You should have completed ARAB 041 and ARAB 043 or one year of high school Arabic.
This course is designed to help you acquire proficiency to use Arabic as it is actually used—to speak, listen, read, write, and to behave in culturally appropriate ways. Face-to-face or online interaction with the course TAs will therefore be largely devoted to using the language, so don’t expect much explanation. Start learning now to be an independent, life-long learner. You will find the facts in your textbooks and other materials; interaction with TAs is the place to primarily act, to learn through doing, to practice. You are expected to prepare well before your appointments with the TAs so that the time can be maximally beneficial. If you fail to prepare and fall behind, you will be asked to prepare and reschedule. We do not expect perfection. We simply ask that you do your best to be prepared to participate. As you prepare but you still have questions, please write them down. Feel free to ask them in online chat or email—after you have done due diligence to find your own answers.
There is a course discussion board at the end of the course, as well as a course wiki. The discussion board is designed for students to connect, discuss course-related matters, and share ideas with each other. The wiki is designed for the instructor to post information that may provide enrichment or relevant information for the course to the students.
A little thought will convince you that consistency is key. No one grade on a quiz or assignment will hurt you or help you much, but your pattern of effort will add up. Consistently preparing well (“practice makes permanent”) will give you the skills you want, the skills that will enable you to use Arabic (and also do well on the final exam). Remember, learning a language happens through diligently and regularly working on it. Daily assignments are all constructed to help you stay focused, but they can be subverted and turned into busy work that results in minimal real learning. We hope you understand that the homework, quizzes, and tests are there for a purpose: so that you can learn Arabic. You can defeat that purpose rather easily, so be careful.
The Conversation Café is a virtual room where conversation practice and speaking appointments take place. Minimal English is used in the Café. Activities are moderated by a TA/instructor. Hours of the Café are posted on the Communication and Conversation Café page. Spend as much time as possible in the Café, practicing the concepts you learn! Before you complete your speaking appointment, you must spend some time practicing in the Conversation Café. You must complete the first Conversation Café to move on in the course.
Speaking appointments are graded oral assessments. You will be required to complete certain language tasks or have a dialogue with the TA/instructor during your speaking appointment. A speaking appointment is a required part of every unit and must be completed before you move on to the next unit. TA-graded speaking appointments are completed on a first-come, first-served basis (no scheduling) in the Conversation Café room. The first, middle, and final exam speaking appointments will be scheduled with your instructor and will take place in the instructor’s virtual room. These appointments require a photo ID and a webcam. If you are not able to keep your scheduled appointment, you must reschedule or cancel at least 24 hours before the appointment. If you fail to show up at your scheduled time, you will receive a 0.
A grade will be posted within 24 hours of the appointment. The lowest score from all of your speaking appointments will be dropped. (This does not include the final speaking appointment.) See “Grading” below to see what percentage of your final grade the speaking appointments are on.
We strongly encourage you not to use notes during your speaking appointments. That will help you be better prepared for the final speaking appointment where no notes are allowed.
We have provided answer keys for most of the assignments you will have so that you can get immediate feedback on your work. Please use them as they are intended. Give your best effort to the assignments and then check them afterward, making corrections as needed. Copying your work directly from the key just so that you can turn an assignment in on time will detract from, rather than add to, your learning experience. You will simply be cheating yourself. In time you will need to show that you can produce correct language patterns without reliance on aids, so don’t shortchange yourself. We expect you to correct yourself on those assignments for which a key is provided. Please use a contrasting color, so your corrections are easy to see. We strongly encourage you to keep all of your assignments and quizzes to use for later review—and to discipline yourself to pay close attention to feedback, whether written or oral.
Your grade will be based on several aspects. Assignments that are uploaded within each unit, along with participation in online activities linked with your textbook, make up 25 percent of your grade. Homework/assignments will not be graded other than that you will receive a 1 on the grade spreadsheet for assignments turned in and 0 for assignments not turned in. We encourage you to do your best on all assignments but don’t want you to be concerned about assignment grades. Use each assignment as a learning tool, but don’t worry about making mistakes. Online activities are graded only for participation/completion, not what grade/score you may have received on the activities.
