Deutsch 101-326 an der Universität Michigan

German on the Web
Learning Strategies

German Dept.
Max Kade House
German Club

PONS online dict.
L.E.O. online dict.
Wortschatz Deutsch



Information über das Videoprojekt
Instead of torturing you with cramming for a final exam, we will ask you to do a final video project, in order to bring the course to a creative and enjoyable end.

Content, Length and Logistics

  • In order to submit your completed video project to your instructor, you should upload it to YouTube (or a similar video-sharing site) and send her/him the URL. If you are concerned abot privacy, please upload the video as an "Unlisted Video." This means only people with the URL can find the video. You can find more info about "Unlisted Videos" (and instructions) here (please email Hartmut if this link is broken!).
  • The specific topic/content of your video is entirely up to you, as long as you follow the "Guidelines for Content of Role-Plays and Videos" included in your Coursepack. In general, your video MUST relate to ideas/content covered in the course and/or to events from your section, and should include grammar and vocabulary you learned this semester.
    • The more you can work with grammar and vocabulary we have covered, and the fewer new words and structures you need to include in your script, the better and more comprehensible your video is likely to be, which will improve your grades for these aspects of the video.
    • more details on appropriate content are given further below
  • Your video should be roughly 5-7 minutes long
    • If you would like your video to be eligible for the Kothe-Hildner Prize, it should be no longer than 15 minutes
  • You should work in groups of 3 or 4
    • We discourage larger groups because of the practical difficulties of getting more than 3 or 4 people together repeatedly. If you do form a bigger group, your video will also need to be longer (8-10 minutes for 5 people)
  • Your third essay will be the script of your video.
    • If you'd like to get an early start, form a group early, and give your instructor a draft of your script early, so you can get started on shooting the video.
    • Your grade for the essay will be an "E" if you do not contribute to your group's essay, or a "C-" if you do contribute, but not in a timely manner.
    • Your grade for the video will be an "E" if you do not participate in your group's work on the video, or a "C-" if you do participate, but not reliably.
    • The above grades will be given based on the consensus of your group.
    • If you anticipate a problem, please notify your group and your instructor promptly!
  • The quality of your video shooting and editing does not factor into the grade, but it must be possible to follow the sequence of events and the sound quality must be sufficiently good so that your German can be clearly understood.
    • Much more information on resources for shooting and editing video is provided below
  • It is important for you to demonstrate your ability to speak freely (as opposed to reading from a script or from props like books or letters) when you film the video.

Grading Scheme

The videos will be graded as follows; please click here for a detailed grading rubric:

Content/Creativity 1/3
Pronunciation/Comprehensibility 1/3
Linguistic Complexity/Accuracy 1/3

Please note that as stated above, the quality of your camera work/video editing work does not factor into the grade. We usually try to arrange workshops on shooting and editing video for interested students, and many students enjoy practicing their filmmaking skills as part of this project, but you are not required to produce anything like a professional-looking video. What is required is that you edit the video sufficiently to create a coherent sequence of scenes, and that you ensure sufficient sound quality so that your German can be clearly and easily understood.

Guidelines for Content of Role-Plays and Videos:

These are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Please click on the link above (or flip to that page if you're reading this in the coursepack) and read these guidelines carefully.  Please pay close attention to these guidelines, and ask your instructor if you're in doubt as to whether something you're planning to do is appropriate.  Otherwise s/he may have to ask you to rethink your video or to come up with an entirely new video at the last minute.

  • Note on Dialogue: you should hand in a video in which there are at least 5 minutes of actual dialogue/speaking.
  • A Note on Lola rennt Variations: If you choose to do a variation on Lola rennt for your final video project, please be sure that you really have a creative and interesting idea for this. In addition, please keep the running scenes as short as possible, no longer than a maximum of 10 seconds for each segment. These scenes are great in the film, but it's impossible to replicate that given our means, and then it can quickly become dull watching scenes of someone running around campus over and over again. 1-2 second segments of someone running in various locations will generally get your point across; if you think this will not work for what you have in mind, of course you can discuss it with your instructor, but please be sure to do this well in advance. One general exception: if you can come up with interesting ways of using the "photo-sequence" format that was part of the scenes of Lola running, you need not count that towards the 10 second limit.
  • A Note on Europa, Europa Parodies: We recommend avoiding parodies of Europa, Europa in your videos, since it is a movie about the Holocaust, and as such not an appropriate topic for humor or parody in a German class. If you have an idea that you do think is appropriate, please consult your instructor in advance to make sure it's OK!


