DAILY IELTS READING TEST, 4th June
Test – 23
Reading Passage 2:-
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26.
A. Distance learning is not a recent innovation in education, correspondence courses having been used for over 150 years, but new interactive technologies are providing new opportunities and strategies for teaching at a distance. Several studies have compared face-to-face classrooms to distance classrooms in order to evaluate differences in student performance and quality of instruction. A meta-analysis of these studies showed that distance-learning students performed equally well and some distance courses outperformed their classroom counterparts.
This result has been consistent over many studies across many disciplines; advance in communication technology and innovative methods of delivery of instruction at a distance have challenged the idea that laboratory courses can only be delivered in a face-to-face laboratory setting. In engineering, for example, virtual laboratories have been used to teach thermodynamics, electronic circuits, and other experimental courses as well. Programmes in nursing, engineering, technology and other sciences are beginning to use different technologies and innovative methods to deliver courses via distance-learning methodology in order to reach students in different locations and boost enrolment. A survey of online distance0learning programmes revealed a large increase in student enrolment. The availability of distance courses has made it possible for some people to attend college because courses are accessible within their locality or the time of course delivery is convenient for them.
The opportunity for learning has been without its critics who keep a close eye on the quality of instruction, and rightly so as with any form of instructional delivery. Quality issues are a major concern for those who intend to pursue degree programmes via distance learning, especially with the proliferation of distance learning programmes. Although it is difficult for academies to agree on specific standards that constitute quality in distance learning, nonetheless, attributes such as accreditation standards for programmes, evaluating students’ experience, teacher-student interaction, student-to-student interaction, learning resources for the learner, learner assessment and performance, instructional resources for faculty, faculty training, and learner satisfaction are valid criteria. These and many others factors can determine the quality of delivery of instruction in both distance and face-to-face classrooms.
B. Distance Learning Technologies and /innovation in Laboratory Course Delivery
In a selected UK university, five departments that offered laboratory courses in Technology and Engineering via distance used combinations of a variety of instructional technologies. The technologies most used were interactive Microwave TV, (two-way audio and video), compressed video, Internet, CDs, computer software (virtual software), and video tapes. At the selected university in the UK, interviews were conducted on-site with faculty and staff. A wide range of teaching materials, student portfolios, and a secure website were observed. In addition to the internet, CDs and video, the university used the following innovative ways to deliver laboratory courses.
Residential and Summer Schools
Residential and summer schools serve a similar purpose; the difference is the duration. The summer school is one week long and combines labs, lecturers, and problem sessions. In general, these schools provide four key features, providing the opportunity for students to:
– Undertake experimental work considered too hazardous for a student -working at home.
– Undertake lab work using more sophisticated equipment, or equipment too expensive to provide at home.
– M Undertake assessed lab-work.
– Work together with fellow students.
C. Demonstration Laboratory
The demonstration laboratory introduces students to the work they are going to undertake, illustrating how to proceed, how to make particular types of measurements, etc. it also covers topics considered too dangerous for students or situations in which the equipment is not available at the residential school. Many of these demonstrations are recorded on video to control both the process taught and the quality of the teaching across numerous groups of students at different levels.
D. Support Services Provided to Faculty and Students Engaged in Distance Learning
All the departments that offer distance learning courses offer support services to students and faculty. The support services include e-mail systems, graduate assistance, course websites, proctor, telephone conferencing, electronic library materials, and instructional designers to work with faculty to design and develop courses. At the selected university in the UK, interviews with instructional designers and faculty revealed the significant role played by instructional designers. Although they are not the content experts, on how information is presented on a website or the format in which the information is presented. The purpose is to maintain a standard format and quality in print materials, including electronic resources. The selected university in the UK also provides a support service to faculty that is unique from other institutions in this study: staff tutors who are regionally based to provide the link between the university faculty and students with the regions. The staff tutors have a key role in quality assurance, especially in facilitating effective teaching of the university faculty’s courses, and are responsible for the selection, monitoring and development of part-time Associate Lecturers. They contribute to faculty research and the development and presentation of courses. The staff tutors are highly qualified in their fields, and such as, bridge the distance gap between the university faculty and students at different locations.
E. The UK University, by using innovative strategies such as the Residential and Summer Schools, Field trips and Demonstration Laboratories in combination with new technologies, is able to teach all its laboratory courses via distance learning to its nearly 200,000 students within and outside the UK. Distance learning is not meant to replace a face-to-face classroom, but it is one major way to make education more accessible to society. As advances in communication and digital technology continue, residential or demonstration labs may someday be replaced with comparable experience provided through distance education.
Reading Passage 2 has five sections A-E.
Which section contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-E in spaces 14-18 below.
NB some sections may be used more than once.
14. One aspect of the course is that students can gain first-hand experience in a working environment and on educational excursions.…………………….
15. Where the instruction takes place is not a critical factor in students’ achievements. ……………………………………………..
16. This method of instruction is not designed to replace traditional teaching techniques. …………………………………………….
17. In the future, the use of technology may mean students will not have to attend practical instruction sessions. ………………………………………………………
18. Attending laboratory courses allows students to benefit from the use of expensive equipment not otherwise available to them. …………………………
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.
19. One purpose of the summer school is to
A. Encourage students to work individually.
B. Enable students to be assessed directly.
C. Allow students to undertake simple experiments.
D. Familiarize students with laboratory equipment.
20. Instructional designers advise faculty on the
A. Course content.
B. Support services for students.
C. Suitability of library material.
D. Visual display of coursework.
21. Staff tutors are responsible for the
A. Monitoring of students’ progress.
B. Suitability of course for students’ needs.
C. Appointment of certain teaching staff.
D. Training of all teaching staff.
22. With the increasing number of distance-learning courses,
A. It has been difficult to find suitable tutors.
B. Problems arise with the timing of course delivery.
C. The standard of teaching has been become an issue.
D. Student-to-teacher interaction is no longer relevant.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?
In spaces 23-26 below, write
YES if the statement agrees with the writer’s claims
NO if the statement contradicts the writer’s claims
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
23. Many students may find the lack of student-to-student interaction a disadvantage to this method of study. …………………….
24. The main difference between residential and summer courses is the length of the courses they offer. ………………………..
25. At the UK university, difficulties exist where the teaching of science subjects involves laboratory experiments. ………………………..
26. Instructional designers receive very high salaries. …………………
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23. NOT GIVEN
26. NOT GIVEN