Arab Council for the Social Sciences
New Gen Fellowship
Deadline: April 13, 2020
Context & Objectives
Objective of this document
This Request for Proposal (RFP) aims at soliciting proposals from individual(s) and/or organizations that are interested in a partnership with the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) to provide set-up, design and support in the delivery of online courses and to build the ACSS’s capabilities in this area.
Based on this RFP, interested organizations are invited to submit, by April 13, 2020:
- A short capability statement
- A technical proposal; and
- A financial proposal
Background on the ACSS and the New Gen fellowship
The Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS), is a regional, independent, non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening social science research and knowledge production in the Arab region. By supporting researchers and academic/research institutions, the ACSS aims to contribute to the creation, dissemination, validation, and utilization of social science research and to enrich public debate about the challenges facing Arab societies. The ACSS also aims to enhance the role of social science in Arab public life and inform public policy in the region. The ACSS runs multiple programs including research grants, working groups, and fellowship programs
More information about the ACSS can be found here.
One of the long-term objectives of the ACSS is “to foster a new and larger generation of social scientists integrated into regional networks”. In early 2019, the ACSS launched a new mentorship and training program under the name ‘A New Generation of Social Scientists in the Arab Region Program’, which is referred to as the ‘NewGen fellowship’.
The objectives of the fellowship program are to:
- Help develop a new generation of social scientists who are committed to critical scholarship and research, teaching and mentorship, and public engagement;
- Support excellent students in the social sciences at the BA, MA and PhD levels by offering innovative coursework and opportunities for trainings, mentorship, internships and networking;
- Create an institutional network that will support students nationally and regionally and will facilitate knowledge transfer and sharing across the region.
The program will do so by bringing together a cohort of students at the Undergraduate, Masters and PhD levels who are passionate about social sciences and who will be immersed into a comprehensive and integrated set of activities comprising research, training, mentorship, networking, and exposure. Together, these activities seek to incubate a new generation of social scientists capable of, and committed to, conducting research for social change, developing and teaching critical approaches to social issues and building new institutions and infrastructures for knowledge production.
The NewGen fellowship pilot was launched in partnership with a network of universities in 4 countries – Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt,and Tunisia with plans to expand the program into new universities and countries in the next months. The first cohort of students is currently being selected and the ACSS expects to onboard 120- 150 students from across the 4 countries to the program by end of April 2020.
More information about the program can be found here.
Project Objectives and Requirements
As part of the NewGen fellowship, the ACSS intends to design and deliver a series of online courses to the program fellows. At the same time, the ACSS would like to leverage this opportunity to build its capabilities towards offering more online content to its network of scholars, researchers, and the general public in the future.
In this context, it is seeking to identify a technical partner(s) to support it in realizing these objectives. In particular, the ACSS is looking to partner with an online learning technical consultant (individual(s) or a company) to deliver the following components.
Component 1: LMS Selection & Set-up
The ACSS envisions licensing and using its own Arabic-enabled mobile-friendly open source LMS (e.g. MoodleCloud, Blackboard or other) however is open to exploring the relevance and value-add of other options prior to making a decision.
Component 2: Design, develop and onboard a set of courses
In the next 5 months, the ACSS plans to design, develop, and onboard its first set of courses, specifically:
a. Urban Studies: A 5-week online course which has already been developed and delivered in an online environment before but where its content needs to be uploaded again on an LMS and tested
b. Gender Studies: A new online course (5-week course; ~5 hours/week)
c. Research Methodologies: 6 - 8 new short modules (~2 weeks each; ~5 hours/week)
- It is expected that each course will be delivered to 50-70 students in its first instance (to be distributed into sections).
- For the Urban Studies course, it is unlikely that additional content development or instructional design support is needed.
- For the Gender Studies course and Research Methodologies modules,the ACSS will require instructional designer(s), multi-media specialist(s) and LMS specialist(s) to work with its Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and team. ACSS will identify and contract SMEs separately and it is to be expected that the SMEs do not have any previous knowledge in designing courses for an online learning environment. They will be located in the Arab region, most likely in Lebanon and Egypt.
- All courses will be primarily in the Arabic language with some additional readings or links to external videos being in English and/or French. English and/or French sub-titling of the main course content could be considered for some courses.
- The ACSS envisions the courses to be structured (with deadlines/assignments) and interactive (group work, scenarios for students to respond do, quizzes discussions with SMEs and/or TAs) and not self-paced
Component 3: Support during first course delivery
Providing hands-on support to the ACSS team during the delivery of the first online course including:
- Onboarding and training the SMEs that will deliver the course
- Onboarding and training Teaching Assistants (TAs)
- Onboarding students
Component 4: Training and capability building
Training the program team and other ACSS staff to be relatively self-sufficient in using the LMS for new course creation, delivery, and troubleshooting in the future.
Interested organizations are requested to submit a technical proposal that outlines:
- Its understanding of the project’s objectives and scope
- Its proposed approach and methodology to deliver on each of the 4 components outlined above including, but not limited to:
a. Its recommended approach for the selection of the LMS in the context of this project
b. Approach to instructional design, multi-media and other support provided to SMEs
c. its training/capability building approach to ensure that ACSS staff will be relatively self-sufficient after the project
3. The proposed team and capabilities to deliver on this project (including number and type of specialists and their profiles)
4. The proposed project timeline showing key milestones and taking into account the following set milestones:
- The ACSS envisions launching this project on April 27, 2020
- By September 2020 – Urban Studies and Gender Studies courses mentioned above should be ready to be delivered to fellows
- By September 2020 – 2 of the modules of Research Methodologies course mentioned above should be ready to be delivered to fellows
- All project deliverables to be completed by January 2022
Interested organizations are requested to submit a detailed financial proposal that shows clearly the following breakdown:
- Component 1: Deepening on the approach recommended for the LMS approach, clarify related pricing (e.g. whether only set-up costs are included, licensing or hosting fees etc.)
- Component 2: Break-down of courses design and development by effort (hours/days) required across different specialists (e.g. across instructional designers, technical support and others) and per course
- Components 3 and 4: Break-down by effort (hours/days) required across different specialists
- Clarify overall overhead/project management cost
Statement of Capabilities
In addition to the technical and financial proposal, organizations should include a summary (no more than 3 pages) of their capabilities as they relate to this project.
RFP sent to organizations
March 23, 2020
April 13, 2020
Final selection of Partner
April 20, 2020
April 27, 2020