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Critical Thinking through a Reflexive Platform
Matthew Montebello
Department of Artificial Intelligence
University of Malta
Bill Cope, Mary Kalantzis, Anastasia Olga Tzirides,
Samaa Haniya, Tabassum Amina, Duane Searsmith,
Naichen Zhao, Min Chen
University of Illinois, USA
Abstract—Massive numbers of online learners have opted to
enrol in MOOC platforms such as Coursera, EdX and Udacity,
where a plethora of topical courses are offered. However, a
limitation of all those platforms is that they cannot effectively
support teaching higher order thinking, such as critical thinking,
due to logistical issues in assessing such skills. This paper
discusses a pedagogically designed online system that employs a
set of purposely devised techniques based on a reflexive ideology,
whereby complex reasoning skills such as critical and creative
thinking form part of the process. Additionally, peer- and self-
reviewing together with feedback upon feedback enables scalable
assessment of complex critical thinking assignments. We
investigate the effect of such processes as we analyse assessment
data collected from a pilot project in a single online course with
just 150 students that made full use of our system, providing over
3.5 million essential data points. A pre- and post- survey also
provided additional quantitative and qualitative data as we close
the paper with a series of conclusions and recommendations.
Keywords—critical thinking; creative thinking; reflexive
pedagogy; e-learning; affordances.
A combination of three phenomena: Political, Commercial
and Scientific, has led to a greater demand for higher education
courses, programmes and certification. Effective globalization
and an overall increase in Internet and Web access has
facilitated and supported the proliferation of e-learning courses.
The collapse of political barriers and the attractiveness of a free
market economy is the first aspect of the motivating triad that
paved the way for e-learning to gain popularity and become an
education portal at international level. A second motivation is
the commercialization of universities and escalation of other
private higher institutions [1]. Finally, the widespread
pervasiveness of technology in all sectors of society, least of all
education, paved the way for higher education to become easily
and conveniently available to a wider audience [2]. As a result
of these phenomena, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
emerged, and universities showed interest as they provided a
greater exposure, an opportunity to generate revenue, and
potentially cut down costs on faculty expenses [3]. MOOCs
became a trend in higher education and by 2012 they reached
an all-time maximum [4] providing tuition from a plethora of
topics while employing the online network to connect learners
across the globe in a way that is not possible to achieve within
a physical learning space. However, a number of issues diluted
the overall success of MOOCs as student numbers dwindled
and retention rates were as low as 4% [5]. Amongst the
numerous criticisms of MOOCs, assessment and feedback
stood out, as hundreds of learners enrolled in a typical MOOC.
It is highly unrealistic and physically impossible to cater for
large number of learners providing the required feedback to
every individual piece of work submitted by each student. Such
concerns exacerbate themselves even further as one considers
the feedback and evaluation required to matters concerning
critical thinking skills and creative competences. The platform
presented in this paper, called Common Ground Scholar
(CGScholar), embodies a reflexive pedagogy based on
Bloom’s theoretical suggestions [6], that a high majority of
learners can master a topic through differentiated instruction
and various formative assessment methods. The platform is
purposely logistically unrestrictive and academically
permissive to allow the individual learners to achieve the
mastery required in their own time and in their own personal
scholarship way. We argue that our philosophical reasoning of
employing a reflexive pedagogy through a set of new learning
affordances [7] is made possible by the advent of Web 2.0
technologies and the escalation of digital media.
The rest of the paper will be organised as follows. In the
next section we will position our e-learning platform amongst
the numerous others within an evolving online environment.
This is followed by a thorough depiction of every element
within the CGScholar in an attempt to justify our
epistemological stance through the different implementation
decisions deployed, and the various capabilities that mirror a
reflexive pedagogy. Section IV is all about data collected
through the platform while real online courses were and are
still being held. In this section we demonstrate the extent and
enormity of the task at hand as we analyse and interpret
millions of data-points that CGScholar generates automatically
through the interaction of the numerous learners and tutors,
expert reviewers, as well as, teaching assistants. Amongst other
issues we go through a comprehensive analytics functionality
tool that enables all the players involved to visualise in a single
interactive chart all the progress achieved by the individual
learners and the class as a whole. Finally, the paper comes to a
closure with an overall summarisation of the different
conclusions inferred, together with beneficial recommendation
to future online learning environments.
