UC Wins Grant for Distance-Learning Course in Arabic Language

UC Press Release

Oct. 21 – The University of California Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching was awarded a grant of $452,600 from the U.S. Department of Education last Tuesday to develop a web-based yearlong course in Arabic language and culture.

“Arabic Without Walls” will be taught from its base at UC Berkeley and will be open to undergraduate and graduate students from all UC campuses. It is scheduled to begin in Fall 2005 with an anticipated 60 students in its first year.

Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Berkeley are the only three campuses that currently offer language classes in Arabic.

The program is modeled after the “Spanish Without Walls” course, a distance-learning course now being offered through UC Davis Extension for its third consecutive year.

The program will be co-authored, developed and distributed over a period of three years by the UC Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching and the National Middle East Language Resource Center (NMELRC) at Brigham Young University.

Robert J. Blake, director of NMELRC, and Kirk Belnap of NMELRC are the project’s key organizers. They will oversee a team of experts in Arabic studies, who will produce the DVD-ROM master class and the Web-based materials that will be the prime resources for the course.

The H-Bus

UC Press Release

Oct. 21 – The Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (ITS-Davis) presented its newest developments in hydrogen fuel transportation in an open house on Tuesday.

ITS-Davis faculty and students unveiled their research subjects, including a new on-campus hydrogen refueling station, a Toyota SUV powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, an auxiliary fuel cell for diesel trucks and the nation’s first transit bus for everyday use powered by hydrogen-enriched natural gas.

“Today we are introducing our newest research and education tools that, together with our existing programs, build on the institute’s contribution to developing a sustainable transportation future,” ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling said.

Guests at the open house were the first to see the new hydrogen-enriched natural gas transit bus. ITS-Davis and Unitrans, the student-run transit service for the campus and city of Davis, will jointly evaluate the bus and a duplicate arriving in 2004.

“Our goal is to learn if this experimental fuel blend can achieve fuel economy and power similar to that of our standard natural gas buses, plus meet California’s strict 2007 transit bus emissions standards,” researcher Marshall Miller said.

The hydrogen fueling station provides hydrogen-enriched natural gas for the new buses and the new Toyota SUVs. The station, installed by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., is the first hydrogen station on the UC Davis campus and one of three in Northern California.

ITS-Davis, founded in 1991, consists of 40 faculty members and 70 graduate students working with a budget of $5 million per year. The institute’s goal is to study alternative fuels and transportation technology.

“Over the past decade, this institute has built a program that has brought international acclaim to UC Davis,” UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef said. “[They] benefit the campus and Northern California by introducing clean, advanced vehicle technologies right here in our community.”