critical thinking

Higher Grades and Improved Critical Thinking with MindTap

In the fall of 2015, MarketingWorks and SEG Measurement, two independent research firms, conducted a comprehensive study of whether students in philosophy courses that use MindTap® receive higher grades and improve their critical thinking skills more than a comparable group of students in similar philosophy courses that do not use MindTap. A total of 227 students and nine instructors teaching 15 philosophy classes in nine different institutions of higher education participated in the MindTap research, including five classes that used MindTap and 10 classes that did not. All instructors who used MindTap provided feedback about MindTap throughout the semester, Read More…


Activity Idea: Teaching Critical Thinking with Social Media

In your work as an instructor, you undoubtedly encourage your students to think critically about the topics and issues you cover in your class—and those that they encounter in the world around them. Given that students (and perhaps you!) enjoy social media, you may be thinking about using social media as a means of teaching students valuable critical thinking skills. We know that you enjoy reading about other instructors’ teaching ideas, so we’d like to share this great idea from Melody Niesen of the University of Central Missouri. In this video, Melody describes her strategy for teaching critical thinking Read More…


How Do You Use Digital Tools to Teach Critical Thinking?

How do you use digital assignments to foster students’ critical thinking skills? Share a digital assignment that sparks critical thinking in our Make It Count contest, and you could win great prizes.

Critical thinking is a critical element of your course. As we have observed how instructors teach critical thinking, and as we have heard from many of you and your students, we have seen numerous, creative ways to incorporate that important skill into coursework—many of which take advantage of today’s engaging digital learning tools.
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Ideas for Building Students’ Critical Thinking Skills

If you’re like the majority of instructors, you recognize the importance of teaching critical thinking. However, you may occasionally find it challenging to communicate that importance to your students.

Looking for ways to refine, increase, or change the ways you address critical thinking in your classroom? Below, we’ve provided some questions that will help you consider (or reconsider) how your course helps students develop the critical thinking skills they’ll need today, and in the future. If you’d like to add your own suggestions, please share them in the comments!

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OWLv2 is Key to Meaningful Homework and Better Student Engagement

If variety is the spice of life nowhere is that more evident than inside a university classroom where distractions abound and students can easily find other things to do rather than focus on lectures and concentrate on homework. “I want them to know the homework assignments aren’t just busy work,” said Steven Neal, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
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How to Think Critically About Images

In our media-saturated culture, images are everywhere: billboards on the freeway; posters at the bus stop; paintings on museum walls; photos shared through our friends’ social media accounts. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a day going by without encountering several images.

Given the pace of life today, it’s very easy for many of us to take these images at face value, without pausing to consider the deeper message that the image is intended to communicate. However, it’s important to think critically about images as we encounter them in the world around us, so that we can grasp those meanings and use that information in a wise and appropriate manner.

For this reason, it’s imperative that today’s students learn how to apply their critical thinking skills as they consider the true message conveyed by all sorts of images: advertisements, artistic photographs, infographics, silly memes… and more. If you’re hoping to build students’ skills in this arena, you may want to share some tips that will help them engage in the process with care and skill.

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Tips for Students: Use Critical Thinking Skills During Midterms

Critical thinking skills can be applied in everything college students do for class — from research to skimming examination excerpts. Thinking critically allows students to develop the higher-order thinking abilities needed for academic study and career success. Share these tips with your students for thinking critically during midterm time.

Reading critically

Not only is it possible to think critically, it’s also important to read critically.This allows you to start making connections as soon as you begin a task. Reading critically can help you when you first start a research project or even as you’re reading through a big examination excerpt. You’ll begin to determine how Read More…


Critical Thinking: Teaching and Proving this Critical Career Skill

Everybody wants a critical thinker on their team these days. According to a study from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, approximately 93% of surveyed employers believe that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.” Another study, this one by career-search website Indeed.com, found that “Mentions of critical thinking in job postings have doubled since 2009.” President Obama has even discussed the idea in multiple State of the Union Addresses, stating that schools needed to develop standards that measured “Read More…


How to Have Energizing Online Discussions in Your Course

If you teach an online course, or if your course has an online component or LMS, you probably make extensive use of the discussion board. Online discussions can be a great way for students to connect, collaborate, and share their ideas with their fellow students. Unfortunately, student discussions often become monologues, rather than the lively conversations that you’d hope for them to be. Want to gather some fresh ideas for sparking energizing online discussions? Then watch “Reenergizing Online Discussions.” This presentation, recorded during our recent “Wired and Inspired!: The Intelligent Use of Technology in Higher Education” online workshop, offers specific Read More…


MindTap for U.S. History Increases Student Engagement at Oakland University

Dr. Dale Prentiss, Special Lecturer in Oakland University’s History department, teaches HST 114, a survey course that covers American history from the colonial era through post-Civil War Reconstruction, focusing on the formation of the United States and the forces promoting unity and division in the new nation. The course is offered in both in-class and online formats and can be taken to satisfy Oakland University’s requirements in either western civilization knowledge exploration or U.S. diversity.

Prior to using MindTap for U.S. History, Dr. Prentiss had been teaching his course using a combination of a print textbook and online learning solution. He began exploring using MindTap after seeing a demonstration of the solution integrated with Gale research content. Dr. Prentiss knew that Oakland University’s library had recently made
a significant investment in Eighteenth Century Collections Online and was excited by the possibility of bringing that content directly into the students’ learning path. In addition to the unique feature of integrating library research content into his course, Dr. Prentiss believed that MindTap could help him create a course that was more engaging and encouraged students to think critically.
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