978-1-5386-4623-6/18/$31.00 ©2018 IEEE
Learning enables one to incorporate new information into
existing knowledge and participate successfully in the
environments that are significant to them. E-learning is a form
of learning that is facilitated by the massive penetration of
Internet as a form of communication. E-learning can be
defined as the ubiquitous transfer of information to as many
people as needed with the means of Internet and web
technologies. Garrison [8] defined e-learning as “the
utilization of electronically mediated asynchronous and
synchronous communication for the purpose of thinking and
learning collaboratively.” (p. 2) A critical advantage to e-
learning is the ubiquitous nature that allows for schedule
flexibility and opportunity to learn any time as long as Internet
access is available. Some other advantages compared to face-
to-face learning are cost effectiveness, actuality, use of
multimedia, interactive opportunities, and automated
evaluation [9,10,11]. On the contrary, an important
disadvantage is that students are required to use the
technology efficiently and inability to do so will hamper
learning and increase frustration. Among other disadvantages
are security vulnerabilities in e-exams, increasing anti-
sociality in users, and the limitation of using learning
management systems (LMS) without adequate technical skills
(Zhang et al., 2004).
The major components of an e-learning system are the
course content and learning management systems (LMS).
LMS is a platform that manages courses, course content and
resources, students, instructors and the reporting mechanism.
Since the 1990s, instructors have used technology to meet
their pedagogical goals. The flow of technological innovations
can be overwhelming and require careful consideration to
identify the most useful and effective ones. One such
technology in education is LMS and currently they are created
both from proprietary software manufacturers and open source
projects. Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, Edmodo and Google
Classroom are all examples of LMS. A LMS is a software
application designed to assist instructors in meeting their
pedagogical goals to deliver learning content to students [12].
This platform not only provides a space to deliver content, but
also allows instructors to share course content, make class
announcements, submit assignments and communicate with
other students [13]. Research shows that using Blackboard,
positively affects mathematical problem-solving skills [14]
and is preferred for student participation in discussions and
submitting assignments [15]. However, some drawbacks of
this platform are difficulty in using the software, inefficiency
in bandwidth usage when having to download every time to
access, and cost of the software itself [16]. Moodle, another
popular LMS, was designed to emphasize collaboration,
inquiry and discovery-based learning [17]. Blackboard,
Moodle and many other LMS practice didactic pedagogy
where all required contents and assignments are provided.
Although there are discussion boards for interaction, it does
not create opportunity for critical thinking and learning.
Critical thinking has been a desired skill for students in order
not only to perform better in their courses in an educational
setting, but also to perform in a more effective way in their
workplace later and to be active citizens of the complex
society that we live in [18]. Thus, the development and use of
such a skill has been one of the goals of traditional education
for years [18]. According to the American Philosophical
Association [19] critical thinking is defined as “purposeful,
self-regulatory judgment that uses cognitive tools such as
interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, and explanation
of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological,
or contextual considerations on which judgment is based.”
Thus, the use of critical thinking in educational settings could
be translated as a higher quality understanding of theories,
evidence and significant issues [20] through scientific work
and applications of various subjects in real world contexts.
However, the use of technology and e-learning has
transformed the way that critical thinking is cultivated and
used in education [18]. It is more challenging to develop
critical thinking using the current technology, because it does
not support easily higher-level learning and creative teaching
strategies, such as active learning, team-based learning, and
discussion [18]. In addition, the present generation of
technological learning and assessment systems prevent the
instruction of critical thinking in an effective way due to the
lack of support in formative assessment of complex
assignments. The current support for assessment in e-learning
is mainly summative and primarily limited to multiple choice
questions and short answers [21,22,23,24] and simple essay
scoring [25,26,25]. Therefore, it is burdensome for the current
generation of e-learning to provide complex and practical
assignments that are required for the instruction of complex
concepts and skills, like critical thinking. Nevertheless, a way
that this kind of skills could be targeted in an e-learning
setting is through the application of interactive elements
(activities and resources) in the learning process [18], such as
calibrated peer review [25,26,25,27,28] and formative
assessment, the important element of which is that happens
directly during the learning process [29,30,31]. These
instructional techniques allow students to modify and adjust
their works and knowledge to the appropriate real-world
context. This is what will prepare them for the society that
awaits, and it will make them the active citizens and
professionals that we aim to.
