SONJA BURROWS, PhD | Portfolio

School in Morocco | A Middlebury CV Starr School Abroad

Project Description: This is an online orientation space for students preparing for a study abroad experience in Rabat, Morocco. While the study abroad program is designed for students with a high level of Arabic training, typically students who travel to Rabat do not have experience with Darija, the local variety of Arabic spoken in this part of the country. Thus, this space aims not only to orient students to life in Rabat, but also to train them to learn some beginning phrases in Darija so that they can communicate effectively with host families and locals in the city. Areas of study of Darija include pronunciation, getting acquainted, learning numbers, money and prices, host family expressions, asking for directions, restaurant phrases, and more.

Design: This space is built with a full-installation of WordPress and designed in partnership with staff and leadership at Middlebury’s School in Morocco. Design highlights include clear navigation, vibrant visuals of Rabat and environs, an interactive map, and a set of audio-supported language lessons to train students of Arabic to learn Darija. The Darija lessons, created in conjunction with Arabic experts, language educators and study abroad administrators, feature authentic, audio-supported dialogues in Modern Standard Arabic and Darija, audio-supported flashcard practice activities, and language games to reinforce learning. In addition to learning to use some phrases in Darija, students are introduced through these lessons to cultural norms and expectations to help them prepare for life with a host family in Rabat.

Additional Features: This orientation space also includes an inventory of cultural events, sites and destinations in Rabat so as to help students prepare for their time in the city. As well, the space includes a robust visual gallery with videos, photos, and social networking opportunities for students. There is also an abundance of information on Moroccan cuisine, logistics information such as how to travel to Rabat from airports, and student testimonial videos about their experiences studying abroad in Rabat. Also on this site, users can read information about Middlebury’s School in Rabat, the staff, former students, and host families.

Sonja Burrows served as lead Instructional Designer on this project as part of her work with Middlebury’s Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry. Please send a message to request further information.


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