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UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The impact of language. Collaborating across borders to the design, development and promotion of an Online Palestinian Arabic Course

Disclaimer: The data for this page has been produced from IATI data published by UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Please contact them (Show Email Address) if you have any questions about their data.

Programme Data Last Updated: 23/03/2022

IATI Identifier: GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-AH_R004617_1


The design, development and promotion of an Online Palestinian Arabic Course (OPAC) will significantly extend the impact of the AHRC project 'Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State' (RM Borders). The RM Borders Project was funded through the Translating Cultures themes and led by Prof Alison Phipps (University of Glasgow). The OPAC will expand the impact of the Teaching Arabic to Speakers of Other Languages case study (TASOL CS) of the RM Borders Project through the design of an innovative online Arabic course that is sustainable, grounded in Palestinian culture and language and adapted for delivery in challenging contexts. The TASOL CS was a piece of action research to train online teachers of Arabic in the Gaza Strip (Palestine). For the past 10 years, the Gaza Strip has been under Israeli blockade. Because of the blockade, the population of the Strip is in a state of forced immobility, unable to move freely in and out of the Gaza Strip. The blockade has resulted in very high unemployment, especially among young graduates, and in forced cultural and linguistic homogeneity. The aim of the TASOL CS was to create opportunities for multilingual, intercultural and professional collaboration between graduates of the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) - a partner institution in the RM Borders Project - and a team of foreign language teaching experts based at the University of Glasgow (UoG). It consisted in a 60-hour training course for a group of graduates from IUG, to co-explore effective practices for Arabic language teaching through online tools. The TASOL CS was instrumental in the establishing of the Arabic Center, an offshoot of the RM Borders Project. Housed at IUG, the Arabic Center offers opportunities for online work to the teachers of Arabic that were trained through the TASOL CS. As a practical output of the TASOL CS, the Palestinian teachers have now the opportunity to work online, teaching Arabic learners worldwide. As well as enabling them to gain financially, online work also offers the Palestinian teachers and their international students opportunities to engage in intercultural and multilingual exchanges. The first group of online international learners who were taught by the trained teachers at the Arabic Center expressed high satisfaction in the course they completed. However, they also voiced a need for curricula and resources grounded in Palestinian culture, art, literature and heritage and for engaging with Palestinian Arabic alongside the modern standard variety of the language. The OPAC - to be designed collaboratively with the TASOL trained teachers - will be an innovative language course (36 hours, Beginner level) that meets this need, and which offers a unique leaning experience and a pioneering syllabus for online education in/from a context of crisis. The OPAC will also build on the expertise gained through the design of the successful Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World MOOC, an output of the RM Borders Project, and will contribute to the portfolio of work done under the UNESCO chair on 'Refugee Integration through Language and the Arts' held by Prof Phipps, UoG. The online TASOL course delivered as part of the RM Borders project has already received much attention by academic and non-academic audiences and a presentation on it was one of the few selected for presentation at the UNESCO/UNHCR Mobile Learning Week (Paris, March 2017), which focussed on 'Education in Situations of Emergencies and Crisis'. The design, development and promotion of an innovative, context-specific, multimedia, multimodal online course will expand significantly the impact of the RM Borders project, greatly enhancing its economic social and cultural value by ensuring engagement of new audiences worldwide with the work carried out at the Arabic Center, and by providing a template for effective and sustainable online language teaching in challenging contexts.


This proposal is for the design, development and promotion of an innovative Arabic language course grounded in Palestinian culture, art, history, and adapted to online delivery from the challenging context of the Gaza Strip (Palestine). The design of this course addresses unanticipated pathways to impact for the AHRC 'Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State' (RM Borders) led by Prof Phipps and part of the Translating Cultures theme (2013-2017). The proposed Online Palestinian Arabic Course (OPAC) expands RM Borders' impact by translating into a concrete and practical output the insights gained during the project. The OPAC also enhances the experience and skills gained by RM Borders' researchers in designing the highly successful 'Mutliningual Learning for a Globalised World' MOOC, an output of the RM Borders Project. An innovative, sustainable, contextualised course, the OPAC will engage new audiences and attract online students of Arabic worldwide, impacting on the development of language teaching practices in challenging contexts. It builds on the outcomes of one of the case studies (TASOL CS) of the RM Borders Project. The RM Borders TASOL CS was a piece of action research which delivered training to Palestinian teachers of Arabic as a foreign language, focussing on the use of online tools for language teaching in challenging contexts. The Arabic Center is an offshoot of the RM Borders Project, housed at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), and it currently employs all the teachers trained through the RM Borders TASOL CS as online Arabic teachers. Feedback from international online students learning Arabic at the Arabic Center shows that there is a substantial interest in learning Palestinian colloquial Arabic in addition to Modern Standard Arabic, and in having access to a more contextually grounded course, which encompasses elements of Palestinian culture, arts, and overall heritage. Based on this feedback, this proposal for the design of an innovative online Beginner course to be delivered over 12 weeks (36 hours in total). The course will be designed, developed and promoted in close collaboration with the trained teachers and in partnership with the Arabic Center - aims to translate The RM Borders TASOL's outcomes into practice that will engage non-academic audiences in a range of contexts. The main objectives of this proposal are: 1) Design an efficient and rigorous multimedia, multimodal, interactive language course (Beginner level) that can be delivered in challenging situations using readily available online tools. 2) Attract potential Arabic learners to the Arabic Center by offering courses that are unique, creative, contextually-grounded and appealing. 3) Build capacity for the Arabic Center to become a model for innovative, sustainable, engaging online language teaching/learning. 4) Expand the collaboration between the University of Glasgow and the Arabic Center to create and disseminate expertise on language education in contexts of emergency and crisis. 5) Provide a model for remote teaching/learning in situations of crisis and emergencies that is: built on pedagogical aims; contextualised; holistic; easily accessible; and sustainable. 6) Promote the course through knowledge exchange events, to provide a point of reference to policy makers and IT specialists on effective ways and needs for teaching/learning in challenging situations The Arabic Center will also be able to train other teachers to deliver the OPAC, such as teachers in other parts of Palestine and to Palestinian refugees in neighbouring countries (e.g. Lebanon). This proposal will also allow Dr Giovanna Fassetta (early career researcher in the RM Borders project) to gain the experience of collaborating with non-academic stakeholders, to lead and manage a project as P.I., and to expand and diversify non-academic outputs.

Status - Post-completion More information about Programme status
Programme Spend More information about Programme funding
Participating Organisation(s) More information about implementing organisation(s)

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