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Questions to the Augsburg Magazine eMAG

  1. What exactly is the course called and how does it fit into the study program? What English skills are being covered? And how do you learn the required writing skills?

The course has a rather unspectacular name: it goes by Integrated Language Skills (LPO 2012) / Integrated Language Skills 2 (LPO 2008) (eMag). eMAG is part of a module that consists of three courses, the other two being Effective Writing and Übersetzung Englisch-Deutsch (1). eMAG fits in here as an opportunity for students to put the skills they have learned in those other courses to practical use in an authentic, english-speaking environment. The eMAG course itself is there to improve students’ writing skills outside of the usual term paper style. We try to convey a more informal writing style in general.

  • eMAG has a very project-based way of practising writing skills. Would you say this is more promising for participants than a traditional class?

I’m going to go with the diplomatic route here and say that a good mix between a theoretical approach and a practical one is very useful. You can’t learn a language simply by reading about it. You have to use it to actual get better at it. And a part of that certainly is writing, too, in all its forms. But at the same time, it’s also necessary to have a good foundation to start working on a project like eMAG. You need to have some basic understanding of how to structure your writing, that there are differences between writing in German and English – and that does include formal differences. And that is something we wouldn’t be able to do in just one term with one session a week. In a nutshell, I’d say that eMAG is a great opportunity if you have the necessary foundations.

  • For us, organisational tasks took up a lot of time and it wasn’t quite clear who was responsible for what. Also, what presented a bit of a struggle was that our course is supposed to teach writing skills before all else but the magazine focus didn’t allow much time for that. How do you handle organizational tasks within a writing course?

It’s good to see that similar projects are struggling with similar problems. There is no way around it and I was lucky enough to join the course at a time when a lot of these issues had already been dealt with and solved. There already was a good routine that people before me had set up. The trick is to give the course a real project structure with different layers of who would be responsible for what – teams for layouting and media and advertisement to just name a few. Within these groups, the regular members, who take the course for credit points, will mostly focus on writing and only take on smaller tasks to help create the final magazine. The experienced staff, on the other hand, get clear assignments on what needs to be done. In the end, the editor-in-chief has the fun task of managing and overseeing all those groups and bringing everything together.

  • Who is eligible to join the class, i.e. students of what semester or year of the study program? How many are you in total and what is the ratio between students who do the course voluntarily and those who do it for credit points? Do both of these groups participate in the same way?

There is no real condition set for joining the class, especially if you’re studying English: if you need the credit points, who are we to tell you you can’t come? We do prefer for the people to have completed the writing part of the module beforehand, or at least to be taking that class in the same term, but we can’t enforce that. Naturally, though, most people are doing it this way because following the module structure makes the most sense. In turn, that means that most new members are in or around their 3rd semester. In terms of how many people join, there’s some fluctuation: there are usually more participants during winter terms, but it’s roughly 20-25 people in general. Only few of these aren’t English students – although I wouldn’t say there’s a difference in participation. On top of that, there is my team which consists of seven people at the moment. These tend to be people who have participated before and can’t get any more credit points. They are just there for a good time.

  • In our course, we tried to assign different roles to different people. However, we didn’t define clearly enough what each role’s job was, leading to the point where some people did much more work than others. What roles do you have within your team? And what tasks does each role involve? Is the work distributed in a rather even way, or are there also differences between the work load of different people?

I think this little chart from our guidelines does a better job at visualizing this than I could in words:
The new members are being split into either working on layouts or promoting the magazine, apart from working on their articles. Both teams are supervised by team leaders who know how everything is supposed to be structured and help out wherever necessary. If even they don’t know the solution, it’s usually my part to figure something out. Problem solver would probably be one of the better descriptions for what I do. There is a lot of organizing things behind the scenes, too, of course: finding printers, organizing everything to be in line with our university and making decisions on how to go forward or cutting inappropriate articles, though we do try to avoid that at all costs. Nonetheless, it happens every once in a while.