An important component of this part of the grade is that you should be performing, not reading your lines in the video ==> you should know your lines before you shoot each scene.  If you cannot perform your script without reading it, chances are students in the class will not be able to understand it. Furthermore, learning your lines in this way will be an important skill if you're planning on an acting career :) We highly recommend that you schedule an appointment with your instructor where your whole group can run through the script once to get feedback on pronunciation.

  • A Note on Animations/Puppet Shows/Narrators: The above applies all the more if you are doing an animation or a puppet show, or you are using text read by a narrator, because then the audience does not have the advantage of seeing your lips move as you speak, and your text becomes all the more difficult to understand. ==> If you use such a format, write your script in such a way that you really can memorize your lines and then perform them as fluently and naturally as possible. If you choose such a format and it sounds like you are reading a script as opposed to performing it naturally in this way, the pronunciation/comprehensibility component of your grade will be at best a "B" or a "C," even if we love what you have done with the animation/the puppets.

In order to further promote comprehensibility of the videos, please include a (short!) list of words you had to look up for your video script in the titles before your video beginsBe sure to have your instructor proofread this list before you edit it in.  If editing this list into the video is too difficult for you, please email the list to your instructor a few days before the screening of the videos in class, so s/he can put them on a transparency and go through them (or let you go through them) for the class prior to the screening of your video.

Kothe-Hildner Prize

  • A Kothe-Hildner Prize of $200 is awarded each semester to the group producing the best final video project in 221/231. Click here for more information about the Kothe-Hildner Prizes.
  • In order to make the competition fair, there is a length limit for entries: videos nominated for the prize competition cannot be longer than 15 minutes.

Samples of Past Prize-Winning Videos

For ideas/inspiration, check out sample tapes of the final video projects for German 221 & 231 from past semesters at the Language Resource Center! 

Cameras/Video Editing Equipment

You can borrow video cameras from either of the two locations of the LS&A Media Equipment Loan Service:

  • ISS Mason Hall Loan Center, G340 Mason Hall, 763-5158
    • Be sure to get a camera that records to MiniDV tapes. If you use cameras that record to capture cards, you won't be able to do any editing!
  • ISS Media Center Sound & Motion, 2001 MLB, 763-1104

****If you think you will need to borrow a camera from one of these facilities, you must make reservations well ahead of time****

A Video Editing Facility IS available to students, but you must make reservations well ahead of time, as there are few machines and demand is great.  You must be able to demonstrate that you are experienced with the equipment. For students lacking experience, workshops are also provided by the facility. Go to the ISS Media Center Sound & Motion, 2001 MLB, or call them at 763-1104.

You can also do simple video editing at the Language Resource Center. There are 7 editing stations in the LRC. If you need to save your work, you can inquire at the LRC Front Desk about borrowing a portable hard drive. [This is the best option for saving editing projects--see below!]

You may be able to do some video editing in the Media Union on North Campus. Like the ISS Media Center in the MLB, the Media Union requires you to get training in using the equipment before you can reserve it. Check out for more information.


  • In Fall and Winter, you will receive an email in the course of the semester on a workshop on shooting video for German 221/231 students. This is not required, but we do highly recommend it!


  • The quality of your video shooting and editing does not factor into the grade, but it must be possible to follow the sequence of events and the sound quality must be sufficiently good so that your German can be clearly understood.
  • If you are planning to do any significant editing, we strongly recommend that you attend a workshop on editing video in the ISS Media Center in the MLB, or in the LRC. In the Fall and Winter, you will get an email about an editing workshop specifically for German 221/231 students.
  • If you want to use the editing equipment at the ISS Media Center, you must attend this workshop. If you cannot attend this workshop, contact to ask about alternatives, which will involve an introduction to their facilities and you teaching yourself to use the equipment with a tutorial disk.
    • Alternatively, you could arrange to take an editing workshop at the Media Union, which would allow you to use their editing facilities. Check out for more information.
    • In Spring and Summer, the ISS Media Center in the MLB may be closed, and there are no specific editing workshops for German 221/231 or 230. ==> If you plan to do extensive editing, you should take a workshop at the Media Union well in advance, so you can use their facilities and so you'll know what you're doing!

