The CATs in a Hat: Fostering Higher Order Thinking

This is the third article in our series on Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) which can be used to gauge lesson effectiveness and student comprehension. To review, CATs were developed by Angelo and Cross (1983) to efficiently check whether students understand a certain concept. For more examples of these formative assessments, please see our previous posts:

In this article, we will present three CATs focusing on developing Higher Order Thinking Skills (see Collins, 2014) and that can also be used face-to-face, hybrid, or online teaching. Continue reading

To Get the Right Answer, You Have to Ask the Right Question

We want our students to develop those higher order thinking skills that are so crucial to developing those much talked about 21st Century Skills including the ability to think critically, synthesize, and evaluate. The development of these skills is essential for students to complete their degree programs, and enable them as citizens to be able to solve the complex problems facing our society in the future.

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Setting the Stage for Meaningful Peer-to-Peer Feedback

Although many instructors integrate group-based or team-based learning activities into their teaching (see TeachOnline post on The Value of Group Work), getting students to actually provide meaningful peer-to-peer feedback can be challenging. Too often, cultural norms or fears of potential social backlash make students veer away from critiquing each other in a group setting or an online discussion forum. As a result, peers often do not know how to provide meaningful feedback and tend to fall back on statements, such as “I agree with what s/he said!” or the infamous Facebook-popularized, “I like it!”

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Video Conferencing for Synchronous Sessions – Food for Thought

“Synchronous video interaction can make learning more personal by providing a close approximation of the human, one-on-one experience…” (Educause, 2013)

people-in-a-roomOne of the most exciting aspects of video conferencing technology is the ability to conduct your class in real-time, regardless of location. Imagine the possibilities when students from around the country or even the world can learn as if they were in the same classroom. Like all new technologies however, there are some important considerations an instructor should take into account before jumping off the deep end. Some basic preparation will allow the magic to happen without the headaches that can come with it!

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Group Discussion Boards

Dr. Nancy Jurik wanted to encourage thoughtful reflection on course readings and discussions in her Justice Theory course. To do this, she sliced her 40+ student course into four groups of 10 asking them to post twice a week. The first post was to respond to an instructor question based upon the readings and narrated PowerPoint lectures; the second post was to summarize the key areas of agreement or disagreement among the students who responded to post one. Obviously, trying to summarize 40 student responses would be a monumental task, however, in groups of 10, it was very manageable.