course
Advanced German II

May 2019

I think that the course is important in the sequence, and Prof. Motyl is good at building writing and grammatical skills, but the actual content of the course was disappointing. It entirely focuses on Vienna and Austria, which wasn't something I'm interested in, and felt disorganized. I felt like I was doing busy work and that the group projects were unnecessary. I think there needs to be focus of the course picked and a better structure. We commonly ran out of time to go over all of the material we had been assigned to prepare for the day, which was disappointing as a student because it felt like I wasted my time on homework I didn't need to do. I found her to be a bit patronizing, and I felt uncomfortable speaking in class in case I messed up a sentence structure or didn't understand a question. I would suggest more patience and understanding that some students don't understand things perfectly every time, rather than getting frustrated when we don't do readings when she doesn't even remember the homework we were assigned.

Apr 2016

Simona is an extremely nice, laid back and personable professor. As far as I know, my Advanced German II class was the first Advanced German II class that she taught at Columbia (I think she usually teaches elementary and intermediate students). My experience in her class has been excellent. In a class that's centered mostly around discussion and readings, Simona comes up with thought-provoking questions and interesting ways to explore materials. You can't go wrong by taking a class with Simona.

May 2010

Professor Motyl is a fantastic professor. She's very nice and is always willing to answer questions. She is able to explain difficult concepts clearly and is willing to repeat them several times so that everyone understands. The course is based on Austrian culture, which is a nice change of pace from the primarily Germany-centric courses the rest of the department offers. We discussed Austrian music, economics, history, culture, art, sports, major cities, etc. At the end of the semester we read one book, Arthur Schnitzler's ,,Fräulein Else." The course itself was not too difficult, though there was a lot of work assigned, more than I feel was necessary. We usually had so much homework assigned that we couldn't go over all of it in class. There was one assignment we didn't get to until two months after it was assigned. That's definitely not to say that homework for this class takes up a lot of time; it's just that if you were to go over each individual question in lecture (which we did) then you wouldn't be able to get through it all. Sometimes I felt the assignments were superfluous or just busy work, but most of the time they were valuable. That's really the only bad thing I can say about the course. I'm sure if we had asked Professor Motyl to assign less work she would have; it's just nobody felt it was that big of a problem.