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Current Events in the Middle East: Arab Society through Online News Media (245-0-1)


Ragy H Ibrahim Mikhaeel
Crowe Hall 4-117
Ragy Mikhaeel is a native of Cairo, Egypt. He taught Arabic at Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges before coming to Northwestern ten years ago. He is the author of Barron’s Learn Arabic: The Fast and Fun Way (as Ragy H. Ibrahim), He received the 2015 Excellence in Foreign Language Teaching Award from the Council on Language Instruction (CLI) and the 2017-2018 Provost's Fellowship for Digital Learning Award.

Meeting Info

Fisk Hall 114: Mon, Wed 11:00AM - 12:20PM

Overview of class

This course engages students in learning about current events in the Middle East. In-depth explorations of a variety of news topics through online news media such as newspaper articles, blogs and videos help students build a comprehensive vocabulary and explore the specialized language of Media Arabic as well as learn to respect alternative topics, ideas and diversity of views as expressed in the media sources. There is a clear shift in readership trends in the MENA region, especially since young people across the Arab world have become socially and politically active online, as well as through contributions to media and newspaper columns. And although newspapers and online social media are two very different platforms, it is clear that both continue to play a role in shaping the way news and public opinion are disseminated and shared.

Registration Requirements

Pre-requisite: Arabic 125-0 and one 200-level Arabic course; or permission of the instructor.

Learning Objectives

Media Arabic practices the language of print and Internet news media to students of Arabic seeking to reach the Advanced-Low level. In order to prepare students to read, watch and listen to real foreign language media on their own, the course will work on the following linguistic and cultural goals:
1. to identify linking words and connectors and integrate the grammar knowledge you have acquired throughout your journey learning Arabic into developing a higher level of reading comprehensibility;
2. to use 400-500 new media words both from written and spoken media and to practice these words through the flashcard function in;
3. to develop strategies to help you locate the main ideas, read comprehensively, to understand and assess the relationships between different parts of the news broadcasts and newspaper articles;
4. to comprehend written and spoken media Arabic both in FuSha and in Ammiya by recognizing the difference between the two language varieties and its purpose used by lay people and the educated speaker;
5. to summarize and present key details of current news events in your own words (written and oral) including voicing critical remarks;
6. to draw upon background knowledge in Arab politics, economics and history, as well as journalistic practices in the Arab world to make connections between the text and the real world;
7. to distinguish and compare Arabic news sources based on cultural perspectives and biases, facts and opinions and to interpret them accordingly.

Teaching Method

This is an interactive, reading and discussion-based class which requires significant independent work and initiative. As students will have a subscription to the website "" which contains over 100 learning units, students can accelerate their learning substantially by working with additional learning units. We will cover about one topic / unit per week and students will present one topic / unit to the class towards the end of the end of the quarter as an example of independent reading and learning.

Evaluation Method

The final assessment of this course is based on a variety of inputs that include attendance and participation, completion of homework, various assignments aligned with the learning goals and one oral presentation.

Class Materials (Required)

The course materials will be provided by the instructor.

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Prerequisite: ARABIC 121‐3 and ARABIC 125‐0 or permission of the instructor.