PART V WRITING (45 MIN)
With the continued growth of online teaching systems and integration of massive open online courses (MOOCS) into higher education, college study will never be the same for both professors and students. The following are opinions from both sides. Read the excerpts carefully and write your response in about 300 words, in which you should:
1. summarize briefly the opinions from both sides;
2. give your comment.
Marks will be awarded for content relevance, content sufficiency, organization and language quality. Failure to follow the above instructions may result in a loss of marks.
The University of Washington (UW) in the US isn't shy about the benefits and drawbacks of online education. UW concedes online courses may be more effective for self-directed learners, and students who are not organized and in possession of good time-management skills may struggle. Thus, students should ask themselves whether they are capable of learning independently before signing up for online coursework.
UW also mentions online courses may not be able to accurately replicate the vibrant sense of intellectual community that has been at the heart of higher education for ages. This might lead some to miss out on learning and networking opportunities.
Jasmine Barta of Arizona State University: I take about half my classes online each semester, and I’ll tell you why : Online classes are the secret to a happier, fuller and less stressful college experience. Some students complain about the lack of social interaction and the ease with which they can forget to meet a deadline. But for me these concerns fall flat in the face of the convenience, flexibility and independence online learning offers.
Chang Hanyi of Boston University: In order to squeeze in some extra learning without taking the focus away from my major, I enrolled in a pass/fail online reading and writing workshop. The coursework is actually as demanding as my other regular language classes. But what I have learned so far is beyond my expectations. My professor assigns weekly assignments each Monday, and I am required to do readings, write study blogs and take quizzes regularly. I am also required to respond to comments from my professor and classmates. So, taking online courses doesn't mean zero physical interaction with your instructors. My professor even invited me to face-to-face meetings four times to address article structure in my writing assignments. My professor also uploads video clips to review class content and audio files to clarify some thorny points. Despite the hard work, I still enjoy cyber interaction with my professor and classmates.
Yang Yang of Peking University: With MOOCS, we are no longer confined to a classroom at a certain time slot. Whenever I feel in the mood to study, I take out my laptop or iPad to watch course videos. I am now taking Legal Writing and Research on Coursera, a popular MOOCS platform. Each week, four or six courses videos are released for us students to learn. Apart from the teaching sessions, there are also quizzes to assess whether I have grasped the knowledge well. Quiz scores make up 32 percent of my final score. The great thing about the quizzes is we even have them before each course. This encourages me to finish all the reading and preview the class early. Although MOOCs are improving my learning experiences, this new form of teaching cannot compete with traditional ways of learning in terms of teacher-student interaction. I used to ask questions immediately after class. But with MOOCs, we only have office hours for question and answer sessions. Most of the time, I won't bother to go.
Write your response on ANSWER SHEET FOUR.
My Views on Online Teaching System or Platforms？
Modern technology has innovated the way teaching and learning can be in people’s life. Online teaching system or platforms is a recent phenomenon and consequently it is controversial. In spite of the fact that both universities and students have embraced this new style of teaching and learning, there are still worries and concerns. Considering both sides, it is clear that online teaching system or platforms can help students achieve higher learning effectiveness despite its drawbacks.
College students now enjoy greater benefits. Firstly, thanks to modern technology, learning online gives students access to a wider range of courses. With Internet access, a wide variety of courses, some of which are published by elite professors of top universities, have become accessible to students from all over the world. The online platform provides a far wider range of courses than that you would find in any school or college. Secondly, the flexibility and mobility given by the online teaching system makes students learn at any time anywhere in their convenience. They have great freedom of choice when they learn online. Thus, it reduces the amount of time they spend on commutes.
On the other hand, online teaching and learning is much demanding and requires students’ full commitment and independence. Admittedly, for those who are not self-disciplined and motivated, it is likely that they will end up with struggling with unsatisfactory results. Meanwhile, although online interaction with professors and partners is very convenient, it still cannot replace classroom’s simultaneous face-to-face communication. Thus, universities should work out methods to prevent the above mentioned problems that are likely to arise.
In conclusion, with the greatest technological boom in education, online learning or MOOCS, is an irreversible trend. So, the question really is not “Which one?” but rather, “How can we combine both?” The answer is that each performs its own functions. Undoubtedly, this revolutionary practice in education will continuously have more far-reaching consequences and will dramatically reshape the nature of higher education.