Wednesday, May 24, 2017

EL119 Grades [Final update]

Click here to see your overall coursework grades.

Good luck on all your exams.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

EL119: Last Chance for Make-up Assignments

For those who missed a presentation and have a valid excuse with documentation, please come and see me on Wednesday 24th May, during your final one on one conversation exam.

Note: Students who missed more than 5 classes will automatically fail the course according to the university's regulations. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017

EL121 Grades [Final Update]

Click here to see your grades. 

Please note: If you missed more than 5 classes, you will not be allowed to attend the final exam and if your total is less than 15/50, you have unfortunately failed the course.

Wishing you all the best on the final exam.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

EL121 Presentation

Instructions: Click here

Stories: Click here 
(If you cannot open the files, download a program called "Winzip" first)

Post your full nameID Numbersection and your story preference in the comments of this post. Please check the table below first to make sure that the story you want is still available.

Remember first come first serve.

NOTE: Your presentations will last for 2 minutes and will be done in class on the 16th May. The above information (including the stories) applies to my students only. If you're registered with another teacher, please follow their instructions.

Students' Choices so far 
(last updated 16th May 1:00am)

Click to enlarge

Note: When you write something in the comments section, you will not see it automatically because I have to approve it first so don't be alarmed. 

EL121 - The Tell Tale Heart

I hope you all got the chance to read the story, it was very interesting and creepy at the same time. Click here for the notes.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

EL121: Units 3 + 4 Quiz

Two amazing stories! Click here to do the quiz!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

‏Mannequin Challenge With a Twist

Back when this fad was fashionable, these guys came up with a great Mannequin Challenge.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wonderful Commercial

Thank you for sharing Ghadeer

Monday, April 3, 2017

Buying Books Online

So a lot of the times, I recommend or talk about interesting books which cannot be found at any of the local bookstores here in Kuwait.

I personally use the websites below to get books that don't exist in Kuwait:

1. Mr Babu - The great thing about this website is that it has everything! It takes all the books (and everything else) you see on amazon and adds a fee to them for shipping and delivery. Even if it's one book you want, Mr Babu will deliver it straight to your door. It usually takes around two weeks for the books to arrive so this is one website I highly recommend.

2. Jamalon - Another great website for books is Jamalon. Originally located in Jordan, this website offers a wide selection (English and Arabic) and ships books all over the world. Their books are reasonably priced but take longer to arrive.

3. KinoKuniya - Based in Dubai, this is probably one of the biggest bookshops you will ever come across. They have branches all over the world and their Dubai website will deliver books to Kuwait.

4. MaGrudy's - Another one from the UAE, this website has a great selection (English & Arabic) and are reasonably priced as well. They have a lot of the new books and will help you find books that are difficult to find.

5. PageTurner - A humble little website from Kuwait, they have a small selection of books but nevertheless they have all the popular titles. They will probably expand with time and become a more prestigious bookstore.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Improve Your English!!

If you want to improve your English / Arabic please buy stories like these. These stories are written in both English and Arabic (side by side), so if you don't know what a word means or if you don't understand an idea in one language, you can always look at the other side of the page and understand what is meant using the second language. 

You can find these books in Jarir Bookstore in Hawally. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Publish Your Own Book!

Wouldn't it be amazing to publish your own thoughts one day? Maybe you have a great story to share with the world or simply a book of poems. Maybe you'd like to share a book about your life. Whatever it may be, Nova Plus can make that a hassle-free reality. Please see the below for rules and regulations. 

Click to enlarge

Monday, March 27, 2017

How to Answer Part B on the EL121 MTA

After receiving some messages from my students, I realized some of you are having problems understanding how to answer the questions in Part B.

If you want to do well, please keep the advice below in mind.

Okay so the first thing you have to do is understand the nature of the question itself. Part B is a Close Reading section which means you need to focus your attention on the passage given and not the whole story.

One of the biggest problems I find when students answer this question is that they don't do the above. They talk about the WHOLE story when clearly this question is asking them to focus their thoughts and ideas on the given passage. So please be careful on the exam and do not make the mistake others have made before you.

