Part I Writing (30 minutes)
Directions: For this part, you are allowed 30 minutes to write a short essay on the topic “Vocational Choices”. You should write at least 120 words following the outline given below in Chinese:
Part II Reading Comprehension (Skimming and Scanning) (15 minutes)
Directions: In this part, you will have 15 minutes to go over the passage quickly. For questions 1-7, choose the best answer from the four choices marked A), B), C) and D). For questions 8-10, complete the sentences with the information given in the passage.
Today, you can earn a degree from a major university without ever having sat in one of their classrooms. Many colleges and universities are jumping on the distance learning bandwagon and offering online courses and degree programs.
In this article we’ll look at how online degrees work, what you should look for if you are pursuing a degree via the online option, and what employers think of online degrees.
Online Learning Programs
With a computer, an Internet connection and a little self-discipline, you can earn a degree from home, work, or anywhere else for that matter. Online degree programs follow much the same routines as traditional learning, with a few twists. There are lectures, but they won’t be in person. There are assignments, but you won’t hand them to your instructor. There are exams, but you won’t be able to look at your neighbor’s paper. There may be a set time that “class” begins, but you don’t have to be there then. In most situations, you are free to “go to class” when it fits your schedule. If you get a phone call during class, you don’t have to miss anything. If you get sick, you don’t have to ask for someone’s notes, and you just visit the lecture later.
You’ll communicate with your instructor by e-mail, chat rooms, bulletin boards, and instant messaging. Your classroom will live in a special software program that uses text chat and bulletin boards, as well as streaming audio or recorded lectures. You may be put into a virtual workgroup with other students and be required to solve a problem. You may have to work through interactive puzzles and quizzes. Contrary to popular belief, you will have contact with other students and the instructor..
Depending on the program and institution, distance learning may consist of synchronous (live) sessions or asynchronous (non-live) sessions. Transcripts and notes from lectures are archived, so you can always go back if you missed something. If there are live sessions with discussions among students, you can go back to those as well. Assignments may even be returned with audio clips so your instructors can convey their tone of voice along with their comments.
Printed documents may be sent to you through the mail, or you may have the options of printing them yourself or reading them online.
Some schools require an initial “boot camp” held at the campus (if there is one), where you will meet the other students, instructors and support personnel. You’ll learn how to use the technology, learn about the library and reference systems, and begin your coursework.
Evaluating the Program
So once you know the school is accredited, is the decision easy? Not necessarily. There are still a lot of questions to ask before you make your selection, such as:
★How is the course presented?
Investigate the method by which the instructor gives lectures. Does the instructor simply put the lecture online as text? Are there accompanying slides? Is there any interaction? Is there video or audio? Are exams given? How are assignments turned in? The format of the course is sometimes as important as the content. Great content is more easily absorbed if it’s done in a dynamic and innovative manner that involves interaction between the student and instructor as well as interaction with the content itself. Online learning technology provides many opportunities for innovation. Find a school that takes advantage of it.
★How do students interact with each other?
Is there an established method for interaction and congregating? Online programs can use chat rooms, instant messaging, teleconferencing, and video conferencing to communicate. The key is to find a program that has this interaction built into it and even requires it. How the online community functions should be very important to both the instructor and the educational institution..
★Are the instructors qualified?
Check out the credentials and degrees the instructors hold, as well as their knowledge of online learning and its differences from classroom learning. What kind of support do the instructors get for their online courses? If technical problems arise, is there someone to turn to? A school that is dedicated to its online programs will have the development staff and the support staff to make it successful. Instructors (and students) have to be able to adapt to changing technology.
★What kind of reputation does the school have?
It may seem simple — a good school will have a good online program. That may be true, but it is also probable that its online program is still too new to judge, so you’re left with nothing but the reputation of the school’s traditional programs. This reputation, however, may not be as straightforward as you think. You can look at the overall quality of the school and make a judgment, but there may be weaknesses in the program in which you are interested. It’s not uncommon for a great school to have a weak program or two.
★How are students evaluated?
Earning a degree should mean just that — earning it. If students aren’t assessed properly and degrees are handed out with little or no verification that any knowledge has been transferred from the instructor to the student, then how can the program be rated? Students, particularly adult students, learn more by doing than by simply listening. For this reason, it is important to ensure that part of the program involves applying what has been learned.
The Employer’s View
The big question in everyone’s mind is, “Is an online degree from an accredited college or university seen by potential employers as a lesser degree?” Vault.com, a career network Website, did a survey of 239 HR professionals. According to the results, 77 percent of respondents believe that an online degree earned at an accredited institution like Duke or Stanford is more credible than one earned at an Internet-only institution.
Other sources, such as Thomas L. Russell of North Carolina State University, did studies that revealed that there is little if any difference in the quality of education received through online distance learning versus traditional classrooms. John Losak at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale found similar results in his own study. He analyzed graduation rates, time to graduation, and knowledge, as well as other elements. He found the students performed as well or better in online courses..
