critical thinking

The Process of Becoming a Critical Thinker

Across the nation, colleges and universities strive to develop high level critical thinkers. How does this happen? In Student Success in College: Doing What Works! 2nd Edition, students can explore how to develop these skills. This process considers both cognitive and non-cognitive skills needed in order to become a critical thinker. Here’s a brief overview of the process: Foundational Conditions:
Before developing high level critical thinking skills, three foundational conditions are needed. In essence, these are pre-requisite skills for engaging in high level cognitive tasks. 1. A Content Knowledge Base
While memorization and remembering are not the end goal of college, these cognitive tasks Read More…


The Importance of Teaching Critical Thinking

According to our recent Instructor Engagement Insights survey, 83% of the responding instructors cover critical thinking in their courses. With this strong result, it’s more than likely that you, too, you place a high priority on teaching critical thinking to your students. However, even though most instructors teach critical thinking, their methods differ based on the subject or course they’re teaching. Cengage Learning wanted to understand a bit more about instructors’ strategies for helping students build these skills. Below, we’ve shared their responses. If you’re hoping to add more critical thinking coverage to your own course, you may find Read More…


Applying Knowledge in the Flipped Classroom: Best Practices

What’s your measure of student success? Is it simply that students can achieve a particular score on your midterms and finals? Or, would you like to see them applying their newfound knowledge, engaging around real-life issues, and collaborating to create solutions to challenging problems? If you prefer the latter, there’s good news: flipped-classroom methods can help you achieve these higher-order learning goals.  

Flip your classroom using proven teaching strategies

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Tips for Students: How to Get Motivated to Study in College

Instructors often face an ongoing battle to keep college students motivated to study all semester long. The same students that show up bright-eyed and eager to learn on day one are not typically the same come November!  Sometimes motivation can come from unexpected places, such as famous quotes you may have overlooked. They may seem obvious, but they can be quite actionable when related to your students’ unique needs. Try our advice for showing your students how to get motivated to study.  Read More…


Tips for Students: Think Critically About What You Read Online

The majority of today’s students feel quite comfortable using the Internet; to stay informed and entertained, they check their favorite websites and mobile apps frequently. Though it is always important for them to consider the value, relevance, and accuracy of the information they’ve found, it’s especially imperative to do so when they want to incorporate it into their coursework or apply it to the work they’ll complete in their future careers. In order to use this information appropriately, they must think critically about what they’re reading and carefully assess its credibility and relevance. In their book The Purposeful Argument: A Read More…


MindTap® for History Increases Critical Thinking and Improves Outcomes at Oklahoma State University

Michelle McCargish is a history instructor at Western New Mexico University, and also recently taught an online section of an American History survey course at Oklahoma State University. The only online instructor of the course (History 1103), Michelle
wanted to use a digital learning solution that provided good online supplements and was easy to use in the online classroom environment. After reviewing several solutions, Michelle decided to pilot MindTap® in the spring of 2014.

Michelle noticed immediately one key advantage of MindTap — how easily her students were able to navigate the interface. In addition to a user-friendly interface, Michelle found that integrating MindTap into her course’s LMS allowed for a streamlined integration experience for her and her students.

What’s more, Michelle found that MindTap’s exercises and assignments were effective at reaching students with different learning styles and encouraging critical thinking. Additionally, Michelle saw evidence of increased levels of student engagement using MindTap when grading the course midterm.

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Discussing Reading Assignments in Class

Think back to your last in-class discussion of the course’s assigned readings. Did students respond readily to your questions and demonstrate familiarity with and interest in the material? Or, did you have to expend a great deal of energy to get the conversational ball rolling? If the latter, you might be looking for some ideas that will spark increased student engagement around the process of discussing reading assignments. In their book  McKeachie’s Teaching Tipsauthors Marilla Svinicki and Wilbert J. McKeachie share several ideas that can help prompt classroom discussion of reading assignments and build engagement around the topics you hope to address through them. Read More…


MindTap Helps Student Keep Track of Assignments, Build Understanding, and Think ‘on a Higher Level’

After rethinking her decision to attend medical school, Caitlin Phillips knew that she still wanted a career in medicine. This meant that in order to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in biology, she would need to complete some tough classes, including medical terminology. As a full-time senior, her schedule was full with classes, studying, and sorority commitments. In addition, she’s working on the senior paper required of all biology majors, and hers is on a complex subject: multiple myeloma.

Because MindTap was a requirement for her medical terminology course, Caitlin—who considers herself tech savvy—dove right in. She liked the digital format and felt that MindTap was simple and easy to get through and the ebook drew her in and kept her engaged.

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Professors Team Up with Enhanced WebAssign® to Support Self-Paced Learning in Developmental Math

Jerome Murray and Jim Anderson are math professors at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio. They wanted to redesign a portion of Clark State’s Developmental Math program to include courses that allowed students to work at their own pace as well as have the option of completing the entire developmental math program within a year. With these objectives in mind, Jerome and Jim set out to find a digital learning solution that would provide self-paced instruction and promote critical thinking skills. They also needed a solution that they could use in other math courses. “We wanted a learning Read More…


Facilitating Discussions that Inspire Deeper Thinking

Class discussions certainly create a setting that inspires deeper learning and fosters students’ ability to think more critically and strategically. But how can you work to ensure that this actually happens? Step one: encourage students to build and use the skills that help them understand how they can learn from the discussions that take place in your course. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, Fourteenth Edition, Marilla Svinicki and Wilbert J. McKeachie present seven skills that students can adopt to get the most from class discussions and, in the process, become more critical thinkers. We’ve summarized their points below. 1. Knowing how and why Read More…