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A Path to Achieving Cognitive Complexity - Critical Thinking. Research, Information Literacy

Presentation to Trinity Western University as part of a discussion of learning outcome implementation, October 10, 2013
by

William Badke

on 6 October 2014

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Transcript of A Path to Achieving Cognitive Complexity - Critical Thinking. Research, Information Literacy

A Path to Achieving Cognitive Complexity - Critical Thinking, Research, Information literacy
Identify the Outcomes:

Cognitive complexity

skills including: critical and creative thinking, quantitative reasoning, communication, research, and information literacy.

For our purposes, we will consider critical thinking, research, and information literacy as a single complex of outcomes.

We could, of course, give up working on cognitive complexity outcomes and simply take the advice of Father Guido Sarducci, a comedic character of the 1970s:

Step 1
Step 2
Teach Critical Thinking in Context:

Critical thinking cannot be taught in a vacuum
Critical thinking does not grow dramatically without being taught and assessed.
Critical thinking development, situated within research and information literacy provides means both to teach it and assess it.
Step 3
Develop a path to fostering critical thinking, research and information literacy that is intended:

To make the development of student information handling and research ability a conscious goal of education in most or all courses.
To create opportunities for students to develop research design, question/thesis and information gathering/evaluation abilities that are assessed while students are in the process of doing assignments.
Step 4
Determine how to achieve and measure outcomes.


Here's a plan:
Establish critical thinking, research and information literacy rubrics, e.g.

Student can formulate a clear, problem-based research question, thesis or hypothesis.
Student can find resources to support the question/thesis that are of high quality and relevant.
Student understands research as a "conversation." http://prezi.com/z7qxzbgeoarq/understanding-research-as-conversation/
Student can articulate a clear argument that assesses other points of view fairly and makes strong use of evidence.
Student shows ability to articulate research according to the conventions of the discipline.

Facet your research assignments so that students do them in several parts, with faculty input/comments at every stage.

Comments look at process as much as content.
Students must read and act on comments in order to do well on the next portion of the assignment.
Put a stress on evaluating argumentation. Have a good look at bibliographies to determine quality and relevance of sources being used.
1. Design assignments that are intended to measure cognitive complexity outcomes.
2. Create clear rubrics to clarify what student performance you expect.
3. Provide feedback that students read and then practice in order to improve.
4. Use grading criteria that measure cognitive complexity.
5. Assume that no outcome is achieved overnight.
Focus on student
process
skills by revealing your discipline to be a work in progress to which everyone contributes.
Do close reading of key works of research, focusing on the author's/researcher's method as much as content.
Assume that students won't read your comments on their work.
Develop mentoring patterns that compel students to read your comments - breaking assignments into parts so that the comments provide impetus for improvement on the next part to be submitted.
The Keys to Achieving Outcomes
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