Every part of our e-learning platform CGScholar will be
presented, examined and analysed in detail based on the
learning theories they are grounded on. We will revisit
Bloom’s learning for mastery suggestions [6], and our own
theoretical rendition [32] as we argue in favour of a reflexive
pedagogy in contrast to a restrictive and conservative didactic
one. A number of subsections will follow in this section to
clearly distinguish between the different essential parts of the
online platform in an attempt to assist the reader visualise how
we transform our philosophical reasoning into a practical and
functional portal that has been extensively employed by
students and trainers numerous times.
A. Design
The design of the paradigm within the CGScholar online
learning platform is based on Bloom’s mastery learning
method and reflexive pedagogy. Benjamin Bloom’s mastery
learning method [6] highlights feedback and corrective
procedure. Instead of using assessments as evaluation devices
that marks the end of a learning unit, Bloom recommend using
them as learning tools, which are deemed as part of the
instructional process to diagnose individual difficulties
confronted in the learning process, i.e. feedback and give
suggestions on remediation procedures, i.e. corrective. Bloom’s
mastery learning helps learners identify what they have learned
well and what they need to learn better. Reflexive pedagogy
pushes Bloom’s mastery learning further by not only
accentuates feedback and correctives, but also creates a
dialogue in which students move between different knowledge
processes, a to-and-fro dialogue among learners and teachers,
peers, parents, experts and critical friends [7]. The design of
CGScholar platform aims to represent the main characteristics
of learning activities in a reflexive pedagogy. The
characteristics are listed as follows [7]:
a. Position the learner as the knowledge creator.
Learners are the agent in the knowledge-making process.
Reflexive pedagogy focuses more on linking personal and local
experience to more general bodies of human knowledge.
b. Encourage the learner to undertake activities that are
meaningful and realistically complex.
Under reflexive pedagogy, tasks for learners are highly
related to real life because most effectively acquisition of deep,
disciplinary knowledge are realized when situated in the
context of socially realistic tasks.
c. Challenge the learner to develop increasingly
sophisticated and deeply perceptive conceptual schemas.
Contrary to traditional pattern of understanding, knowledge
making and knowledge communication, Reflexive pedagogy
engages learners as co-constructor of concepts by building
increasingly powerful intellectual schemas for the benefit of
intellectual development.
d. Prompt learners to make their thinking or knowledge
processes explicit.
Metacognition, or thinking about the thinking, and meta
knowledge is the capacity to reflect upon and articulate the
process of one’s knowing, which makes thinking more efficient
and effective.
e. Deploy a variety of knowledge media, representing
knowledge in many ways.
Reflexive pedagogy uses synaesthesia, or mode of shifting
as a pedagogical device which enable the application of multi-
literacies theory [33], i.e. the learner activities should involve a
wide variety of representational modes: written, oral, visual,
audio, tactile, gestural and spatial.
f. Encourage dialogue and group collaboration.
Peers and the broader community in the construction of
knowledge generate powerful learning by benefiting from
various sources of expertise.
g. Offer a broad range of task options to cater for the
diversity of learners.
Reflexive pedagogy caters tremendously for variations and
diversities in the knowledge created and the way in which it
created, from one learner to the next. In collaborative work,
reflexive pedagogy builds on the complementarity of
differences, or the knowledge that is constructed by the group,
which is greater than the sum of its parts.
h. Create a learning environment that gives learners
continuous feedback on their learning.
Reflexive pedagogy attaches great significance on
formative assessment. Contrary to summative assessment,
formative assessment occurs during the learning process
instead of the end of learning process, providing direct and
specific feedback that supports student learning.
i. Offer a mix of activities that represent different
knowledge processes.
Reflexive pedagogy is a process of moving forward and
backward between different kinds of knowledge processing,
the different kinds of things learners can do in order to know.
