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|
Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, USA
Associate Professor, Accounting and Finance, University of Southern Indiana, Indiana, USA
Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, USA
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