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Civility Statements in Syllabi

Strategies to Mitigate Plagiarism

Mid-semester Check-in with Students

Encouraging Students to Ask Questions

Improving our Teaching Through Critical Reflection

The First Day of Class

Last Day of Class

Helping Students Think Critically

In Teaching at its best: a research-based resource for college instructors, Linda Nilson recommends the following to foster students’ critical thinking skills: “Teach students the critical thinking structures that your discipline uses – for example, the scientific method, the diagnostic process, the rules of rhetoric, basic logic (the nature of fact, opinion, interpretation and theory) and logical fallacies.”

Application in Online Learning

Critical thinking rests on prerequisite knowledge that online learning is well-suited to develop in students. Online activities can help students differentiate between examples of a concept versus non-examples in increasingly subtle and sophisticated ways. Online activities can help students apply the correct procedure, principle or rule in novel situations or read through a case study and list the relevant details versus the non-relevant details. Online discussions can help students form a defense of their positions and learn to assimilate the points of view of other students.

Online learning can help break critical thinking into smaller parts in assignments that provide immediate and constructive feedback. In latter parts of the course, students can integrate and synthesize the smaller parts into larger assignments that require students to “put it all together.”

Nilson, L. B. Teaching at its best: a research-based resource for college instructors. 2nd ed. Bolton, MA: Anker Pub. Co., 2003. Print.

Explore Further: http://jolt.merlot.org/vol5no1/mandernach_0309.htm

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