If you attend a workshop on editing video, please follow the detailed advice given there. If you do not attend such a workshop but decide to do your video editing at the Language Resource Center or a campus computing site, please note the following general advice. In rare cases, students have lost many hours of work, and we don't want this to happen to you!

Advice for editing video in the LRC or at a campus computing site

  • One more time: if you plan to do substantial amounts of editing, we really, really recommend taking a workshop in the ISS Media Center in the MLB, or the LRC (or the Media Union), so you can use their sites, which are set up for video editing and in particular for saving the huge files that are involved--and also so you'll know what you're doing, work more efficiently, and not run the risk of losing many hours of work due to some mishap.

OK, no more warnings--let's assume you're doing your editing in the LRC or at a campus computing site:

  • If at all possible, come early and try to get all your editing done in one session so you don't have to save your work and come back to it. While they're being edited, media projects are generally too big to fit in your IFS space, and all information is erased from LRC and campus computing site computers when you log out.
  • If you do need to save your work and come back later, here are your options:
    • The best option for saving editing projects is a portable hard drive. You can inquire at the LRC Front Desk about borrowing one of these. The LRC only has a limited quantity of these ==> please don't count on one of them being available at short notice!
    • Note that your project is likely to be up to 10 or 12 GB in size while you're working on it ===> too big to fit all the data on a DVD (which holds about 4 GB) or your IFS space (which holds about 1-2 GB). The project becomes much smaller when you finish it. In other words, while you're working on editing the video, you need a TON of space (and time) to save all the files and data involved. Your FINISHED project should fit onto a regular DVD.
    • Note that a DVD holds about 4 GB and takes up to 40 mins to burn ==> you'd need up to 2 or 3 hours to save an unfinished project on to 3 or 4 DVDs. In short: don't do this!!
    • The easiest option if you have to save your work and come back to it is to put all your clips on the timeline in your editing program in a logical sequence, and then re-export them to a new tape (don't overwrite your original tape!) on your camera. Then you can reimport the video the next day, cut it back up into clips and resume work.
    • If you're working in a computer classroom, check the reservation schedule so you know when you'll have to leave the room.
      • If someone who has not reserved the room tries to make you leave, point out that they do not have a reservation. If they insist that you leave, you should insist on being given enough time to properly save your work.
    • If you try to save your work to your IFS space from a computer in the LRC or a campus computing site, please be very sure you're really saving it to your IFS space and not to the computer desktop: the icons for these often look very similar on university computers (they will both be labeled by your uniqname!).
      • As mentioned above, it's likely that your IFS space is too small to store your whole project unless you "finish" it--and "finishing" it may reduce your editing options when you try reimporting it into the editing program.
    • Some other options for saving your work:
      • Bring your own external firewire hard drive and save the project to it--these are the best option for saving media projects, as mentioned above.
      • Bring your laptop, and save to that
        • For Macs, if you connect your laptop to another computer with a firewire cable, then hold down T while booting, it boots into firewire target disk mode, which basically means that it acts like an external hard drive, and you copy files back and forth very quickly (10 GB would take 15 min maybe)
    • **If you try to save your project and the computer finishes saving it relatively quickly, chances are it only saved the aliases for your clips and not the clips themselves** (This has happened to some students!)
    • Before you shut down the computer, check and double check and triple check that you really saved your work and will be able to access it again!

Useful Links re: Shooting and Editing Video

  • Videography for Educators Comprehensive site by Apple, incorporating lots of video, fittingly enough :)
  • IMovie This is the program you're most likely to use to edit your video. Very user-friendly, even if you're a PC-person. In particular, the video editing stations in the LSA Media facility in the Michigan Square Building, and in the LRC, are all Macs.
  • Lights, Camera, Language Website for an advanced level German course at Northwestern University in which students' main task was to produce a high quality video. The end products are most impressive, and the site includes lots of valuable how-to information.


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