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Franz-Josef Leithold

Franz-Josef Leithold received the State Teaching Award for his “Multimedia Teaching and Learning Program: Literature and Film – Effi Briest,”

Dr. Leithold received the award for the “Multimedia Teaching and Learning Program: Literature and Film – Effi Briest,” which he developed together with the director of the media lab, Mr. Sentilo Rieber, and presented and further refined with great success over the past few years within the context of the International Summer Courses and the International Student Weeks of the University of Freiburg, also with help from international visiting lecturers. The multimedia application illustrates the possibilities of literary interpretation using four film adaptations of Theodor Fontane’s well-known novel and is targeted primarily at undergraduate students of German literature, students of German as a foreign language, and participants of the International Summer Courses of the University of Freiburg. 

Using an innovative methodological approach, this instructional program actively and creatively takes into account changes in the reception of literature and in the perception of German culture abroad. The multimedia program can be used as part of university courses, as a tool for preparing for courses, or for independent study. The thematic structure of the film sequences allows comparisons to be drawn between the film adaptations and the original literary work on which they are based. The relevant passages of the novel can be retrieved at any time for comparison or even viewed and read parallel to the film. At the same time, the film sequences can be used to illustrate developments in the history of film and changes in the aesthetics of film. The film adaptations also provide insights concerning the time in which they were created.

The multimedia program was received with great enthusiasm when it was presented at the university’s Multimedia Week and at the International Study Weeks, where participants were able to work with it without guidance thanks to the overall conception and design of the individual screen pages.

The positive feedback from the participants and their high level of motivation (Leithold has received requests for permission to use the program from other departments at the university as well as from international visiting lecturers) confirm that the multimedia application “Literature and Film: Effi Briest” addresses a need in humanities instruction. It may thus be viewed as a project with exemplary character, particularly in light of recent efforts at the university to increase the attractiveness of Freiburg for international students. The teaching and learning program has been shown to promote the learning climate and motivate students to learn and discuss independently in small groups. The program is suitable for further development and adaptation, and further applications are currently being planned – another aspect that convinced the jury appointed by the university.