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Flexible Study for the Future Universities

A. For a brief period, the popular image of the university student was embodied by Sebastian of Brideshead Revisited: 18-years old, male, privileged, and ready to spend three years in one of the world's most elite institutions. But the idea of a typical student no longer holds: today's students are just as likely to be female, or older, or from overseas, or studying part-time while holding down a full-time job. 

B. Traditional models of provision (供给.no longer work for these students. But how can universities adapt to meet their needs--and the needs of the modern global economy? Conditions of Flexibility, published by Professor Ron Barnett, looks at how universities can offer more flexible structures and the conditions under which flexibility can flourish. Using the report as a starting point, a recent Guardian round table (圆桌会议.sponsored by the Higher Education Academy brought together a group of experts and senior managers in higher education to discuss the future of flexible learning. 
C. The round table heard that flexibility is an essential part of a modern higher education system. "The 21st century is calling for new kinds of persons, who can adapt and respond flexibly to the extraordinary challenges we see day in and day out," said one participant. The challenge is how to meet the needs of those students without losing internal integrity, he argued. Many universities are working hard to develop flexible approaches that match students to the employment needs of the economy. One participant described how her university works with local employers to create tailored programmes for individuals. "Students will come in to talk about their aspirations, their past experiences, their qualifications, their jobs, and a customized opportunity will be created for them, which will pick up modules (模块.and put them into a special package for that individual student," she said. 
D. While universities are encouraged to think in a more focused fashion about the specific requirements of the workplace, many also want to equip students with a broader range of skills that enable them to adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing world. Some degree programmes are moving away from the traditionalmodular (模块的,分单元的.approach--where undergraduates might take 10 short modules a year--to a system of longer courses. One participant said that her institution has built flexibility into this new model: "A student might be asked to undertake a particular activity designed to develop a particular aspect of their skills--maybe their critical thinking or their employ ability skills--but they can choose where they do it within the framework of their discipline." An immunology (免疫学.student, for example, could choose to apply their skills to HIV/Aids or heart disease. 
E. Flexibility is also being introduced into assessment. At one university, students on a particular master's programme take five modules, each of which can be assessed in five different ways and students choose which assessment method they prefer for each module. 
F. Another participant described the experimental introduction in one degree course of an option that enables students to study the same module twice, "in order to learn better or differently than they did the first time",with students being assessed separately each time. The round table also heard about the role technology can playin providing students with greater flexibility in how they learn. One participant talked about his university's use of "lecture capture"--recording lectures so that students could watch them again, an innovation that has been embraced with enthusiasm by both staff and students. Other participants argued for a move away from the didactic (说教的.approach of the 50-minute lecture altogether, and in favor of more active methods of teaching. One spoke of a master's course in which psychology students learning to be expert witnesses worked with law students and computer science students on a simulated criminal trial of a murder case.  "It ended up being an incredibly rich multi-professional experience that mimic (模仿.the real world," she said. 
G. Perhaps one of the biggest flexible learning innovations has been the introduction of massive open online courses (Moocs., which enable students to study university-level courses at a distance and for free, using Internet-based resources. Advocates believe that Moocs are democratic, opening higher education up to people who would not normally be able to access it. Round table participants were largely skeptical about the disruptive (引起混乱.potential of Moocs, with one arguing that "most of the people who participate in Moocs are PhDs or academics. There are huge levels of dropout, and the quality is pretty poor." 
H. What are the challenges to providing more flexible learning in higher education? Some participants felt that students are not ready to learn flexibly, and prefer a traditional model of teaching through lectures and assessment through essays and exams. One argued that many students are unused to choice: "When they arrive as undergraduates, they're so used to being told exactly what to do and how they'll be examined that when we get them into university and give them more choices, they don't know what to choose." Students'reluctance to embrace innovation means that universities should take care when introducing flexibility, one participant argued: "We've got a responsibility to try to make sure we structure learning in such a way that students are encouraged to explore outside their comfort zone and engage in different learning approaches, but are unable to default to the lowest common denominator." 
I. Some academics too are cautious about adopting flexible learning methods, the round table heard. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA., a regulatory body-that monitors standards in higher education, publishes standard statements: a set of guidelines for what students should be taught in each subject. 
J. One participant said: "There is a risk aversion around quality and standards because staffs are terribly nervous about getting a poor QAA rating. Perhaps they see standard statements as being gospel (真理., and they have to deliver to those benchmark statements rather than considering threshold concepts and letting students just explore between them." 
K. Although universities are working hard to develop flexible provision, some participants acknowledged that,both in the structure of courses offered and in methods of teaching and learning, progress is patchy (参差不齐的 .. "This sort of exciting innovative activity is going on only in part of the university, not across the institution," said one. "The challenge for university management is the day-to-day pressures of resource management, and time to balance the budget with this innovative way of working." 
L. But it was acknowledged that universities, despite the best of intentions, operate under external constraints.Progress has been slow in the area of student mobility, for example. Increasingly, said one participant,universities must recognize "the desire of students to be mobile on the international stage and to take a great number of credits in different countries and to get work experience in those different settings but still wanting to get a degree that puts that all together." 
M. There is a tension, one participant pointed out, between "good words and actual policy". While successive governments have talked about the importance of increasing flexibility and being employer-led, they operate"a funding and policy model which goes back to thinking about 18-year-olds doing three-year degree programmes and going on to a master's if they want." Until governments catch up with the realities of the new higher education landscape, universities may find it hard to provide the flexibility students and employers need. 
1.[选词填空]One of the challenges to providing more flexible learning in higher education is that students may not be ready for it.
