PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ten years ago, Jeremy Fowler, a student at Montana State University, wanted to learn Arabic and found out that the US Arabic Distance Learning Network could provide in-person teaching and videoconferencing. The network began at Montana State in 1998, before any terrorist attacks heightened awareness of a future demand for Arabic, which is now gaining momentum.

Instructors from the participating schools meet annually, checking curriculum and sharing techniques. The cost for each school is approximately $15,000, compared with that of a tenure-track position at an individual school for perhaps $100,000 with benefits.

Nahil Abdelfattah, an Egyptian-born associate professor, is “the heart” of the network, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, who adds a strong cultural component to teaching, making the case that a foreign language is more than grammar.

As for Jeremy Fowler, he’s now a physician, using his Arabic working in a clinic in Jordan.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

Watch & Listen LIVE