We struggled a lot to find a good balance between the workload of the layout team compared to the media team. Layouting is just such a time-consuming but necessary part of it all that it makes it difficult to cut down on it, yet the media team usually doesn’t face quite as many tasks throughout the term. Last term we struck a good balance by giving each member of the Media team the task to write one additional article which would be published on our website while the layout team didn’t get that assignment. This lead to the workload being evened out for the most part.

Apart from that, there’s Writing Support, a team that consists of three experienced eMAGgers. Their job is to correct early drafts and give feedback, before the final draft goes to the course coordinator.

  • What does your lecturer do exactly? What is their role in the production of each magazine? And how do they grade each person’s work?

The entire course is supposed to be run by students. But as we wouldn’t be allowed to give people credit, Mr. Jehle is the one who’s in charge officially. Until last term, it was Mr. James, who founded eMAG. The lecturer’s job is to organise exams and talk to the higher-ups of our university in case there are issues we couldn’t solve by ourselves. They also correct final article drafts so we do get some professional feedback.


As for grading, that’s a mystery, even to me. I think it’s really just magic… Ideally, though, we would love to be able to grade the work during the course and skip the exam entirely, but as we are part of the entire three-part module structure, we have to offer an exam which is also created by our course coordinator. Since the class takes up more time than a regular course, though, we try not to put additional work on participants for exam preparation. The aim is to create an exam that can be answered relatively easily by any regular class member.

  • We heard that your editors are meeting every week with the lecturer – what is being discussed in those weekly meetings?

Another rather boring answer: it’s just to catch up on things that are going on. Making sure nothing’s being overlooked or forgotten about. Mr. James’ experience in this matter was invaluable. He didn’t encounter most problems for the first time, so he knew how to handle things if something went awry. And there tends to be at least one thing each term that does.

  • How do you organize the advertisement for your magazine?

At this point, we have a few contract partners that have been advertising in eMAG for a long time, which makes the process a lot easier: they know exactly what needs to be done once we come around and ask if they’re still interested. The process consists of two steps: first off, we need to get the contracts signed by our partners who then in turn will send us their ad. This ad is then being handled like a regular magazine page and copied into inDesign. After that, we need to deal with the entire bureaucratic process of handing in the contracts to our university. The people in charge then check if they are all legally printable and if any mistakes have been made. If everything is found to be in order, they write the bill.

  • Our first magazine didn’t have a general topic, and everyone just wrote about whatever they were interested in. However, we think it will be better if our magazine has that kind of topic for each semester’s edition from now on. How do you decide on a topic for each term?

That’s one of the funnier parts of class! During one of the last sessions each term we dedicate one hour to brainstorming ideas on what could be interesting as a topic. It must be a topic that hasn’t been covered yet, of course. Once we have a list of potential topics, everyone gets to vote on what will be the Main Topic for the following issue. We usually go with that decision, but I remember a few terms ago when more than 90% of people voted on a topic that we ended up not taking. My deputy and I decided on the topic Misfits instead, although that topic only had two votes, coming from the both of us. Guess that’s one of the few perks of being editor-in-chief.

  1. How do you manage a deadline as early in the semester as one month after it started? And what do you do afterwards?

For everything to go as smoothly as possible, the team and I sit down during the term break to plan everything out with a very strict schedule. Experience, of course, already plays into this, so we kind of know how well some deadlines will work out or how much time you really need to give people with certain assignments to get reasonable results. Then, one week before the term actually starts, I write an e-mail to the course and give the participants all the details, so everyone is already well-prepared and know what’s coming. That method has been working out for us pretty well.

  1. Do some of your Lehramt students plan on using the skills and ideas from your magazine project later on, in the school classroom?

As I’m not going to become a teacher, I can only make assumptions here, but I think working in a team project like eMAG definitely makes organizing a bit easier later on, when you want to get anything done with a horde of 30 pupils. I look at it realistically, though, and say that it’s most likely not going to be a magazine in and of itself. What is useful, I would imagine, is the skills you learn without even noticing for the most part: Working in a team, problem solving, time management. Skills that are becoming more and more important in our society. So maybe that is our little contribution to the development of our students in the course. I, at least, hope so and, most importantly, that it’s a fun time for everyone in what’s otherwise often a very monotonous university day.

