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Miami University
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Di Donato creates PBS German Language Series


Miami University professor and chair of German, Russian and East Asian languages Robert Di Donato has created a new instructional German video series with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

"Fokus Deutsch," the first-ever video-driven German course, incorporates 24 half-hour video lessons on three levels corresponding to three college semesters of instruction. The series includes supplemental textbooks and lab resources by McGraw-Hill publishing, a CD-ROM resource for instructors and a web site, For high school students, McDougal-Littell Publishers produces "Auf Deutsch," a three-level textbook seriess.

"The series uses up-to-date visual images through a kind of soap opera story line, authentic cultural materials and commentaries to immerse students in the world of German," said Di Donato.

Di Donato is chief academic advisor and series developer.

The video and texts work equally well for either classroom use or for home-based learners following the series on television. "Fokus Deutsch" is premiering on WGBH Boston (channel 45) now through Dec. 7.

Di Donato is using the series in a section of beginning German he this semester. "It makes it more interesting when there are characters to talk about," he said, "and you can follow the daily events of their lives on the screen." The series is broadcast locally on MU channel 25, 2 and 8 p.m., Fridays through Mondays.

Funding for the series was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Annenberg/CPB Project, WGBH Boston and the Goethe Institute. German footage was used through a partnership with InterNationes, a producer of German-language teaching materials.


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