n 2014, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology will launch its first ever “massive online open course,” or MOOC, in the Arabic language. The course on nano-technology will be led by Hossam Haick, a faculty member in the Technion’s chemical engineering department who is an Arab. Haick has in recent years made world headlines with a revolutionary breath test for cancer and other diseases, and with the introduction of a prototype with nanosensors to bring sensation to artificial skin and limbs.So far, students from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Abu Dhabi, the Gulf Emirates and even Canada have registered to take the course, said Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie.Lavie said Nazereth-born Haick is one of the university’s bright stars and an accomplished scientist. He’s responsible for developing the Na-nose, a device that analyzes particles exhaled from the nose to diagnoses for diseases, such as cancer.

Over the last few decades, the university has invested heavily into improving the outcome of its Arab students, said Lavie. Funded in large part by Canadian oleh Benny Landa, founder of Indigo Digital Press, the effort has paid off. Ten years ago, only nine per cent of the school’s students were Arabs; today that figure stands at 20 per cent. Ten years ago, the dropout rate for Arab students was 47 per cent; today, it’s nine per cent, the same as the rest of the student population, he said.