To do well on this type of question, we also have to go back to the skills we talked about in Book 2 in class. Do you remember Critical Reading and Thinking?

Critical Reading means you approach the text carefully like a detective looking for clues, you read between the lines and try to understand why the author wrote what he did. You're interested in only only what is written but also HOW it is written. Critical Thinking means you ask questions and approach the text with an open mind.

So when you read the passage on the exam, focus on that passage only and read it carefully with an open mind. Remember every passage (no matter how small) reveals something about the setting, characters, theme, plot and many other things as well.

Just be sure to read the question carefully and give us an appropriate answer.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017

How We Learn

In schools and universities, they teach us about subjects, but they don't teach us how we actually learn. If you are serious about becoming a better student, teacher, parent or knowledge seeker, I highly recommend the 4 fantastic books below. They will give you a better understanding of how humans understand and acquire knowledge and what really works and what doesn't. These books will turn you into a more effective knowledge seeker and I guarantee will change your life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

EL121 Quiz [Updated]

If you want to do well on the upcoming EL121 Quiz, please click here to download a very useful document. I've summarized the skills you need plus included a very helpful exercise. I will give you the answer to the exercise soon.

Answer: Click here

Bonus: Click here to know the difference between "Thinking" & "Critical Thinking"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

EL121 - A Letter From Gaza

I hope you all read the story and enjoyed it as much as I did. The story is beautiful and very meaningful. Click here to download the notes.

P.S. The original (Arabic version) of the story can be found here

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

But I Don't Have Time to Read!!

I cannot tell you how many times I've heard that excuse from my students whenever I tell them to read at home. Some other excuses include:

* I have a job
* I'm married
* I have kids

Your job, marital status and children should not come in the way of education and seeking knowledge. 

When people say they don't have time to read, what they really mean is they're not organizing their time properly. If you seriously feel that you have no time to read, you've got your priorities sorted out in the wrong way my friend. 

How is it that we have so much time for other things in life, but when it comes to reading, time suddenly disappears? How much time do we spend on our phones? On Whatsapp? Snapchat? Instagram and other such applications? How much time do we spend on the TV watching mind-numbing shows?

It's time for a change. 

Let me tell you something that has helped me personally. Keep in mind that I have a job, I work from home as well, I'm married, and have two little angels who constantly need attention. Nevertheless, I still find time to read everyday. Here's what I do:

Every day before I go to bed (and after putting the kids to sleep), I read for 15 - 20 minutes. My family now knows that this is my time. I do this EVERY single day without exception. Why is doing this every day important? Because if you include reading into your daily routine, with time it will become a HABIT. Habits usually last for a long time and are hard to break.

So pick a quiet time for yourself, it could be early morning when you wake up, sometime in the afternoon or before you go to bed. Give yourself 15 - 20 minutes and read any book of your choice. Do this daily and stick to it. The success of this method lies in your dedication to stick to it on a daily basis. 

Happy reading :) 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mr. Farran's Random Thoughts

Feel free to share your own if you wish to do so.

1. Three tips on finding the right partner (click here to listen)

2. Saying the right thing at the wrong time (click here to listen)

3. What is our purpose in life? (click here to listen)

4. Are you a Christian? (click here to listen)

5. The juice seller's dream (click here to listen)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Go Now!

Jarir Bookstore
Offer ends 2nd April
What are you waiting for??

Thursday, March 9, 2017

EL119: Online Practice

Some of you still haven't entered my code on the "Online Practice". You need to use the Teacher Codes below to join my class or else I won't be able to grade you. 

EL119 Sec. 201: C-943-848-0992

EL119 Sec. 202: C-420-474-0095

EL119 Sec. 205: C-590-739-0575

EL119 Sec. 206: C-475-081-0514

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Problem & Solution

Some students accuse me of ignoring their messages on LMS, if that is happening to you as well, it is probably because you have accidentally blocked me on LMS. Please unblock me if you wish to receive my messages. 

For those taking EL119, if you chose the wrong book for the "Online Practice", you'll have to email the support team and ask them to fix it for you. Their email is on the card at the back of the book. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Did you know?

Did you know that the world's oldest university and library was created by a Muslim woman? 

