Assessing Online Discussion: Adoption of Critical Thinking as a Grading Criterion

By Wei-Ying Hsiao, Manfen W Chen and Hsing-Wen Hu.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Critical thinking has been a major part of 21st Century Skills. Jerald (2009) indicates that applied skills such as critical thinking and problem solving can be integrated into the academic curriculum. Given the prevalence of online course offerings, online discussions can be used effectively in promoting and encouraging critical thinking (Arend, 2009). However, according to Hsiao’s (2012) study, critical thinking is not highly promoted in online discussions. Thus, how to enhance critical thinking skills in online discussions becomes an important issue in higher education. The purpose of this study is twofold: to identify the elements/criteria of grading rubrics commonly used to assess online discussions and to investigate whether critical thinking can be promoted as a grading criterion for assessing online discussions. The results show that only 35% of 69 grading rubrics include critical thinking as one of grading criteria; however, after a presentation emphasizing the importance of critical thinking, 94% of participants recognized the importance of adopting critical thinking as a grading criterion and rated critical thinking as the number one grading criterion. This confirms Hurd’s (2013) suggestion that faculty members actually lack the concept of critical thinking. The implications of the results indicate that the importance of critical thinking can be promoted among faculty members and once faculty members recognize the concept of critical thinking, it is highly possible that faculty members will adopt the skill of critical thinking as a grading criterion.

Keywords: Online Discussion Assessment, Online Discussions Grading Rubric, Critical Thinking in Online Discussions

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.15-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 532.273KB).

Dr. Wei-Ying Hsiao

Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, USA

Dr. Wei-Ying Hsiao is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at University of Alaska Anchorage. Before moved to Alaska, she was an associate professor in Graduate Studies in Education at Southern Utah University, USA. She has taught Educational Psychology and Curriculum in undergraduate; in addition, she has been teaching Assessment, Classroom Management, Multicultural Education, Become a Master Teacher, Proposal Writing, and Educational Research both in online and face-to-face courses in graduate studies. Her recently research projects include diversity and multicultural education in the curriculum, e-books in school settings, integrated technology into curriculum, pre- and in-service teachers’ beliefs on technology teaching projects, learner–centered approach and learning environment, STEM curriculum, and online learning environment.

Manfen W Chen

Associate Professor, Accounting and Finance, University of Southern Indiana, Indiana, USA

Manfen W. Chen received her DBA in Finance from Louisiana Tech University in 2003 and is currently an Associate Professor of Finance at University of Southern Indiana. Her research interests are information theory, regulatory policies, and asset pricing. Dr. Chen has published at the Journal of Regulatory Economics, the Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, and other refereed journals and proceedings articles.

Dr. Hsing-Wen Hu

Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the College of Education, University of Alaska-Anchorage.


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