Deciphering Education


A. Discussion

Discuss these questions with your classmates:

• Which classroom is traditional?

• Where do you think the students are in the bottom photo?

• Would you like to be able to receive instruction at home on your TV or computer, or would you prefer to learn in a traditional classroom?

0 B. Vocabulary and Key Concepts

Read through the sentences, trying to imagine which words would fit in the blanks. Then listen to a dictation of the full sentences, and write the missing words in the blanks.

1. Can you imagine getting a college, or university, degree

without ever once_________________________

________________________ on a college campus?

2. "Distance education is_________________________ that occurs

when the instructor and student are__________________________

by time or distance, or both."

3. As early as 1840, it was possible to take a_____________________

course in shorthand.

4. Peterson’s 1994 Guide to Distance Learning listed ninety-three

________________________ distance education programs

available at_________________________ colleges and universities

across the United States and Canada.

5. First, rapidly changing economic conditions require many profes­sional people to their knowledge

or skills on an almost__________________________ basis.

6. At the same time that the demand for postsecondary education is growing, many U. S. colleges and universities are facing

7. Millions of people have_________________________ to audio,

video, and computer_________________________

8. The of instruction can

________________________ greatly.

9. CD-ROMs may come to the student__________________________

________________________ or the student may

________________________ materials from the Internet.

10. Many distance education programs have a____________________


11. The rate from distance education

courses and programs is higher than for courses and programs.

12. There are many________________________ and disreputable

universities advertising on the Internet with very Web sites.

13. It is very important for anyone wishing to take a course or to

pursue a degree to check out the_________________________ of

the school they are considering very carefully.

Follow-up: Check the spelling of the dictated words with your teacher.

Discuss the meaning of these words and any other unfamiliar words in

the sentences.

C. Predictions

Using the photographs and the vocabulary exercise as a starting point,

write three questions that you think will be answered in the lecture.

Example: • How many universities or colleges offer distance educa­

tion programs?

1. _______________________________________________________

2. ________________________________


Follow-up: After you have written your questions, share them with

your teacher and your classmates.

D. Notetaking Preparation

1. Deciphering Notes

Sometimes you may for one reason or another miss a lecture and have to ask a classmate to share his or her notes. If your classmate has taken good notes, you may be able to reconstruct much of the message of a lecture. Imagine that you missed a lecture in which your professor dis­cussed some points that people interested in distance education (DE) should consider. Because you were absent, you photocopied a class­mate’s notes. See if you can use these notes to answer your teacher’s questions. Work with a partner, if possible.

Six Things for People Int’d in DE to Consider

1. many DE programs have residency req

2. DE courses and progs have time limits

3. admissions reqs same as on-campus ed

4. DE can save money

—Don’t need to travel to class —But academic fees same as trad ed —Res reqs can be costly

5. online DE means stud needs access to comp with min reqs

—e. g., latest version of Windows, a microph, snd card & speakers,

adequate hard drive & RAM, modem, browser, & Internet.

—Connection speed very imp and many schools recom­mend cable modem or DSL

6. stud need to be disc and ind —DE not easier than trad ed

—dropout rate higher than trad ed Directions: Answer the following questions in complete sentences.

1. Do all distance education programs have a residency requirement?

2. Is it easier to be admitted to a distance program than to on-campus programs?

3. What are three examples of computer requirements that online study might require?

4. Are students more likely to complete distance education programs or traditional programs?

2. Rhetorical Cues

Read the following sentences, which contain rhetorical cues to help you follow the organization of the lecture. Decide in which order you will hear them. Number them from first (1) to sixth (6).

__ a. To start with, why is distance education growing at such an

incredible rate?

__ b. Number 1. Many distance education programs have a

residency requirement.

__ c. Today let’s look at the reasons why distance education is

growing so rapidly, how distance education works, that is, what the modes of delivery are, and what some of the things people considering distance education need to be aware of.

__ d. Before I close today, let me just say that many people are

still suspicious of distance education believing that it cannot possibly be equivalent to a traditional classroom education.

__ e. First, rapidly changing economic conditions require many

professional people to upgrade their knowledge or skills on an almost continuous basis.