Each sequence of knowledge processes needs to be designed to
cater to a group of learners, and area of subject matter and the
pedagogical orientation of the teacher or the school, instead of
a list of things learners have to do, or a set order.
The design of CGScholar online learning platform revolves
around reflexive pedagogy with different functions, students
and admins using Updates and Creator with peer review
function in the comment areas.
B. Pedagogical Principles
The pedagogical principles of “seven affordances” are
followed in the curriculum design of courses through
CGScholar online platform. Cope and Kalantzis [34]
operationalize the idea of e-learning ecologies, a term served as
a metaphor to understand the learning environment as an
ecosystem which incorporates the complex interactions among
human, textural, discursive and spatial dynamics, by
heuristically segmented them into seven “new learning”
affordances, ie. e-Learning Affordances: ubiquitous learning,
active knowledge making, multimodal meaning, recursive
feedback, collaborative intelligence, metacognition and
differentiated learning. In the CGScholar environment, the
seven affordances represent an “agenda for new learning and
assessment” that redefine the relations among knowledge and
learning, recalibrating traditional modes of pedagogies in an
effort to create learning ecologies which better suits the
educational needs and goals of our time.
C. Main Features
CGScholar online platform is built in an attempt to reframe
the relations of knowledge and learning and the functions
within the system and accelerate the development of critical
thinking for learners. Critical thinking as defined by Elder is
“self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason
at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way” [35]. The
learning process in CGScholar system starts from the
perspective of individual learnertheir voice, interests and
localized relevance. One of the founding principle of seven
affordances, active knowledge production, upholds that
learners are the knowledge designers instead of the ones that
reproduce knowledge. Moreover, according to another
affordance, recursive feedback, formative assessment is
accentuated in the CGScholar platform, offering four on-the-fly
assessment mechanisms: review, annotations, checker and
survey. Learning interactions as well as learning artifacts are
being assessed. CGScholar also build recursive feedback
feedback whose value is weighted by feedback on feedback,
and ratings that are moderated by inter-rater reliability
calculations. The affordance of metacognitive reflection is
realized in CGScholar environment. One way is in the
explicitness of a semantically framed knowledge-
representation space, where learners learn about information
architectures in an analytical way in the organizational logic
of the structure tool, or the tagging tool, and the markup
requirements of ‘emphasis’ or ‘block quote’. Another way is
the requirement to self- and peer-assess against explicit criteria
that are presented before the work even begins, a meta-
reflective process which is now shared with the teacher.
Students and teachers necessarily engage in dialogue about the
fundamental nature of the task, as well as the specifics of task
performance [34].
CGScholar provides tools for fully multimodal knowledge
representation. Learning is deepened as students shift from one
mode to another, making their meanings one way then another
complementary way [34]. Learners in CGScholar environment
employ Updates and Creator to complete weekly and term
assignments. Within every community, Updates, partly
functions as a blog, can include embedded video, audio, data
and external links, e.g. for admins to share courses contents, or
notify a deadline or agenda, and for learners to present their
topics, and provides comment areas below to facilitate peer-
and-admin discussion. Creator, usually for term papers, is a
semantic editor and multimodal working space, which
transcends beyond the handwriting book or the word processor.
Digital objects, including image, audio, video, text, math, live
links, dataset and embedded external media, from Youtube
videos to GitHub code, all of which can be inserted within the
body of the text. With the completion of a course, learners
could review on their performance via visualized learning
analytics with three main measures of knowledge: Know! i.e.
the quality of the knowledge work; Focus! i.e. the effort
contributed, and Help! i.e. community contributions.
CGScholar provides a new generation of analytics that could
replace traditional tests with embedded formative assessments.
