Integrating Real-World Examples in an Online Course

Description Learning retention can be encouraged and reinforced through the integration of real-life examples and artifacts into course material (Chrestensen, 2007). A simple way to do this in an online course is to include a section of the course that references real-life examples. These examples should be directly related to the learning objectives and content …

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Incorporate Online Debates to Stimulate Critical Thinking and Engagement

Description Online debates have been found to elicit higher levels of cognitive presence in online discussions versus the more traditional question-and-answer format (Zydney, deNoyelles, & Chen, 2014). This can be explained in several ways. In a debate, students must argue for or against a position, with the intention of persuading others to assume the same …

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Create a Case Method Group Activity to Engage Students in Critical Thinking

Description The case method group activity is an instructional design strategy that involves faculty members providing one or more case studies to which groups of students respond. The case(s) could be a real-life case or simulation. It could be description of key concept(s) applied, a story or scenario, an actual case study, a problem or …

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Post First Discourse

Description Online discussions are most effective when students engage in higher order thinking, taking time to reflect and compose original posts. Instructors play a key role in purposefully designing discussion forums that move “student discourse out of the margins of thinking to deeper levels of thought” (Williams, Jaramillo, Peski, 2015, p. 46). The post-first discourse …

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Provide Non-Linguisitic Representations to Foster Reflection

Description Nonlinguistic strategies require students to create a representation of new information that does not rely on language. Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock (2001) define non-linguistic representations as the use of visual, kinesthetic, and whole body systems to acquire and store knowledge. Mental images and physical sensation combined with linguistic modes allow students to better reflect. …

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Strengthening STEM laboratory assessment using learner portfolio and electronic assessment

Description Weekly lab reports are an integral part of the foundational engineering curriculum. In many conventional science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula, students are required to write a report after each weekly experiment, documenting the lab process. Recent research by Vargas and Hanstedt (2014), however, indicates limitations of weekly lab reports, including reduced effectiveness …

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Using GIST statements for summary of learning content

Description The goal of a GIST statement is to write a summary in a given amount of words (i.e 20 words, 15 words, 10 words). GIST is an acronym that stands for: Generating Interactions between Schemata and Texts (Cunningham, 1982; Herrell, 2000). The instructor can determine the amount of words when writing the GIST statement. …

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Using a Guided Approach to Support Critical Thinking in Online Discussions

Description Supporting college students to develop critical thinking skills is an overarching goal in higher education. Students with developed critical thinking skills have the ability to evaluate their own arguments as well as others, resolve conflicts, and generate well-reasoned resolutions to complex problems (Behar-Horenstein & Niu, 2011). Given that there is an exponential increase in …

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Use word clouds to enhance critical thinking

Description One of the major goals of higher education is to cultivate students’ critical thinking skills (Roth, 2010). In order to be prepared for the workplace and to be an informed citizen, students need to be able to base judgments, make decisions, and solve problems based on the careful critique of available evidence. Engagement, defined …

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