Latest German Studies News

Now Live – www.GermanInnovation.org

NEW YORK (March 3, 2011) – The German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) is proud to announce the launch of its website.

The GCRI's web presence is an information platform for North Americans who are interested in the German research and innovation landscape and who wish to study, conduct research or business in Germany. Presenting Germany as a land of ideas where education and science play a central role, the website features a wealth of programs, funding opportunities, and first points of contact. Information on German research organizations, current research focus areas as well as the German higher education system is also provided.

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Towards More Robust German-Canadian Trade Relations?

Hans-Guenter Bergen, President of the Victoria German Business Network 

In the world-wide financial crisis and economic slowdown triggered by the so-called Subprime Crisis in the USA, 2 countries were economically relatively stable and weathered this crisis better than others - Germany and Canada. Germany is not only today's fifth largest economy, for decades it has been one of the leading export nations. Even in 2009, when its foreign trades decreased by almost 17%, Germany showed a surplus of €134 billion. For 2010 and the succeeding years, an increase in foreign trade is expected, thus creating a higher export surplus. For many years Canada, rated today's tenth largest economy, made a steady export surplus; almost US$ 46 billion in international trade in 2008. In 2009, because of an above-average export loss of 30 %, Canada for the first time showed an export deficit of US$ 4.9 billion which will continue. The deficit of the preceding year (2009) will continue in 2010 and Canada can expect a foreign trade surplus not before 2011.

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Thomas Lornsen, University of Brunswick, wins the GO Award for his online course "Decadence, Nazis and the War: German Literature from 1900 to 1945"

The Canadian Association of Universites Teachers of German (CAUTG) and the Canada wide Informationplatform GermanStudies.ca is pleased to announce the recipient of the second annual "German Online (GO) award" , a prize financed by the DAAD and administered by the CAUTG and GermanStudies.ca, to recognize the best online course in the field of German Studies in Canada. This year's winner is Thomas Lornsen from the University of New Brunswick whose online course on Decadence, Nazis and the War: German Literature from 1900 to 1945, received first prize. Congratulations to Thomas!

In the Fall term of 2010 Thomas Lornsen taught the third-year course Decadence, Nazis and the War: German Literature from 1900 to 1945 at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. As a Learning Management System (LMS) he used Moodle (version 1.9.8), which he installed on a separate server. This allowed to customize virtually every aspect of the LMS, from FTP-access to modifying the source code. Each lecture had its own title and a separate section on the website (for Moodlers: I used the "Collapsed Topics"-format). In each block Dr. Lornsen posted links to primary texts and relevant secondary literature in the form of PDF-files or URLs to Google Books, Jstor and other online services. He also embedded images and videos from YouTube and Google Video. In order to encourage students to share their thoughts with the class Dr. Lornsen embedded interactive pin walls using Lino (http://en.linoit.com), which allowed the anonymous posting of stickies. Anonymous course feedback was facilitated via embedded Google Forms (http://docs.google.com). On two occasions the results of in-class group work were scanned and the images made available on the course website using the free "lightboxgallery"-plugin. When a class had to be canceled, Dr. Lornsen recorded and posted the lecture as a podcast on the website. Since the files were rather large they were  uploaded the MP3s to my Dropbox account (www.dropbox.com) and linked to them on the course website. Moodle's media filter automatically replaced these links with embedded audio players, so students could listen to the lectures on the website. Throughout the course the students had to complete ten quizzes, which were posted, submitted and graded on the course website. Frequently these quizzes would contain images or embedded video clips from YouTube and Google Video.