Fatima Al-Fihri Al-Quraysh founded a mosque-religious school / college in the 8th century and it's still operational until this very day under "The University of al-Qarawiyyin" in Morocco. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Have Fun Speaking!

So as you all know by now, I'm always trying to find interesting ways to help you improve your speaking. One fun way to do so, is by playing board games with friends and family members. There is a board game called Taboo which I highly recommend. 

It's a game where one person is supposed to describe a given word in one minute to others but without using 5 taboo words. For example, I have to let my team guess the word "fire" by describing it to them but I'm not allowed to use the words "flame, hot, red, heat and match." 

It's a lot of fun, it makes you more creative as you are forced to find other ways of describing the words and it improves your English with time. There is also a Taboo Juniors Edition for those who are not very fluent in English. 

You can find these board games in almost all toy shops in Kuwait and I've included other board games on the EL119 LMS front page as well. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Knowledge VS Thinking [Islamic Perspective]

The speaker in the file below is Nouman Ali Khan (a Muslim public speaker) and in it, he shows us the difference between Knowledge and Thinking according to the Holy Quran. The file is only a minute long but it really is interesting to listen to.

Click here to listen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Power of Setting

So in our last EL121 class, we talked about how setting can actually change our mood when watching a movie or reading a story. Moreover, with the right amount of editing and sound effects, a funny movie can be transformed into a horror one as shown in the examples below. 

Actual Movie Trailer

Edited Movie Trailer

This post was inspired by Shahed Al Ali, thank you for sharing that wonderful video with me on Facebook. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cleopatra [AA100A]

Cleopatra is indeed an intriguing character, probably the most recognizable female in history. She is an icon and her life has both been celebrated and studied extensively. 

Click here to read some interesting facts about her. 

Click here to see the timeline of events in her life which will give you a better understanding of that period in history. 

I found an interesting book (below) about her life as well as I was walking around in That Al Salasil the other day.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017

EL121 - A Sound of Thunder

I hope you all read and enjoyed the story as much as I did, click here to download the notes.

The story talks about the "Butterfly Effect". Click here to see a short video to get a better idea. There's also a great movie called the "The Butterfly Effect". Watch it if you can.

There is also a movie based on this story, check out the trailer here.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

EL119 Reminder for Saturday Students

If you're taking EL119 with me on Saturday, please join one of my classes on Monday so that you don't miss out. Check my timetable on the right to know where and when. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

EL121 Day 1 Recap

So a lot of great ideas were brought up in our last class and I thought I'd share some relevant and interesting things with you regarding our very first unit.

Remember when we talked about imagination and creativity? The below picture speaks the truth.


We also talked about how the book was mistaken by associating "protagonist" with "good" because the word 'protagonist' only refers to the main character and nothing else (whether s/he is good is another matter). It is true that in most stories, the protagonist is a good person, but the protagonist doesn't HAVE to be good as we saw in 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. Actually the protagonist can be a horrible and sadistic person as you will see in the examples below:

"Split" is a wonderful new movie (playing in cinemas at the moment) where the protagonist is a mentally disturbed man who has multiple personalities. Check out the trailer here.

Click here to also see an interesting list of Top 10 movies with villain protagonists.

Interesting questions to think about!

1. Do children have a wide imagination? Is it necessary for their development? If so, how?

2. Why does our imagination seem to shrink as we get older?

3. Can adults do anything to broaden their imagination?

4. What is the difference between how kids used to play in the past compared to today?

5. Is it ethical to kill those who kill others? Why do you believe so?

6. Is it acceptable for poor people to steal food? Why?

Monday, February 20, 2017

EL121: Unit 1 Quiz

Click here to do the quiz! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Use 'Ecosia' instead of 'Google'

'Ecosia' is a search engine equally as amazing as Google but the only difference is that by using 'Ecosia', you're actually helping the company plant trees. You can even check to see how many trees you've planted. Click here to know more.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Welcome AOU students!

On this blog, you will find a lot of useful information to help you with your courses. Please feel free to ask me any questions that might come up and please do give me your suggestions and ideas on ways to improve this blog. I want to hear from you all!

I hope you all have a wonderful semester!