Technion’s first online course in Arabic gains significant interest from Arab countries

Nanoscience course set to begin in March 2014 draws interest from Syria, Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Technion course 370 (photo credit: LAURA ROSBROW)
Technion course 370
(photo credit: LAURA ROSBROW)
Thousands of people from Arab countries across the world have expressed interest in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s first online course conducted in Arabic.
The course, taught by Prof. Hossam Haick of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering, will deal with nanotechnology and nanosensors and will officially begin on the online education platform Coursera in March 2014.
Months before the launch, the course’s syllabus had already gained some thousands of views from the Arab world on the site: 1,243 views were recorded in Syria, 5,595 in Egypt, 1,865 in Kuwait, and 1,243 in Saudi Arabia. In addition, 3,730 views were recorded in Israel.
As far as enrollment goes, a significant part of those who consulted the syllabus on Coursera also registered for the class including over 700 people from Saudi Arabia, more than 600 people from Egypt and some 400 from Syria.
An additional 16,000 students subscribed for the English version of the course.
The Technion explained that during the process of developing the online lesson plan, it was decided that the class would maintain a high quality of learning materials while, at the same time presenting the developments and innovations in the forefront of nanoscience research and technology, along with clear and simple explanations. It was also decided to increase the use of props and tools to allow students to better understand the transitions between the macro level, the micro level and the nano level.
Haick’s course will be divided into 10 classes of increasing difficulty level and each lesson will consist of three to five short lecture segments, which will each focus on a particular concept or principle of nanotechnology.
To maintain the audience’s interest, the Technion decided to incorporate numerous illustrations and animations into the lectures.
In addition, some assessment tools such as individual and group tasks, weekly quizzes and a final project will be used to evaluate the students’ understanding, creativity and critical thinking.
“We hope that the course will contribute, if only slightly, to science and engineering education for populations worldwide and maybe even help bring people closer together while working on common tasks and challenges,” the Technion wrote in a statement on Thursday.
Haick added that it is “a privilege” for him to teach the course and “contribute to an efficient dissemination of unique knowledge to a wide spectrum of people in both developed and developing countries, without admission bureaucracies.”