The eight quizzes together count toward 10% of your grade. These are self checks, which you may take as often as you wish until you request your final exam. If you don't like the score you receive on a quiz, take it again and again until you are happy with it. The goal of these quizzes is to help you attain mastery of vocabulary and concepts that you’ll need to know for the cumulative reviews and the final.
Eight speaking assignments, which are scheduled with a TA and conducted live online, will help you gain spoken mastery of Arabic. To prepare for your speaking appointments, visit the Conversation Café frequently. Practice with a partner, ask the TA moderating questions, and so forth. Note: You should complete all speaking appointments in the correct order. A speaking appointment is a required part of every unit and must be completed before you can take the unit quiz and speaking appointment in the next unit. You cannot complete more than one speaking appointment per day. They make up 30 percent of your grade. The lowest score of your speaking assignments can be dropped (except the final assignment), so don’t worry if you have a bad one. Go back to the café and practice more so you will be prepared for your next appointment.
The practice final exam (not proctored) is worth 3 percent of your grade, and the final exam (proctored) is worth the remaining 22 percent. The final exam is broken down into two parts: the final oral exam and the written final. The final speaking appointment takes place prior to the written exam. Notes will not be allowed during your final speaking appointment. If you use notes during the final speaking appointment, you will receive a 0 grade and fail the course. Together, these two components make up the grade for the final exam, which is worth 22 percent of your final grade. You must pass seperately both the oral and the written portion of the final exam with at least a 60 percent in order to pass the course.
Due to the nature of this course's learning outcomes, the exams are only available in a paper format. Please plan for shipping time.
The chief cause of lower-than-expected final grades for this course (which means one hasn’t acquired the Arabic skills this course is designed to impart, the skills you want) is lack of diligence (missed homework and quizzes, not to mention the failure to review vocabulary regularly). The underlying cause, more often than not, turns out to be the tendency to bite off more than one can handle (work, school, social life). It takes time to learn Arabic. Count the cost of building the tower before you start and plan accordingly.
|Assignment||Percent of Grade|
|Speaking Appointments||30%||Cumulative Reviews||10%|
|Practice Final Exam||3%|
|E (fail)||below 59%|
In this class we will continue to study the vocabulary, morphology and syntax of Arabic, in other words, the words, the forms, and the structures of the language. However, besides “getting” these things, you also need a LOT of practice listening to, speaking, reading and writing the language so that the things that you learn become deep-wired. “Getting” something, understanding it, is only a small part of the battle. You need to over-learn it to the point that it is utterly familiar, instantly recognizable, and impossible to be forgotten or misunderstood. This takes work and effort and concentration, but more than anything else it simply takes time. There is no one thing you can do to make it happen. You just have to keep plugging away, doing lots of things that expose you to the language and practice it, and then one blessed day you find that you don’t just understand a particular word or form or structure, it’s yours, you own it. That is what you are going for. It is not a direct process, and you can’t will it to happen in a short time, but if you keep working at it, it will happen.
Decades of research on language learning in a variety of settings confirm that the most important factor by far for successful language learning is time on task. Of course, not all time supposedly spent learning a language is equally productive. Therefore, the ONLY way to learn Arabic is to expose yourself to it in an intensive manner on a daily basis over a long period of time. The purpose of much of the content of this class—the speaking sessions, the drills, the readings, the listening exercises, and so forth—is to help you get this exposure. It is a given that you will not be able to see any instant benefit from any one of these activities. The learning will be indirect in many ways. There is nothing we can do to keep you from turning any of these assignments or activities into busywork or avoiding them altogether. Students often complain, for example, that the drills in the book are busywork. However, other students use them fruitfully as another way to encounter Arabic and take it seriously. If you decide that much of the content of this course is busywork (which it has to be from a certain point of view) and therefore avoid much of it, how are you going to have that intense encounter with Arabic, getting the practice and feedback you need to make the leaps of progress you need to make? Moral: You have to put in the time. The more focused it is (the more “on task”), the better. We cannot state strongly enough the wisdom of a good start and faithful preparation. If you are a little shaky on the vocabulary, hit it hard now!
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