The paradigm of the overall design of CGScholar serves as an
agent that helps the development of learners’ critical thinking
with a focus of learner-oriented perspective and learning
This section discusses data collection and the analysis that
we performed in an attempt to evaluate the overall performance
of our platform in relation to the use of feedback as a form of
critical thinking, along with the educational inferences that
such an analysis might render. Amongst other analyses we
study and endeavor to answer the following question. How
does the learners’ performance change as a result of employing
critical thinking strategies based on the use of recursive
feedback through the CGScholar platform in the duration of the
Before presenting the findings, it is important to understand
and appreciate why employing critical thinking skills via the
form of recursive feedback of peers and experts helps to
improve the students’ final results. A number of studies have
shown that students value feedback from their peers [36] as
they recognized the significance and usefulness of such
information [37]. The power of tutor feedback [38] is
considered to be a strategic pedagogical technique within
higher education as academics, more than students, believe it to
be a main factor of encouraging critical thinking and thus lead
to academic success [39]. Even though studies [40] have shown
that students expect such crucial feedback in order to improve
their work, a number of educational researchers have reported
issues with feedback given by academics at a number of higher
education institutions around the world amongst which are
Surridge [41], Krause, et. al., [42], and Sadler [43].
Predominant concerns include criticisms regarding the nature
and timing of feedback given by educators [44], the
terminology employed [45], as well as the feedback that is not
fit for purpose as it fails to specify improvements [46], making
is hard to actually adopt any advice given [47].
For this reason, the need to further research and investigate
the effect of feedback on the final student outcome is critical
and essential, especially as higher education institutions and
academics are not so sure about such issues [48], which creates
even more friction between students and educators [49]. Moss
& Brookhart [50] claim that feedback, as part of a formative
assessment pedagogy, needs to feed forward to be effective. If
students feel and consider that the feedback given to them by
the experts is not contributing, or is not clear how it feeds
forward, then it is rejected and ignored. William [51] also
agrees about the critical role of experts’ feedback as a crucial
component of formative assessment and concludes that this
only holds when the student is convinced and cognizant that
the feedback received will improve the performance. Sadler
[43] states that for students to truly appreciate, accept and
fruitfully employ feedback in order to enhance and enrich their
work they need to fully understand and conceptually appreciate
three things. What exactly is the feedback given asking them to
do? Feedback provided by an expert impinges directly upon the
subject matter and student are aware that such help can assist in
raising the quality of their work and a better final assessment.
Secondly, is the feedback specifically suggesting on how to
perform a quality leap? Students need to be instructed and
possibly shown of how to excel, and where their work is
lacking. In the absence of such realization the final outcome
will not be superior to the previous work. Finally, are the
students fully aware of which criteria have been employed
when the feedback was given? Experts will need to ensure that
each piece of advice and each recommendation are provided
against the established performance indicator that was initially
set for the piece of work. With the conceptual knowledge of
these three areas students will be in a position to utilize and
take full advantage of the experts’ feedback and will positively
manifest itself in the final outcome.
Figure 2 - Comparison between initial and final expert
Data Collection:
The case study here is based on student interactions using
the CGScholar platform environment in one graduate Summer
course, which has 157 graduate students, offered in 2017 at the
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Over the eight-week
course, the CGScholar platform enabled collection of highly
granular machine and peer feedback in two peer, self and
expert reviewed projects, textual annotations, NLP academic
language analysis, and structured online discussions. The
review data of Figure 2 was collected as part of one writing
assignment where peers reviewed submitted work versions
prior to further revisions. Reviews were guided by a detailed
rubric with five criterions related to the assignment. For each
criterion reviewers provided written feedback and a rating from
0 to 4. Three expert reviews were also created for the peer
reviewed work versions and the final work versions. Figure 2
shows the relationship between expert review ratings of the
peer reviewed and final versions.
The results of our study comprise two sets of review results
submitted by experts at the beginning and at the end of the
project, giving us the possibility to analytically investigate any
resulting changes. Such changes could have potentially
occurred due to a number of factors, apart from the obvious
initial feedback given by the experts themselves, amongst
which are peer reviews discussed earlier, feedback on
feedback, and further reading while also attending class
sessions. The data collected was analysed and a visual of one
of the performance indicators can be seen in Figure 2. The final
assessments can clearly be seen to follow the initial ones, and
once more with an average percentage increase of
approximately 30% on average. What is also evident from this
chart is the wider range of distribution of the initial scores,
compared to a more compact and cohesive set of values
ranging within the final scores. This aligns with the “mastery”
notion of Bloom’s, with a wider range of course participants
achieving mastery objectives than would be the case if their
papers had simply been submitted, without opportunity for
engaging students in critical thinking activities of peer review
and revision.