Underrated University Events: The Elections

It took around two terms at Augsburg University until I realised that there are elections – and four more to wake my interest. Credit to a coursemate of mine, who ran as a candidate for the Young Socialists (Jusos). This term I wanted to vote. This term I wanted to use the right we all have and barely ever think of. And there’s more: I even planned to write an article about my experience and the electoral system.

The Plan

The first thing I did was visit my coursemate. Solid as a rock he stood, promoting the elections, waves of his fellow students passing him by with very indifferent looks on their faces. Most of them didn’t even glance at the small booth in front of Alte Cafete where info material and small giveaways were neatly arranged on the table, waiting for interested people to come. I was greeted with a smile as I advanced with determination. In a few moments, I thought, I would finally understand the electoral system and the possibilities of participation we all have. I thought of this to be the easiest research I’d ever done.

How my plan failed

The guy standing in front of me answered my question on the electoral system with a slightly uneasy smile and led me to an enormous chart. Really, it was huge. After two minutes I lost my confidence and after five my focus. Most countries have easier electoral systems. Even the American system is easier to understand. How should I ever write an article about that? I had to change my plans, so I decided to write about how I experienced voting in general. Polling day advanced.

How my second plan failed

As always, I waited until the very last moment. Only 15 minutes were left before the polling stations would close. Stressed out I was looking for the small slip of paper with the room number given to me by my coursemate. I couldn’t find it. Running around I asked people where the polling station was. Nobody knew! I couldn’t see a damn sign anywhere. Not even an arrow! How was I supposed to write an article about an election I never took part in? I could’ve written about how the university should inform the students about the elections from their first day on. Or how they could put up a big banner with information as they do for the exam enrolment. Finally, it came to my mind that there is something more important to say.

The last straw

I decided to say thank you. Thanks to all fellow students who ran as candidates in these elections. Thanks to everybody who voted in the election or took part in its organisation. And finally, thanks to my coursemate and all the other students who make an effort to represent us, even if we don’t know. Without them, we would hardly be represented at all. If we don’t take part in the elections for ourselves, we should take part as a small gesture of respect and appreciation towards our representatives. It would have the positive side-effect of shaping the university’s politics as we want them to be. How is there supposed to be any change, if we don’t vote on it? Next time I will vote. We should all vote. It just takes a few minutes and doesn’t hurt. Or so I’ve been told.

Author: Nicolas Pols

Underrated University events : International Day

I have been studying at the University of Augsburg for over two years, but I’ve never heard of International Day. As somebody that’s highly interested in other countries’ cultures and especially their food, it’s safe to say that I was excited to be part of this event for the first time.


Foreign students present their country

The biggest part of this event is, of course, the presentation of countries from all over the world, done by students that are either natives or have lived there. Since our table was right next to India, and I was very intrigued by the delicious-looking food that people were handing out right next to us. I decided that the “Asia corner” would be my first stop. My first time walking through, I decided to have a look at everything before starting to talk to people. The people from the Indian table, apart from having great music and food, also offered henna tattoos, which looked absolutely beautiful. Right next to them, I was immediately offered some rice from the nice man behind the Pakistan table. I continued my journey looking at every country from Japan to China over to Korea. I also met quite a lot of people interested in Australia and New Zealand. Beside their curiosity in vegemite, they also wanted some information on studying abroad and on what to look for when applying. Right at the entrance, I saw a flock of people collected around Georgia. When I looked closer, I realized what was keeping them: some very nice-smelling food.

But what’s the one thing that attracts students more than food? Alcohol! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try any of it but people looked thrilled at the shots offered right next to “HS I”. Exams are getting closer and what better way could there be to prepare yourself? These are just some highlights that I saw, but these weren’t even half the countries you were able to get a glimpse of. So all in all, if you missed this time, make sure to visit next time, because the people you meet are delightful. Here’s a big thank you to everyone that put so much effort into showing us their home or favourite travel detination.

