Emeritus of Languages

  College of Arts and Sciences

  Montana State University - Northern

Office: 159 Quebec St. Unit B

Denver, CO 80220

Office phone: (303) 320-1766

Office hours:TBA

Text: Kontakte

Instructor's E-Mail: 

Class E-mail address:  

Instructor's Homepage:

Grading Scale


93 - 100



80 - 92



67 - 79



50 - 66



below  50

Grade Distribution 


90 %


Homework and 

10 %


GER 105 Elementary German is a two semester first-year college German course.  Both semesters carry the same number, and the following statements apply to both first and second semester. The second semester will pick up where the first semester ends.

"Attendance" and Participation   

Obviously, since this in an Internet course, we will not be holding regular class meetings. However, you will be required to submit homework assignments and take exams in a timely manner. 

Various details on class assignments and exams will be determined by class progress and will be announced or distributed throughout the semester. You are expected to check e-mail daily and to be aware of assignments and deadlines.  
University language classes differ considerably from high school classes in which most of the work is done in the classroom. The "rule of thumb" for university classes is for students to spend two hours working outside of class for every hour spent in class, so I usually recommend about eight hours a week spent on homework and exam preparation. Since we will not be holding regular classes, you should plan to work approximately 12 hours a week.  Some of you will need less; some might need more.  I recommend that you spread your work out over the week for maximum benefit and that you try to do your French study in several short study periods instead of just a few lengthy sessions.  The human mind will absorb only so much in a given period of time.   

The overall quality of the course will depend on your performance as well as mine. 


Our text, Kontakte, is designed for two to three semesters of college German. We will, therefore, cover approximately one-third to one-half of the book each semester. Instead of adhering to a set schedule, however, we will go forward at a reasonable pace and establish our schedule as we go along. Schedule details will be announced in e-mail messages and will be available online. 

First Semester German Schedule 

Second Semester German Schedule

Grading Scale  

A - Students who excel in the class will receive an A.  This excellence will be reflected in regular participation and very high test scores that show an overall mastery of the material.  

B - Students who attend regularly and have test scores in the 80's and low 90's receive a B in the course.  This performance level is very good, but doesn't demonstrate the mastery and attention to detail required for an A.  

C - This grade is given to students who are doing generally good work (learning 2/3 to 4/5 of the course material), but who demonstrate numerous deficiences in vocabulary and grammar.  

D - This is the lowest passing grade.  It is given to students who learn 1/2 to 2/3 of the course material, but who have serious problems understanding and expressing themselves in German.  

F - Students who consistently score below 50% will not be given a passing grade and should consider dropping the class if they are unable to improve their performance through tutorial assistance and increased study time.  

Although I might appear to be somewhat stingy with my A's, several students each semester manage to meet my criteria. On the other hand, you shouldn't mistake my apparent generosity on the lower end of the grading scale for an easy ride.  You will still need to put in considerable study time to earn a C or D in the class.  Learning even half of the course material requires substantial study, and a D grade is far from a gift.   


We will cover approximately one lesson every two weeks and will have an exam over each lesson. Detailed exam descriptions will be provided.  

Grades will be given based on what is actually learned and not on how much time is spent doing exercises to hand in.  This does not mean that homework is not an important part of the learning process, but that the important thing is learning the homework material, not simply looking up answers, copying, and handing in.  

All exams will be comprehensive to an extent. Although major emphasis will be placed on the current lesson, any material from a previous exam may be included. Consequently, frequent review is not a bad idea.  

Wanting to give you some flexibility in the course, I will allow you to take exams one week late without penalty.  For each additional week that you need to take an exam, however, there will be an automatic 10% penalty.

Withdrawal from Class  

Students must officially withdraw from any class that they stop attending.  Instructors cannot do it for them. Any student whose name appears on the grade sheet at the end of the semester must receive a grade.  Every semester I am forced to give an F grade to those students who did not do the appropriate paper work for withdrawal.


Dave Westenskow's Homepage

MSU-Northern's Homepage