    • 解题思路:题干意为,在高等教育中提供更具灵活性的学习的挑战之一在于,学生们可能还没有为此做好准备。注意抓住题干中的关键词challenges to providing more flexible learning,students和ready,关于学生应对更具灵活性的学习的内容出现在H段。该段首句问及在高等教育领域提供灵活性学习的挑战有哪些,紧接着第二句指出,部分与会者认为学生们没有做好灵活学习的准备,他们倾向于传统的课堂教学及通过论文和考试进行测评的模式。由此可见,题干是原文的同义转述,故答案是H。
    2.[选词填空]Some participants thought universities should abandon the didactic approach of class and adopt a more active way of teaching.
      • 解题思路:题干意为,一些与会者认为大学应该放弃说教式的授课方式,采用更积极的方法教学。注意抓住题干中的关键词abandon,didactic approach和more active way。有关说教式授课方式的内容出现在F段。该段第四句提到,其他与会者提到应改变传统课堂50分钟的说教式的授课方式,采用更积极的教学方式。由此可见,题干是原文的同义转述,故答案是F。
      3.[选词填空]The typical image of a university student nowadays is quite different from what it was before.
        • 解题思路:题干意为,当今大学生的典型形象和往日有很大不同。注意抓住题干中的关键词the typical image of a university student和different。关于大学生形象对比的内容出现在A段。该段第一句介绍了一段时期以来人们心目中大学生的典型形象,接着第二句提到,这种关于典型大学生的观念已经无法再站得住脚:当下的大学生可能是女性、年长者、来自海外的留学生或利用空闲时间学习的全职工作者。由此可见,题干是对原文内容的概括,故答案是A。
        4.[选词填空]Traditional ways of education are not fit for today's students any longer.
          • 解题思路:题干意为,传统的教育方式已不再适用于现今的学生。注意抓住题干中的关键词traditional ways of education和not fit for。关于传统教育方式适应性的内容出现在B段。该段首句提到,传统的供给模式已经不再适用于这些学生。由此可见,题干是原文的同义转述,故选B。
          5.[选词填空]Though universities are making great effort to develop flexibility provision, some think that the progress is inconsistent.
            • 解题思路:题干意为,虽然大学正做出巨大努力以发展灵活性学习,但一些人认为取得的进步不一致。注意抓住题干中的关键词develop flexibility provision,progress和inconsistent。关于一些人对大学做法的评价的内容出现在K段。该段首句提到,虽然很多大学正努力发展灵活性学习,但一些与会者认为,无论是在已提供的课程结构上还是在教学及学习方法上所取得的进步都是参差不齐的。由此可见,题干是原文的同义转述,故答案是K。
            6.[选词填空]According to a participant of the round table, new kinds of people who can face great challenges flexibly are needed in the contemporary era.
              • 解题思路:题干意为,依据此次圆桌会议的一位与会者所说,当今时代需要的是能够灵活应对巨大挑战的新型人才。注意抓住题干中的关键词new kinds of people,face great challenges flexibly和needed in the contemporary era。关于当今时代所需的新型人才的内容出现在c段。该段第二句提到,一位与会者说:“21世纪需要新型人才,这些新型人才能够有效地应对日常极端挑战。”由此可见,题干是对原文的同义转述,故答案是C。
              7.[选词填空]Roundtable participants worry that massive open online courses may cause confusion.
                • 解题思路:题干意为,圆桌会议的参会者们担心大规模开放在线课程可能引起混乱。注意抓住题干中的关键词roundtable participants.Massive open online courses和confusion。关于大规模开放在线课程的内容出现在G段。该段最后两句提到,与会者怀疑大规模开放在线课程可能引起混乱,其中一位认为“大部分参与大规模开放在线课程的人都是博士生或专业学者。但是辍学率很高,学习质量堪忧。”由此可见,题干是原文的同义转述,故答案是G。
                8.[选词填空]In order to make students better adapt to the demands of the world today, many universities are trying to equip them with multiple skills.
                  • 解题思路:题干意为,为了使学生更好地适应当今世界的需求,许多学校正努力使他们拥有多项技能。注意抓住题干中的关键词the demands of the world today和multiple skills。关于当今世界需求和多项技能关系的内容出现在D段。该段第一句指出,尽管提倡大学应积极思考学生们工作职位的特定要求,许多大学也想要拓宽学生的能力范围,以使他们适应世界迅速变化的需求。由此可见。题于是原文的同义转述,故答案是D。
                  9.[选词填空]It will not be easy for colleges to supply students and employers with flexibility until the authorities realize the situation of new higher education.
                    • 解题思路:题干意为,直到当局意识到最新高等教育的现状,大学才能较容易地为学生和雇主提供灵活性。注意抓住题干中的关键词supply students and employers with flexibility,the authorities和new high ereducation。关于当局对最新高等教育现状态度的内容出现在M段。该段末句提到,只有政府认清最新高等教育领域的实际情况,大学才可能较轻松地为学生和雇主提供他们所需的灵活性。由此可见,题干是原文的同义转述,故答案是M。题干中的me authorities是原文中governments的同义转述。
                    10.[选词填空]Progress in the area of student mobility hasn't been fast enough to satisfy students' practical needs.
                      • 解题思路:题干意为,学校在提高学生(职业)流动能力方面的进步并不够快,无法满足学生的实际需求。注意抓住题干中的关键词progress in the area of student mobility和hasn’t been fast enough。关于学生流动能力无法满足实际需求的内容出现在L段。该段后两句提到,例如,学校在提高学生(职业)流动能力方面进步缓慢。一位与会者说,大学必须日益认识到“学生们渴望在国际学术舞台自由流动,在不同国家获得大量学分,在不同背景下获得工作经验但依旧希望拿到一个囊括这一切的学位。”由此可见,题干是原文的同义转述,故答案是L。
                      • 参考答案:H,F,A,B,K,C,G,D,M,L