What else was there?

Not only were you able to get an insight into other countries’ cultures but you could also meet experienced people who were ready to reply to your questions. Whether you consider studying or working abroad, and no matter which continent you consider going to, these people are there to help you. And, last but not least, there was… us. We were there, too, to spread the word about eMAG. In case you missed out on this one (like I always did), make sure you follow our social media accounts where we post regularly about events on and around campus:
Instagram: @emag_ua
Facebook: @eMAGUniAugsburg

Author & Picture: Melani Cifric

Sympathy for a killer


The lights come on and in a nightgown Ruth Ellis (Lotte Albrecht) enters the stage to the bittersweet Blues of Billie Holiday, which immediately draws the audience into the stylish, but flawed version of the 1950s that forms the backdrop for the story preceding Ruth’s death. On 13 July 1955, at the age of 28 she is hanged, the last woman in Britain to suffer this fate. Her crime: she shot her lover in cold blood. What drove this young, beautiful woman over the edge? Why did she not even attempt to defend herself? These are some of the questions “The Thrill of Love” by Amanda Whittington aims to explore.

An emotional rollercoaster

The story is told in flashbacks through the perspective of Inspector Jack Gale (Jack Sigel). During his investigation he reconstructs a selection of events that give us an insight into the seedy world of gentlemen’s clubs and the women working the nights. Always present on bar room stage, he is a constant reminder that even the happiest moments in the lives of the women there are nothing but stepping stones on the path to the grim future we already know. However, these scenes of joy are one of the greatest feats of the play: it’s all too easy to get lost in the hopelessness and sadness that is usually associated with the story of Ruth Ellis. The playful banter between the women is a welcome break and allows the actresses to display their perfect timing and quick delivery. Thanks to these moments the characters become more than just parts of a tragic story. We become invested in their hopes and dreams, although we should know full well that they are unlikely at best. When this realization finally kicks in during the second half of the play, it hits that much harder.

Powerful performances

There are no extras in “The Thrill of Love”. Every character has his or her moments. The club’s manager Sylvia Shaw (Lucie Marchand) appears to be all business, but she cares deeply about all the women who work for her. The charwoman Doris (Anna Hilbel) often puts her needs behind those of others, even if it puts her own happiness at risk. The young Vicky Martin (Sara Steffes) hopes to meet powerful men and become a star on the big screen. Even Inspector Gale, cold as he may seem, turns out to be motivated by more than the mere desire to solve a case.

An unforgettable evening

“The Thrill of Love” is a powerful experience. The crew surrounding Rudolf Beck has managed to create a captivating atmosphere that lingers long after the curtain closes. We may know the outcome from the very beginning, but we don’t know the story behind it. In finding out, it’s difficult not to feel somewhat like a voyeur. Personal tragedies happen in silence. It’s when they emerge that we start to care.

 

Performances:

Thursday 6th December
Friday 7th December
Tuesday 11th December
Thursday 13th December

8 p.m., Hörsaal II

 

Author & Poster: Andreas Böhm

“Love and madness go always together”

The guitar music that reaches out at me as I enter Hörsaal II to watch this term’s production of the Anglistentheater is soothing, somewhat relaxing. It fits the scene I see on stage where two young children (Lea Bess, Tara Vogel; Milla Hünig, Midori Tran) and a nurse (Julia Teuchner) are playing quietly with a toy ship. However, the lapping of rain and low rumbling of thunder in the background announce imminent disaster.

What’s the play about?

Ben Power’s version of Euripides’ Greek tragedy Medea shows how boundless love can turn into boundless fury. I don’t want to give away too much, as you should really experience the story yourselves, but here’s a rough outline of the story: Jason (Maximilian Leoson) abandons his two sons and his wife Medea (Lotte Albrecht) to marry Krёusa (Sara Steffes), the daughter of the Corinthian King Kreon (Jack Sigel). Heartbroken and riven by grief, Medea vows revenge on her husband. She wants him to experience the same endless pain she feels after his betrayal. Or as she puts it: she chooses to take back her life. The disaster takes its course.