As more and more people get online degrees and use them in the workforce, HR managers and hiring managers will begin to feel more secure about the quality of education these people have. If the studies that were done by Thomas L. Russell and John Losak — showing the quality of online education to be as good as or better than that of traditional education — hold up on a larger scale, then the future of getting jobs and advancements based on online degrees will be bright.
Until then, choose schools carefully, and check for accreditation and strong programs. When you’ve completed the degree, go to job interviews armed with information to counter any questions about the quality or validity of your degree. Make sure the interviewer knows how you achieved the degree, how you worked it into a busy schedule, how you overcame any obstacles. It will show a self-motivation and discipline that may be just the qualities the company is looking for.
1. Which of the following is the unique characteristic of online education that traditional education doesn’t have?
A) There are lectures, but they won’t be in person.
B) There are assignments, and you must hand them to your instructor.
C) If you get sick, you have to ask for someone’s notes.
D) If you get a phone call during class, you will miss something.
2. What can you do in some schools’ initial “boot camp”?
A) To meet the other students and instructors. B) To read books in the library.
C) To attend class in person. D) To hand your paper to your instructor.
3. What is the best type of online lecture?
A) One with no accompanying slides. B) One that is simply put online as text.
C) One without video or audio. D) One with interaction during the lecture.
4. Great content is more easily absorbed if it’s done in a ________ manner.
A) static and innovative B) traditional and obsolete
C) dynamic and innovative D) simple and active.
5. What is the most important part of online communication?
A) To use chat rooms and instant messaging to communicate.
B) To find a program that has interaction built into it.
C) To find an established method for interaction.
D) To use video conferencing to communicate.
6. What will be employers’ view about online degrees as more are used in the workforce?
A) They will feel doubtful about the quality of online education.
B) They will feel more secure about the quality of online education.
C) They will not be quite sure about the quality of online education.
D) They will fully trust the quality of online education.
7. What may be the qualities that some companies are looking for according to the passage?
A) Quality of your degree. B) Validity of your degree.
C) Self-motivation and discipline. D) Ability to overcome obstacles.
8. A school that is dedicated to its online programs will have the _______ and the support staff to make it successful.
9. The reputation of the school, however, may not be as __________ as you think.
10. Students, particularly __________, learn more by doing than by simply listening.
Part III Reading Comprehension (Reading in Depth) (25 minutes)
■ Section A
Directions: In this section, there is a passage with ten blanks. You are required to select one word for each blank from a list of choices given in a word bank following the passage. Read the passage through carefully before making your choices. Each choice in the bank is identified by a letter. You may not use any of the words in the bank more than once..
Questions 11 to 20 are based on the following passage.
The anthropologist (人类学家) Clifford Geertz defines culture as a “historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols ... by 11 of which men can communicate, perpetuate and develop their own knowledge about and attitudes towards life.”
Why is it important that you 12 about other cultures? There are a number of reasons. Some may do it 13 because they find fascinating the different ways that people think, speak, act, evaluate, and communicate. But let me assume that you are a more pragmatic sort of person, and are 14 in the “cash value” of a course like this — apart, that is, from the grade you will receive at the end of it. What is a class like this good for? Let me make a couple of suggestions on how what you learn in this class may prove 15 to you in the future:
Business: Geert Hofstede’s excellent book on culture is 16 not primarily out of academic theory, but out of his study of the practical problems faced by one particular modern corporation (IBM), which exists across national and cultural 17 . In the world we live in, understanding 18 in general and also specific individual cultures in particular can make the difference between success and failure in the global market and economy.
Politics and Diplomacy: If your career goal involves anything that relates to international politics and diplomacy, then understanding other cultures is 19 .
Neighbors: If none of these previous factors 20 you, then you can just look at this class as a lesson in good neighborliness in the global village.
A) learn I) boundaries
B) written J) ways
C) means K) motivates
D) simply L) important
E) exactly M) disturbs
F) interested N) read
G) culture O) useless
■ Section B
Directions: There are 2 passages in this section. Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished sentences. For each of them there are four choices marked A), B), C) and D). You should decide on the best choice.
Questions 21 to 25 are based on the following passage.
As concern about swine flu sweeps the globe, the best way to protect yourself from contracting it or other infectious diseases is with a dose of common sense: Wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs and sneezes and stay home from work or school if you feel ill.
These guidelines may seem basic, but they’re effective in warding off the spread of infections. Richard Besser, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said, “Control of an outbreak of infectious disease is a shared responsibility. It’s important that individuals realize they have a key role to play in reducing their own likelihood of getting infected.”
Specifically, people are wise to wash their hands often with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds at a time or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water isn’t accessible. The CDC also recommends avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of regular seasonal influenza. People with swine flu often get a fever, headache, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue. Some also have gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.
