Observations on Processes of Assessment and Concerns about the Teaching of Analytical Thinking

Judith Puncochar,* School of Education, Leadership, and Professional Service, Northern Michigan University, USA

Don Faust, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Northern Michigan University, USA

Abstract

Honing students’ analytical thinking skills could expose the uncertainty of our current knowledge and ambiguity of contexts in which university instructors teach. Four instructional strategies were posited to improve university teaching for analytical thinking: (1) implementation of three to five seconds of wait time, (2) providing students with practice for honing skills of observation and asking questions, (3) assessment of analytical thinking with instructor feedback, and (4) use of logic fundamentals in university teaching. Implementing logic fundamentals could increase the likelihood that students use analytical thinking to explore strengths and limitations of arguments ubiquitous throughout their personal, professional, and civic lives. Expanding the New Version of Bloom’s Taxonomy to include “Critical Thinking” and “Problem Solving” within the level of “Creating” is suggested to differentiate analytical thinking at the level of “Analyzing” as foundational to critical thinking at the level of “Creating”.

Keywords:  assessment, pedagogical philosophy, critical thinking, analytical thinking

*Corresponding author. Email: jpuncoch@nmu.edu

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Developing Cultural Intelligence: Designs for Higher Education Courses

Natesha L. Smith,* Student Affairs Administration, Binghamton University, USA

Abstract

This paper presents the design of a course aimed at developing cultural intelligence among graduate students at an American university. Culturally relevant pedagogy is a frame for developing the cultural intelligence of students preparing for work as student affairs professionals. Student-centered in-class group learning activities primarily characterize the course format, which is further supported by synchronous and asynchronous online activities using the learning management system of Blackboard. Cultural intelligence development, expressed in the form of cognitive, metacognitive, behavioral, and motivational factors were evaluated using digital storytelling and environmental audit course projects.

Keyword: cultural intelligence, digital storytelling, student affairs, instructional design

*Corresponding author. Email: nlsmith@binghamton.edu

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Mooting into the Gap of Transition

Felicia Snyman, Law lecturer, Akademia, South Africa

Abstract

Moot court—a mock proceeding where students argue points of law—is an innovative teaching method well suited to bridging the gap of transition from secondary school to university. However, the practice of moot court is generally not available to first-year students in higher education, and mooting is usually conducted face-to-face rather than by distance education or broadcast technology. Akademia’s model of blended learning enables students from different geographical areas and backgrounds to cooperate through distance learning. Students perform roles for which marks are awarded by external assessors who assess from the studio. Peer review is facilitated, and feedback provided to the lecturer. This makes learning relevant and engaging.

Keywords:  moot court, holistic approach, blended learning, problem-based learning

*Corresponding author.  Email: Felicia@akademia.ac.za

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Closing the Gap: Challenges between Student Expectations and Competencies to Meet School Administration Workplace Demands

Clifford E. Tyler,* School of Education, National University, USA

Abstract

Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) Schools of Education in California are faced not only with the challenge of closing the gap between student expectations on the one hand and the realities of university instruction and the workplace on the other, but three additional new challenges. These are (1) meeting the diverse and rapidly changing needs of students; (2) adequately preparing them to successfully transition from course theory to competent practices to meet the demands school administration; and (3) assuring their success in passing the California state-mandated administrative performance assessment.

This paper will describe these challenges and what can be done to meet them.  Students’ changing needs will be described related to the skills they must acquire to successfully complete their theoretical course content and apply it to their fieldwork/intern experiences.  The paper will also describe the challenges that higher education faces to provide them quality courses and a fieldwork and intern course experience, preparing them to pass all three cycles of the state-mandated California Administrative Performance Assessment (CalAPA), or to remediate failing students at IHE expense.

Keywords:  fieldwork, performance assessment, school administration

*Corresponding author. Email: ctyler@nu.edu

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Scaling up Active Learning in Charles Sturt University’s Learning Spaces

Philip Hua, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Abstract

Charles Sturt University provides learning spaces that stimulate active learning by aligning spaces, pedagogy, technologies, furniture, and strategy. At its core this strategy comes down to marrying digital and physical means to educational ends. The visual materials presented here display award-winning learning spaces on some of CSU’s eight campuses in New South Wales along with reflections on how effective these spaces have proven to be. They explore how people are creatively using blended — physical and digital — spaces, and the optimal design and layout of such spaces.

