Professors Sunka Simon and Matthew Miller teach Intermediate German as an intensive language class that meets four days a week on campus at Swarthmore College and Colgate University respectively. The curriculum is built to enhance the four language skills (oral, aural, reading and writing composition) through a combination of up-to-date, authentic print and audio-visual geo-political and cultural material to move students from A2 to B1 level proficiency within the span of one semester. Both classes work from a textbook (e.g. Stationen) that integrates Landeskunde (learning about the specificities of German-speaking regions and cities) with B1-level grammar and vocabulary lessons.
We carved out the potential of holding a synchronous class together once a week as a joint web conference. Asynchronously, cross-college teams of students will prepare didacticized assignments consisting of blog-posts, a discussion forum and Zoom video-conferencing tools utilizing newly acquired linguistic concepts to react to consecutive weekly episodes of German-language original dramas such as Dark, Skylines, Dogs of Berlin or Berlin Babylon. To further link the students in their studies, we will bring everyone together for a face-to-face event at Swarthmore in mid-October. The semester will culminate with a virtual symposium and/or video-essay student presentations.
On the benefits of linking courses across two campuses, Professor Simon notes:
Our linked class creates a broader cohort of language learners. We are “in it together.”
As the course wraps up, digital student projects will be shared with the LACOL language community, including web-published symposium papers and final video essays.
Language learning tools, media, and web technologies will be integrated across the classes with support from Mike Jones, Director of the Language and Media Center at Swarthmore College.