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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Online Persian

Once again, we will be offering online instruction in advanced Persian language topics in 2014-2015.  This year's course will focus on the language of media.

woman reading newspaper

PRS 329: Media Persian 


Anousha Shahsavari, Lecturer, Persian Program, UT Austin

A native of Iran, Ms. Shahsavari holds a Master’s degree in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Maryland and a Master’s degree in Teaching Persian to Speakers of Other Languages from Shiraz University. She has taught Persian all over the world: Iran, Maryland, Texas, and Qatar. Her energy, enthusiasm, and excitement make her an extremely effective teacher. Her passion for Persian is contagious in the classroom. 

Course description

This course introduces students to the language of media in Iran and the rest of the Persianate world. By drawing on a wide range sources, from social media and news programs to documentaries and political speeches, Media Persian targets students who have reached at least the intermediate-high level, and it is designed to help them achieve advanced-level proficiency and beyond. Students will learn to read media sources critically, and they will improve their linguistic and cultural competence by completing a series of carefully designed communicative activities, including debates, media analyses, and interviews.  

The course will focus on all four language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), and students can expect to spend the majority of class time actively engaged with the material through small group work. The course will appeal, especially, to those individuals who wish to use Persian for professional reasons.

By the end of the course, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Recognize and use a corpus of Persian vocabulary typical of media coverage.
  • Understand media reports on familiar topics with little difficulty.
  • Identify diverse media sources.
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion.
  • Detect bias in media coverage.


This course runs from August 29, 2014 through May 8, 2015, which corresponds with the University of Texas academic calendar for 2014-15.  Classes will not meet December 12-January 16 (resuming January 23), nor on March 20, 2015.

Classes will be held on Fridays at the following times: 

Eastern (US), 1 PM - 2:30 PM
Central (US), 12 - 1:30 PM
Mountain (US), 11 - 12:30 PM
Pacific (US), 10 - 11:30 AM
UTC (Greenwich Mean Time) 6 PM - 7:30 PM

The course requires approximately five and a half hours of work each week and offers opportunities for additional optional independent work. This includes one and a half hours of live online class-time and four hours of outside work per week.

woman and newspaperWho should apply?

We welcome applications from students and working professionals, UT affiliates and non-UT affiliates. Students' skills should range from intermediate-high through superior levels on the ACTFL scale (equivalent of ILR1+ through ILR3), at the beginning of the program. Informal OPI tests will be conducted at the beginning and end of the program. Heritage learners whose language skill levels are appropriate for this program are encouraged to apply.

The program is not open to native speakers who were educated in Persian, or who are fluent or near-fluent native speakers.

I'm not in the United States. Can I still apply?

Yes! In the past we have had students from the UK and Australia enroll.

What sort of credit do I get for this course?

Students will receive three hours of credit through UT Extension.

What are the technology requirements?

Personal Computer (Windows or Macintosh) with:

  • Sound card
  • Good quality headphones with microphone capability (note: earbuds with microphones generally do not provide high enough quality. We have a list of inexpensive headsets to recommend).
  • Webcam (the better the quality, the clearer your video stream will be)
  • Internet connection (Broadband/Ethernet; Wi Fi is usually too slow)
  • 1.4GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or faster processor (or equivalent) for Microsoft® Windows® XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows 8 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows XP
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended) for Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 11.2+

Mac OS

  • 1.83GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • Mac OS X 10.7.4, 10.8, 10.9
  • Mozilla Firefox; Apple Safari; Google Chrome
  • Adobe Flash Player 11.2+

Some Linux operating systems are supported - please contact us for more information.

What will it cost?

The tuition for this course is $1,200. 

A limited number of tuition reduction offers are also available, which will reduce the tuition cost to $600.  Priority for these tuition reduction offers will be given to full-time graduate and undergraduate students, who do not otherwise have access to funding support for this course.

How do I apply?

Applications are due by August 1, 2014.

Where do I apply?

The online application (including tuition reduction waiver) can be found here.

Before You Begin Your Application

You cannot save an application once it has been started. Please do the following before you begin:

  1. All applicants should have a University of Texas Electronic ID (EID). If you don't have an EID or have forgotten it, go here first. Remember your EID and password, as you will need it for all class activities!
  2. Have the following materials ready to upload: statement of purpose (up to 500 words), and transcrlpt(s).

All documents must be uploaded as PDFs. Please do not include a dash (" - ") in the file name; this will prevent the PDF from uploading properly.

Please name your PDFs as follows:

Smith, Jane TRANSCRlPT #1

Smith, Jane TRANSCRlPT #2 (If applicable, applicants may submit more than one transcrlpt)


UT students may submit an academic summary from the Office of the Registrar to document UT coursework, but should also submit transcripts from any other colleges or universities attended.

Notable dates

8/1, Applications are due
8/4 - 8/8, Oral examinations
8/15, Notifications of acceptance
8/22, Payment due
8/29, Class begins

Refund schedule

Official withdrawal prior to the first class day = 100% refunded
Official withdrawal prior to September 6th = 75% refunded
Official withdrawal prior to September 13th = 50% refunded
Official withdrawal after September 20th = No refund

For questions, please contact

Christopher Rose,

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