Keywords:

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Sessional Staff Traversing Diverse Learning Spaces: A Review

Prue Gonzalez,* School of Environmental Sciences, and Phillip Ebbs, School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Abstract

Sessional academic staff are employed in a number of academic roles, from lecturing to field trips to course improvement. What distinguishes them from other academic staff is that they are employed on a short-term, contract basis, much like adjunct faculty in the United States. Today they are a dominant feature of the global higher education workforce whose contributions over the past 20 years have been significant.
It is conservatively estimated that sessional academics deliver more than 40% of university teaching in Australia, where the authors live and teach. While the higher education sector’s reliance upon these staff is expected to increase, our knowledge and understanding of these staff is poor. This compromises the development of policies, strategies and programs designed to engage, support and improve the high quality contributions of the sessional academic workforce over a sustained period. A more informed approach to sessional academic engagement, support and quality improvement is an essential component to operating effectively in a modern higher education sector. This paper reviews the challenges associated with the effective and sustainable engagement of the Australian sessional academic workforce.

Keywords:

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Changing Learning Spaces for Changing Learning Needs in Higher Education

Bob Fox,* Mark King, and Dinesh Paikeday, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of New South Wales, Australia

Abstract

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) 2025 strategy supports new designs to facilitate better learning experiences for its students. This includes (re)developing many large first-year courses using more open and blended learning methods. This in turn has led to a re-examination of the University’s physical learning spaces.
This paper explores local and international case studies of different learning spaces and how new digital technologies and more student-centred learning approaches are leading to demands for new learning environments to suit changing needs in learning and teaching. The paper outlines what UNSW is doing to meet the challenges it faces for new physical learning spaces.

Keywords: Learning spaces, online-blended teaching, student learning

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Developing a Learning Analytics Tool to Empower Teachers to Conduct Analysis of Learners Online Behavior

Dr Christine Armatas,* Ada Tse, & Chun Sang Chan, Educational Development Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, and Bruce Li, School of Accounting and Finance, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Abstract

A tool for conducting analysis of students’ learning management system (LMS) behavior shows promise for putting powerful learning analytics (LA) capabilities into the hands of front-line teachers. The combination of advanced analyses and visualisations with explanations to aid interpretation and guide action provides teachers with LA capabilities not previously available. Teachers can use the tool as an early warning system, to predict student performance and to analyse discussion posting information. While teachers’ feedback on the tool is positive, this initiative has highlighted remaining challenges, which include ensuring that data is available for analysis and user perceptions of the tool and its usefulness.

Keywords: learning management systems, Excel tool, learning analytics, teacher development

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Design and Practice of Presentation Training in Open Situation for University Students

Aya Inaura,* & Hirotaka Uoi, Department of Digital Games, and Hiroshi Yokoyama, Department of Games & Media, Faculty of Information Science and Arts, Osaka Electro-Communication University, Japan

Abstract

In recent years, some colleges and universities in Japan have put effort into Presentation Training. Such training may concern not only presentations in class, but also competitions, contests, and workshops. At the Osaka Electro-Communication University, we designed a workshop for presentation training and practice that has been offered since 2012. It differs from other universities’ practices in featuring more varied audiences and presenters than customary. We believe that if we can supply presentation training in open situations for students, we can bring their presentation skills to a higher level.

Keywords: presentation training, workshop

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CSU Thinkspace: Using Media Articles within the Blogspace to Enhance Discourse in Accounting Education

Jahanzeb Khan,* School of Accounting and Finance, & Pamela Roberts, Division of Student Learning, Faculty of Business, Justice, and Behavioural Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Abstract

This paper examines the potential of blogs to instil professional skills and perspectives that undergraduate accounting students require to become competent professionals in a global economy. Blogs provide a compelling platform for engaging teachers and students in discourse on media articles that examine real world accounting challenges, fallacies, and questionable practices. Blogs are an effective online learning technology that encourages critical thinking, reflection and formative feedback. Making use of CSU Thinkspace as a learning platform in an undergraduate accounting subject, preliminary evidence regarding the effectiveness of blogging for developing professional understandings and higher order thinking skills, is discussed.

Keywords: accounting, blog, professional ethics, distance learning

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