Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Scaffolding and assessing learners’ critical thinking in online discussion (#190)

Yiong Hwee Teo 1
  1. Nanyang Technological University, SINGAPORE, Singapore

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

Employers value graduates who can think critically and solve problems in the real world. This study explored how metacognitive scaffolding can be built into an online discussion forum to support students’ critical thinking to generate in-depth discussion. As part of the overall teacher training program, students attended a course that equipped them with skills to effectively examine the pedagogical value and production qualities of digital videos, and to design some simple educational videos. Through the course, these students used the Knowledge Community online learning environment to critique, debate and negotiate the strengths and weaknesses of certain digital video clips. The study’s strategy involved setting a discussion task for students and providing them with a set of carefully developed sentence openers that used Socratic Thinking framework to help them in constructing arguments. These posts were then collected and then content analyzed. The study results suggest that the sentence openers played a critical role in enabling learners to think and discuss issues from multiple perspectives. By making students’ thinking processes explicit, learners’ shortcomings in certain categories of thinking were revealed. This research shows how technology can be used to evidence and assess learners’ critical thinking

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

It is not easy to scaffold and evidence critical thinking. This research shows how technology can be used to evidence and assess learners’ critical thinking through the use of Socratic Thinking sentence openers in an online forum. The metacognitive scaffolding provided for an in-depth discussion from multiple perspectives and showed learners' deficiency in certain areas of thinking.

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