Week 4 Activities & Webinars

 Objective: Decide how you create a “natural critical learning environment” in your online courses.

Please begin by reading and reviewing the topic Create a natural critical learning environment.

 Blackboard Collaborate Webinar Sessions

How to Promote Critical Thinking in the Online Classroom

Overview:  The webinar will comprise a 15 to 20 minute presentation on the fundamentals of presence in the online classroom, with a focus on strategies that promote critical thinking. Power point slides will accompany the presentation, and can be made available to participants. Questions from participants will be encouraged.

Webinar Description:Strategies for promoting critical thinking among online students are shared and discussed in this Webinar. Participants will identify the three core principles needed to create an online presence—the foundation of promoting deep and meaningful learning for online students. This interactive session will provide opportunity for discussion, and participants will leave with ideas and tactics for creating a strategy that promotes critical thinking in their own online classroom.

By Debbie Morrison

Debbie Morrison is an instructional designer and educator with ten years experience in creating meaningful, rich learning outcomes in higher education and business settings. Debbie’s work focuses on online instructional design and education, including experience as the Lead Curriculum Developer, Online Programs at a four-year university. She currently works as an independent instructional designer, and collaborates with a variety of organizations to develop effective online programs. She writes and blogs about online education.

Engaging Students in Taking Ownership of Content Through Thinking…

A key insight into content (and into thinking) is that all content represents a distinctive mode of thinking. Math becomes intelligible as one learns to think mathematically. Biology becomes intelligible as one learns to think biologically. History becomes intelligible as one learns to think historically. This is true because all subjects are: generated by thinking, organized by thinking, analyzed by thinking, synthesized by thinking, expressed by thinking, evaluated by thinking, restructured by thinking, maintained by thinking, transformed by thinking, LEARNED by thinking, UNDERSTOOD by thinking, APPLIED by thinking. If you try to take the thinking out of content, you have nothing, literally nothing, remaining. Learning to think within a unique system of meanings is the key to learning any content whatsoever. This session, in other words, explores the intimate, indeed the inseparable relationship between content and thinking.

By Dr. Linda Elder

Full recording (opens in Blackboard Collaborate)

Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking. She is President of the Foundation for Critical Thinking and Executive Director of the Center for Critical Thinking. Dr. Elder has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level and has given presentations to more than 20,000 educators at all levels. She has co-authored four books, including Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life and Twenty-Five Days to Better Thinking and Better Living. She has co-authored eighteen thinker’s guides on critical thinking and co-authors a quarterly column on critical thinking in the Journal of Developmental Education.

Dr. Elder has also developed an original stage theory of critical thinking development.  Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and the barriers to critical thinking, Dr. Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking and her work.

With experience in both administration and the classroom, Dr. Elder understands firsthand the problems facing educators. She is a dynamic presenter who reaches her audience on a person-to person level.


Weekly Roundup

Join our session of highlights from the week.

Create a sensemaking  artifact

  1. Pick and Choose.
  2. Remix and Re-purpose.
  3. Share.

 Discussion Questions

  1. How do you create discussions that encourage critical and original thinking versus shallow “this is what the teacher wants” type postings?
  2. How do you facilitate discussions in ways that promote critical thinking and discourages interaction?
  3. Education research has shown that an effective technique for developing problem-solving and critical-thinking skills is to expose students early and often to “ill-defined” problems in their field. An ill-defined problem is one that addresses complex issues and thus cannot easily be described in a concise, complete manner. However educators are also required to have specific objectives and outcomes for students to reach. Often students stray from or miss the path you would like like them to take to reach your objectives and outcomes. How would you facilitate and guide students, during a project, who are “lost or off track” to help them reach the stated course objectives and outcomes?
  4.  How do questions, problems, or cases help in engaging students in some higher order intellectual activity?
  5.   How could we use questions, problems or cases to assist in helping students construct their own understanding?
  6. What is a “natural critical learning environment” and how can you create one in th courses you teach?

Suggested Reflections

  1. In your blog share some of your reflections of what you have learned this week.
  2. You may also want to tell us what you have liked so far this week and how the mini course could be improved.

Activity Reflection

Please post a reflection that addresses what you did this week, why you did what you did, and what you would do differently in the future. Your reflection will be framed by three broad questions: What? So what? What now?

  1. What?
    1. Briefly describe what you did.
  2. So what?
    1. Describe why you did what you did. What are your feelings about what you did?
    2. How will this help you?
    3. What did you learn from the experience?
  3. What now?
    1. What changes did you make?
    2. What will you do differently in the future?
    3. What do you still have to learn?

Wear a hat when you comment

There are six different thinking roles you will be playing when you comment on artifacts.  The thinking roles are identified with a colored symbolic “thinking hat.” By mentally wearing and switching “hats,” you can easily focus your thoughts and comments about the artifact.

  1. The White Hat calls for information known or needed. “The facts, just the facts.”
  2. The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism. Under this hat you explore the positives and probe for value and benefit.
  3. The Black Hat is judgment – the devil’s advocate or why something may not work. Spot the difficulties and dangers; where things might go wrong. Probably the most powerful and useful of the Hats but a problem if overused.
  4. The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. When using this hat you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.
  5. The Green Hat focuses on creativity; the possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. It’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.
  6. The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process.

Video of the week

It’s not about WHAT learners DO. It’s about WHY they DO it!

2 thoughts on “Week 4 Activities & Webinars

  1. After some absense from this MOOC, owing to professional reasons, I got back to the week 4 webinars and activities.
    My last post was about the COI model and Debbie Morrison presentation, and this week I dedicated my attention to the webinar about Critical Thinking by Linda Elder, who develops the relationship between content and thinking.
    I’ve tried to synthetize some of the ideas of the webinar and the searches in http://www.criticalthinking.org// resources
    My post in my MOOC Space – http://idabrandaomooc.wordpress.com/how-to-teach-online/

  2. It came to my mind another approach, which goes beyond critical thinking skills , that of critical consciousness, power relations, the utopian idea of changing the world – Critical Pedagogy. The heritage of Paulo Freire, (eventually neglected) who was an inspiring intelectual and practitioner, aiming at social justice and development through education. More than ever, in a world of economic crisis and growing inequalities, Critical Pedagogy has a stand – http://www.freireproject.org/freire-project-tv/http://vimeo.com/47117497

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