Swine flu is a virus that usually affects pigs but appears to have acquired the ability to pass from person to person, though it’s unclear how easily it can be transmitted this way.
If you become sick, stay home for the period of infection, which is typically seven days, although children may be contagious for longer. Once on the mend, don’t return to work or school until at least a day after symptoms have disappeared, Besser said.
“Wearing a face mask when out in public isn’t warranted in most cases,” he said. “I know some people feel more comfortable having a mask, and there are certain circumstances where that may be of value, but I would rather people really focus on hand-washing, as well as covering coughs and sneezes.”
Other social practices may need to be adjusted, such as the salutary kiss that’s customary in some regions.
“If you’re in an affected area or you have the swine flu, it’s probably best not to give a kiss,” Besser said. “But we’re not recommending the end of affection during the period.”.
21. To protect yourself from swine flu, it is a good idea to __________.
A) have baths frequently B) cover your coughs and sneezes
C) stay home from work or school if you feel tired D) eat an apple every day
22. The underlined phrase “warding off” in the second paragraph can be replaced by “_______”.
A) investigating B) increasing C) preventing D) decreasing
23. What does Richard Besser mean by saying “Control of ... getting infected.”?
A) It is the government’s responsibility to fight against infectious diseases.
B) It is the patients’ responsibility to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
C) It is everybody’s responsibility to control the outbreak of infectious diseases.
D) It is doctors’ and experts’ responsibility to fight against infectious diseases.
24. According to the passage, what do we know about swine flu?
A) Swine flu can be transmitted easily among pigs but not among people.
B) Symptoms of swine flu are different from those of regular seasonal influenza.
C) People with swine flu often get a stomachache, headache and toothache.
D) Swine flu is a virus that has acquired the ability to pass from person to person.
25. What does Richard Besser think of wearing a face mask?
A) It can protect people from getting infected.
B) It can make people feel comfortable and is affordable.
C) It isn’t as effective as hand-washing and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
D) It is more effective than hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes..
Questions 26 to 30 are based on the following passage.
Sixteen-year-old Karlos Dearman’s future is looking much brighter than he might previously have imagined. “I’ve always been into bikes, but never thought I’d end up working with them,” he says. “This scheme has changed my life.”
Karlos is learning to refurbish (翻新) old bicycles in the workshop of ReCycle Bikes, a local community charity in Sheffield, which has a contract with the city council to provide training opportunities for young people aged 14 to 16, particularly those struggling in mainstream education or excluded from school.
“It’s about engaging youngsters with education and youth training by teaching them work and life skills,” explains Des Pearce, workshop training manager. “These young people have so much potential, but often don’t realize it.”
Established in 2001, ReCycle Bikes repairs bicycles donated by the public, which, once restored, are sold for ￡20. Abandoned bikes supplied by the council ensure a steady flow of bikes, but a recently formed partnership with Sheffield University should improve further the prospects of the young mechanics.
“The student population presents a large and ready market,” says Pearce. “So we approached the university last year and offered to host bike sales on the campus. They thought it was a great idea, and agreed to supplement our council funding. This means we can train youngsters to repair extra 500 bikes over three years, and fund Karlos’s apprenticeship.”
Having set up ReCycle Bikes on his own, Pearce now has the staff and resources to track the career development of those who have passed through his workshop.
“At the moment we depend on anecdotal evidence from the schools,” he says. “But we are planning exit interviews with the young people to ascertain what they plan to do, and these will allow us to check on their progress.”
That most of the teenagers enjoy the work is, according to Pearce, easily explained. “Most kids have ridden a bike and know how to oil a chain or mend a puncture. As low-cost transport, cycling gives the young and old a sense of freedom and independence, and the impact on their well-being is immense. Add to that a growing concern for the environment, and it’s no surprise that bike sales are on the increase.”.
26. What do we know about ReCycle Bikes?
A) It is a popular brand of bikes which are sold in Sheffield.
B) It is a local community charity that provides training opportunities for young people.
C) It is a contract signed between a local community charity and the city council.
D) It is a training program offered by the city council to those excluded from school.
27. How did ReCycle Bikes run at the beginning?
A) By repairing bicycles donated by the public and selling them.
B) By donations from the public and Sheffield University.
C) By selling bicycles supplied by the city council.
D) By tuition fees from kids aged between 14 and 16.
28. ReCycle Bikes has formed a partnership with Sheffield University because ____________.
A) students at Sheffield University assure a large and ready market
B) Sheffield University offers many mechanical teachers to ReCycle Bikes
C) Sheffield University donates a lot of money to ReCycle Bikes
D) teenagers at ReCycle Bikes can study at Sheffield University in the future
29. Why does ReCycle Bikes depend on information from the schools?
A) The schools give accurate information.
B) Students dislike telling the truth in interviews.
C) ReCycle Bikes doesn’t have the ability to track students’ career development.
D) All the training organizations do it this way..