__ f. Students interested in pursuing distance education need to

consider the following six points.

Culture note: In this lecture you will hear the following words all used interchangeably to mean postsecondarv education: college, university, school

II – LISTENING_______________________________________________

Q A. First Listening

The lecturer begins with an introduction to the concept of distance education with some noteworthy historical information. He then announces his main subtopics concerning distance education (which you have already seen in the Rhetorical Cues exercise above). He then goes on to give quite a lot of detail on each subtopic. Write down as much detail as possible while structuring your notes.





Follow-up: Check your major subtopics with your teacher before you listen to the lecture for the second time.

Q B. Further Listening

Continue to structure your notes as you take down remaining relevant information.

Follow-up: Check your notes. If you missed important information or have doubts about your notes, (1) verify them by asking a classmate questions to fill the gaps in your notes or (2) listen to the lecture a third time. When verifying your notes with a classmate, don’t show each other your notes; ask questions to get the information you need.

Examples: • Which university offered the first correspondence catalog?

• Can you explain the difference between bulletin boards and chat rooms?

• What does disreputable mean?

This is also a good time to check to see if the lecturer answered your Predictions questions about the lecture.

III. POSTUSTENING ACTIVITIES________________________________

Q A. Accuracy Check

Listen to the following questions, and write short answers. You will hear each question one time only.










10. __________________________________________________

Follow-up: Check your answers with your teacher. If your score is less than 70 percent, you may need to listen to the lecture again or rewrite your notes so that you can understand and use them later.

В. Oral Activities

1. Review

In groups of four, use your notes to reproduce sections of the lecture. Student A will present the introduction. Student В will present subtopic 1, including details. Student C will present subtopic 2, and so on. Continue until all subsections, including their details, have been presented. Check what you hear against your notes. If you don’t under­stand or you disagree with what you hear, wait until each group mem­ber has presented his or her section of the lecture. Then bring your notes into agreement by seeking clarification, as follows:

• I don’t think the lecturer said that all U. S. colleges and universities have distance education courses and programs.

• Did you understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous?

• Could you repeat what the lecturer said about admission to distance courses and programs?

2. Transfer

If you and your classmates come from different countries, discuss these questions with a partner or in small groups. If not, discuss them with the whole class.

• What kind of distance education is available in your country?

• Do you expect distance education to become more popular in your country in the future? Why or why not?

C. Collaboration: Discussion

Discuss the following questions about distance education issues in small groups. Appoint one person to report your group’s opinions to the class.

1. What do you think the advantages of distance education are? What are the disadvantages?

2. Do you think distance education will ever become as common as traditional education?

3. How can students in other countries find out about distance edu­cation opportunities in such countries as the United States?

D. Pursuing the Topic

The following are recommended for a closer look at distance education in the United States:


Bear, John B., & Bear, Mariah P. Bears’ Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2001.

Criscito, Pat. Barron’s Guide to Distance Learning. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Service, Inc., 2002.

Peterson’s Guide to Distance Learning Programs. Lawrenceville, NJ: Petersons, a part of the Thomson Corporation, 2002.

http://www. usnews. com

This USNews Web site has a page dedicated to education in the United States. It allows you to browse e-learning courses, certificates, and degrees in a variety of subject areas.

http://educationusa. state. gov

This U. S. government Web site is designed to provide information for international students interested in distance education.


Now that you have completed the chapters in this unit, your teacher may want you to take a quiz. Your teacher will tell you whether or not you can use your notes to answer the questions on the quiz. If you can use your notes, review them before taking the quiz so that you can anticipate the questions and know where to find the answers. If you cannot use your notes, study them carefully before you take the quiz, concentrating on organizing the information into main ideas and de­tails that support these main ideas.

Work in small groups to help each other anticipate the questions your teacher will ask. Before breaking up into groups, review your notes and highlight important, noteworthy points. After reviewing your notes, break up into groups. Discuss and write specific short-an­swer questions and more general essay questions. (For guidelines in writing questions, see the Unit Quiz Directions at the end of Unit 1.)

Write your group’s questions on the following pages.


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