An absolute must-see

It was the perfect interaction of all relevant factors that made me like this theatre play so much. The casting is spot on, from the bigger roles to the smaller ones, such as the Corinthian women (Kristina Becker, Jasmin Gall, Lucie Marchand), Jason’s attendant (Kathrin Bayer) or the King of Athens, Aegeus (Baris Kirat). I especially loved Lotte’s performance of Medea, perfectly portraying her as a grieving yet strong and independent woman with a sprinkle of madness in her eyes. Not only were the performances amazing; the sound and costumes need to be praised, too. Medea and Jason are both wearing harem pants and look unkempt, which makes it clear that they are two of a kind. They stand out against the Corinthians, all dressed neatly, all the women wearing more modest make-up than Medea. Ominous music and thunderous rumbling are used to prepare the audience for upcoming disasters.

Go and watch it!

I left the play thinking about what I’d just experienced for quite a while. Can a broken heart really make you perform such evil actions? Do love and madness always go together? Is Medea strong or a psychopath? Or is she maybe both? The fact that it’s almost impossible not to think about these things afterwards shows just what a good job the Anglistentheater team has done. With this performance of Medea, they have once again surpassed themselves and exceeded my expectations, as they do every semester. So I highly recommend you watch one of their shows, which take place on Thursday the 07th, Friday 8th, Tuesday 12th and Thursday 14th at 7:45 pm in Hörsaal II here at Uni. Tickets can be ordered online with the order forms or bought at the Taschenbuchladen Krüger located near the Königsplatz.

 

Text: Jessica Jones
Flyer: Andreas Böhm
Photos: K. Satzinger-Viel

 

My personal hell

We all dread that moment at the beginning of term when the lecturer says this magic word that creates a wave of desperation in the room: “presentations”. Yes, we all hate them. Not even all lecturers are convinced of these infamous presentations, as after them the presenters will be the only ones to know about the topic. We all try to be nice and not look too annoyed. But don’t we all feel the same? Or, at least most of us? Rumour has it that there are indeed some people out there who like presentations. Anyway, what’s even more dreadful for most of us is the lecturer telling us: “Work in groups of two or three.” Yay, exactly what I didn’t want to do. Let’s face it – we’re all much too different, some even misanthropic, to be able to really like this kind of work. There are so many types of group members that you wouldn’t want to come across that it seems almost impossible to be lucky for once and find THE partner that really is a joy to work with.

So, what kind of team players will you come across when doing presentations in a group? Let’s have a look at some of them…

The one that never has time

Just after the topics and partners have been assigned, you try to approach each other carefully and swap numbers to keep in touch. It’s clear that you’ve got to meet at least once. Rarely will you be able to do everything just online. It’s possible, but only with very few topics. So, the first hurdle is to find a time when you could meet.

Of course, you all assure each other that you’re flexible enough and will meet anytime there’s no other lecture. You start with Monday – doesn’t work, the sister’s friend’s cousin needs help attending their garden. Okay, how about Tuesday? Nah, doesn’t work, as there’s a shift at work. Sure, what’s with Wednesday? Uh, classes all day. Thursday? Your partner’s grandmother needs help with the cat’s appointment at the vet’s. Friday? Leaving for the whole weekend. Next week? Same procedure ….. “But I’m really flexible. I’m free almost every day.” Uhm, yeah. If you say so.

The one that decides everything

Hi, nice to meet you. I saw you in that lecture last term. You seem to be nice. That’s cool. Let’s get started. What’s your number? I know this topic. I’ve already done the research. How about we meet tomorrow morning at 7 am? Yes? Cool. Okay, I’ll do the Powerpoint. Well, I even started. I can send you the material. Found everything at the library and scanned it. I’ll send it to your mail. What’s your mail address? Oh, and I have a great source. We’re gonna use it. This will be so cool. You’ll see – the lecturer will be impressed. I’m really experienced with this. Oh, and don’t worry about the handout. I’ll do it. I’ve got a template. And I even prepared the outline of our presentation.” And you end up standing there, having done almost nothing for the presentation, not liking how it looks, not knowing what it’s even supposed to be about and trying to mumble a few words while your partner eagerly talks for thirty minutes straight.