In this paper we have presented a series of big data learning
analytics that resulted from a number of authentic online
courses in our e-learning platform, strongly grounded within a
reflexive pedagogy. The education methodologies employed
focus on how to better assess complex reasoning skills such as
critical and creative thinking, through peer, expert and self-
reviews. Additionally, pre- and post- surveys also provided
quantitative and qualitative data to supplement our conclusions
following the interpretation of the results. We strongly believe
that the functionality provided through such a platform, based
on Bloom’s learning for mastery theory, together with our new
learning affordances model, learners are in a better position to
achieve their academic goals through their own pace and in
tune with their personal learning needs.
The authors would like to thank all the students and expert
reviewers who participated in this intervention, as well as the
members of the wider research team who wrote and provided
helpful comments on previous versions of this. Additionally,
this works has been supported by research grants from the US
Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences:
“The Assess-as-You-Go Writing Assistant” (R305A090394);
“Assessing Complex Performance” (R305B110008); “u- An Anywhere/Anytime Formative Assessment and
Learning Feedback Environment” (ED-IES-10-C-0018); “The
Learning Element” (ED-IES-lO-C-0021); and “InfoWriter: A
Student Feedback and Formative Assessment Environment”
(ED-IES-13-C-0039). Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:
“Scholar Literacy Courseware.” National Science Foundation:
“Assessing 'Complex Epistemic Performance' in Online
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... Furthermore, critical thinking is one of the characteristics or skills of 21 st -century learning that needs to be developed based on the results of research from 250 researchers from 60 world institutions who are members of ATC21S (Assessment & Teaching of 21 st -Century Skills). The use of critical thinking in learning can be translated as better-quality understanding of theories, evidence, and important issues through scientific work and the application of various subjects in real-world contexts (Montebello, et al., 2018). Critical thinking is a skill that is acquired through a process, so there needs to be an effort on how to teach and invite critical thinking to students through the selection of meaningful learning models. ...
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p class="Abstrak"> Abstract: Innovation of Project-based learning (PjBL) in the 21st century continues to be developed to improve learning outcomes. The use of Trainer kits presents several challenges in achieving learning objectives, both in terms of design, planning, and implementation. The purpose of this study is to implement the Automation of Electrical Installation trainer kit in project-based learning to increase student motivation, critical thinking, and competence. The research method uses research and development (R and D) with 4 models (Define, Design, Develop, Disseminate). Data collection techniques used theory tests and performance tests (measure of maximum performance type, MMP) and questionnaires (measure of typical performance type, MTP). The research trial used 120 respondents of final-level electrical engineering students from 3 universities in Surabaya, Indonesia. The resulting test of statistical analysis Wilcoxon using SPSS-23 obtained Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed) is valuable 0.000, meaning that there is an increase in the quality of learning on critical thinking skills, motivation, and competence of Electrical Engineering students by implementing a trainer kit in project-based learning. Abstrak: Inovasi Pembelajaran Berbasis Proyek di abad 21 terus dikembangkan untuk meningkatkan hasil belajar. Penggunaan Trainer kit menghadirkan beberapa tantangan dalam mencapai tujuan pembelajaran, baik dari segi desain, perencanaan, maupun implementasi. Tujuan dari penelitian ini adalah untuk mengimplementasikan trainer kit Otomasi Instalasi Listrik dalam pembelajaran berbasis proyek untuk meningkatkan motivasi, berpikir kritis, dan kompetensi siswa. Metode penelitian menggunakan research and development (R and D) dengan 4 model ( Define, Design, Develop, Disseminate ). Teknik pengumpulan data menggunakan tes teori dan tes kinerja (ukuran tipe kinerja maksimum, MMP) dan kuesioner (ukuran tipe kinerja tipikal, MTP). Uji coba penelitian ini menggunakan 120 responden mahasiswa teknik elektro tingkat akhir dari tiga universitas di Surabaya, Indonesia. Hasil uji analisis statistik Wilcoxon menggunakan SPSS-23 diperoleh Asymp. Tanda tangan (2-tailed) bernilai 0,000, artinya terdapat peningkatan kualitas pembelajaran keterampilan berpikir kritis, motivasi, dan kompetensi mahasiswa Teknik Elektro dengan menerapkan trainer kit dalam pembelajaran berbasis proyek.
