Creating a Critical Thinker

College Teaching

A college education is expected to improve students’ critical thinking skills. Keeping students active in class—through writing activities and class discussion—has been shown to help students think critically. In this article, creative hands-on activities, which are common in engineering courses, are shown to improve students’ critical thinking skills in a general education course. The activities were sandwiched between pre-writing, reflecting, and writing assignments. Improvements in critical thinking skills were evaluated by comparing student pre-writing with the final paper. Overall, carefully developed hands-on activities increased student critical thinking, especially when students wrote reflections in a journal shortly after completing an activity.

A Symposium Cautions Against Conflating Education With Job Training

The Chronicle of Higher Education

About three minutes into her opening speech at a symposium here on Thursday about the value of the liberal arts, Sen. Susan Collins addressed an underlying theme of the gathering with a blunt statement:

“The importance of the liberal arts to a free and democratic society was known to antiquity,” said Ms. Collins, a Republican from Maine. “Why is it that we need to keep reminding ourselves — and, more to the point, the public — of its value?”

Horizon Report: 2015

New Media Consortium

What is on the five-year horizon for higher education institutions? Which trends and technologies will drive educational change? What are the challenges that we consider as solvable or difficult to overcome, and how can we strategize effective solutions? These questions and similar inquiries regarding technology adoption and educational change steered the collaborative research and discussions of a body of 56 experts to produce the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition, in partnership with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). The NMC Horizon Report series charts the five-year horizon for the impact of emerging technologies in learning communities across the globe.

At Sea in a Deluge of Data

The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Employers responding to this year’s National Association of Colleges and Employers’ “Job Outlook 2014 Survey” said they planned to increase entry-level hiring by almost 8 percent. But what they may not realize is that these seemingly techno-savvy new hires could be missing some basic yet vital research skills.

It’s a problem that we found after interviewing 23 people in charge of hiring at leading employers like Microsoft, KPMG, Nationwide Insurance, the Smithsonian, and the FBI. This research was part of a federally funded study for Project Information Literacy, a national study about how today’s college students find and use information.”

At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning and Libraries

At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning and Libraries


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“America is now an online nation, prepared and eager to adopt more and more virtual services that can improve lives, offer new convenience or bring economic value. These opportunities exist in education.  Articles and exposés talk about the soaring cost of postsecondary education, performance declines in elementary education, the need to retool the nation’s workers for next-generation jobs, and baby boomers’ desire to stay connected, engaged and involved post-retirement. All of these factors support the need for more, different and versatile forms of education. Likewise, this diverse set of community needs, already placing new demands on academic and public libraries, will only increase, while the budgets to support these needs will not.

How will shrinking budgets, mobile and Internet technology, and shifting consumer attitudes and needs spur on changes in education and library services?”