The one that is a ghost

Sometimes you don’t get to choose who to work with. It’s a name you’ve come across several times, but you can’t seem to remember the corresponding face. Well, you figure you could just call out the name at the end of class. No answer, just people looking bewildered. Okay, contact the person on Digicampus. After your first message you receive no answer. You send another one the following week (there was another no-show in class) and – again – receive no answer. Your third mail gets you a short answer telling you that the person has been out of town and will gladly work with you. The time comes round and you wait where you wanted to meet. But you’re stood up. Next attempt – it’s just two weeks left until the presentation is due – yet again, another no-show. Now’s the time to get worried. You approach the lecturer and try to explain the situation. Mostly they show sympathy, but in the end you’ll just do the presentation on your own. Your partner’s identity shall forever remain a mystery.

Concept: Tobias Lorenz & Angie Czygann
Text: Angie Czygann
Picture: Niklas Schmidt

Ready Editor One

A new term – a new eMAG. New faces everywhere, coupled with the familiar ones. Yet, this term’s editors (Player 1 and Player 2) of our beloved magazine are sitting in front of their computers while everybody else is out playing in the sun. In case you haven’t heard of us, we’re the people who run after you at the end of every term with a bunch of magazines in our hands – by students for students, you know?

The position of Player 1 changes every term, so every new term a new sucker is challenged by being chief editor and trying to figure out how the hell everything works and how s/he is going to publish something readable at the end of term. Luckily, Player 1 is not alone. S/He has his trusty deputy (Player 2) at hand. Player two is, for those of you who like Game of Thrones, the Hand of the King. In this case, Hand to the Editor: advising, shadowing and helping the editor in his/her daily tasks. “But it’s just a magazine – why do you take on so much without getting any credit?” Player 1 is bound to hear that sentence a million times whilst whining about how much s/he has to do. But it’s the product. The finished magazine that fuels our desires and motivates us enough not to go completely insane over the course of time.

So what do we actually do?

Feedback on my own article

This means work… and a lot of it. Not only during class. No, mainly outside of class. You think we sit at a bar all Friday night drinking tequila. Yeah we would love that, actually. Unfortunately, we’re too damn busy. For instance, we have to rewrite a shitload of stuff, draft a million emails and worry about our little sheep that are in the course. You slowly start to realize this can’t be accomplished by a single person or you’ll lose your mind. Also, every game becomes more fun in multiplayer.

Get to know our team

You’ve already heard about the deputy, saving our Player 1 from forgetting appointments but we’re talking about finishing an entire magazine! You need more than co-operation for that. Not an issue, I tell you, because there are enough crazy people here at university to fill those roles. The greedy House Advertising, for example, always looking for the best deal and trying to make enough profit to print the bloody thing, while House Promotion is the one that bugs you at least once a term right in front of the Alte Cafete. Seriously, I would not

Feedback on my own article

recommend messing with them, so just take your copy and leave in peace. Now that you own your very own copy, have a look inside, look how colourful it looks! That was House Layout that will work their (tech) magic to create this clash of text and pictures. Or you know, you’re a freshman, have had no opportunity to meet any of us yet. Too sad, you think, but you’re in luck: you can head over to the realm of House Website… right here: emag-augsburg.de (basically where you are right now so the first step is done.. now click that shiny button saying “print”… go ahead. Dooooooo it.) and have a look at aaaaaaall the magazines (back to #17) that have been printed so far.

You have better stuff to do than to sit in front of your computer and stare at old eMAGs? Why not have a look and judge afterwards, hm? Also, if you want to meet us in person, you should mark the following dates on your calendar:
• Wed, 25.04.2018 – Promotion event for eMAG Website
• Wed, 13.06.2018 – International Day

Where? Hörsaalzentrum. Why? Because we can. So be there and get your mind blown by our amazingness. You better be there!

Author & Pictures: Lea Toleranza