2014 ISECON Proceedings - Abstract Presentation


Assessing Critical Thinking Skills in Online and Face-to-Face Platforms for an Interdisciplinary General-Education Science Course


Li-Jen Yu Shannon
Sam Houston State University

Steven Koether
Sam Houston State University

Matthew Rowe
Michigan State University

Marcus Gillespi
Sam Houston State University


Abstract
College students appear to be failing to develop critical thinking skills in traditional university science courses. The Foundations of Science, an interdisciplinary general-education science course, was developed to improve students’ critical thinking and scientific literacy skills. The course encourages students to apply key scientific facts, concepts, laws and theories; recognize logical fallacies; distinguish science from pseudoscience; and recognize psychological factors that might influence their decision making abilities. The course attempts to accomplish this by analyzing a variety of claims using the collaborative evaluation of case-studies. Students in face-to-face sections of the course have shown consistent significant increases in critical thinking skills for over five years. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to see if the course maintained a positive change in critical thinking skills in a fully online platform. Online and face-to-face versions of the course were assessed, in a pre- vs. post-assessment design, with the Critical Thinking Assessment Test. The instructor and course content were consistent in the two platforms. Both online and face-to-face sections showed significant increases in critical thinking skills. Demographic data was not consistent between the two platforms. The results suggest that it is possible to effect positive change in critical thinking skills in an online platform.

Recommended Citation: Shannon, L. Y., Koether, S., Rowe, M., Gillespi, M., (2014). Assessing Critical Thinking Skills in Online and Face-to-Face Platforms for an Interdisciplinary General-Education Science Course. The Proceedings of the Information Systems Education Conference, v.31 n.3197, Baltimore, Maryland