I have an opportunity to teach a semester-long intro course for majors in a field in the humanities (undergrad) at a German university. Probably about 20 students. I am fluent in German so that is no problem.
I've only taught in the USA, and don't have connections or friends there to ask about expectations, so maybe somebody here can clear up a few doubts and questions.
1. Do profs. still hand out syllabi at the start of a course? Or is this now normally all done online? If so, what do students expect to be told on a syllabus, and at what level of detail?
2. How much reading is reasonable or expected?
3. If reading is in English, will students be apt to protest?
4. What kind and how many quizzes, exams, etc. are typical?
Thanks in advance.
Based on my own experiences....
1. I never really saw a syllabus. if anything, there may have been a one-page outline of the material covered each week. Classes usually met once a week for two ours, always from 15 minutes past the hour to 15 minutes to the hour (called the "academic quarter-hour"), so classes are actually only 90 minutes long. from, say, 10:15 to 11:45.
2. Classes usually had only one or maybe two books. Even in literature classes. Sometimes classes had no books and simply a collection of photocopied materials that we could buy from the professor. Amounts of reading will be much lower than what we are used to. On the other hand, students will expect to discuss textbook content or readings in great detail and not just in broad strokes as we tend to do.
3. Yes. Although German students start learning English in elementary school and some are quite good or at least believe they are quite good at it, the level of proficiency is by and large lower than expected.
4. Testing tends to be high stakes. Many classes have only a final exam and no other assignments or assessments. Papers are frequently required. 10-12 pages is reasonable for undergraduates, 20-25 for graduate students. Papers are customarily written during semester breaks after the class has ended and then submitted later, sometimes much later. (That may have changed today.) If you insist that all assignments be completed by the last day of class, expect some blowback. Many classes require students to give presentations on textbook or course content (the ubiquitous "Referat"). These presentations are not meant for additional, nice-to-know topics. Students will present major course content, and the professor will consider these presentations equal to having duly taught said content. Some classes consist mainly of sitting in the room silently all semester while listening to presentations given by classmates and asking the occasional question.
But for the details, do contact the department. They'll fill you in on the departmental culture and their expectations.