... The learning ontology supports analysis of 22 data types, and 40 defined criteria for evaluating learning. The value of the ontology is not simply for the purposes of measuring of learning; it makes learning measures explicit to learners, prompting them to think in self-regulating and metacognitive or disciplinary terms at all points during their learning (Montebello, Pinheiro, et al., 2018;Montebello et al., 2018b;Pinheiro, 2018). ...
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Over the past ten years, we have worked in a collaboration between educators and computer scientists at the University of Illinois to image futures for education in the context of what is loosely called “artificial intelligence.” Unhappy with the first generation of digital learning environments, our agenda has been to design alternatives and research their implementation. Our starting point has been to ask, what is the nature of machine intelligence, and what are its limits and potentials in education? This paper offers some tentative answers, first conceptually, and then practically in an overview of the results of a number of experimental implementations documented in greater detail elsewhere. Our key finding is that artificial intelligence—in the context of the practices of electronic computing developing over the past three quarters of a century—will never in any sense “take over” the role of teacher, because how it works and what it does are so profoundly different from human intelligence. However, within the limits that we describe in this paper, it offers the potential to transform education in ways that—counterintuitively perhaps—make education more human, not less.
User experiences in learning management systems often correlate to the pedagogy used by the instructor. In this chapter, the user experience in common ground scholar (CGScholar) will be reviewed, aligned with the dominant pedagogy of the new learning theory developed by Cope and Kalantzis, and explained from three perspectives: the learner, the course designer, and the instructor. Relevant connections between the interface and the pedagogy the interface affords will be highlighted, such as community learning, self-pacing informed by analytics, creation of artifacts within a complete network and review system, and the development of course modules that can be reused, shared, and repurposed by instructors. Additionally, the impact of the available rubrics, analytics, mapping tool, and peer review configurations will be explained and demonstrated.
Technology is pedagogically neutral—it may change everything, or it may change nothing–it is the pedagogy that makes the difference. The challenge then for new technologies is to disrupt traditional paradigms of teaching, and to promote an entirely different kind of pedagogy. In development since 2009, CGScholar, a cloud-based writing and assessment ecosystem responds to this challenge. This article discusses the theoretical basis of CGScholar, reflexive pedagogy, which is embedded into the design of the environment around seven key principles of learning and assessment: ubiquitous learning; active knowledge making; multimodal meaning; recursive feedback; collaborative intelligence; metacognition; and differentiated learning. Also articulated are the components of the learning ecosystem and the ways that the various applications of CGScholar bring these principles to life. Empirical studies conducted on CGScholar are reported and future developments are described.
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These are times of unprecedented change in education. Digitally-mediated online education looms large as one of the most significant harbingers change. Potentially, for better or for worse, no classroom and no formal or informal learning process will be left unchanged. Immediately, this statement demands complication. On the one hand, online education is a classical technological disruption of traditional practices of teaching and learning. Yet on the other hand, some of the technological changes represent in pedagogical terms, little or no change at all. In fact, worse than that, we will argue some forms of online learning can serve to ossify anachronistic practices, to a point at times where they almost become back-to-the future parodies of their past selves. On the disruptive side of change, business theorists Joseph Bower and Clayton Christensen speak to technology in general when they analyze "disruptive innovation" (Bower and Christensen 1995). This is a variation on an older theme of technological and social change where Joseph Schumpeter famously called capitalism a system of "creative destruction" (Schumpeter 1950 [1976]: 81). Applying their analysis to education, Christensen and colleagues predict enormous change in which some old education institutions and teaching practices die while others thrive (Christensen, Horn and Johnson 2008). In pedagogical terms, implementing technology need not produce reform. We can video our lectures, but the didactic form of the lecture does not change. We can move from print to e-textbooks, but the genre of the textbook as a medium of content transmission remains the same. We can deliver courses in learning management systems, but the lock-step logic of the traditional syllabus stays the same. We can deploy online tests, but the process of assessment to discriminating the few who succeed from the many who are destined to be mediocre or to fail, remains unchanged. The paradox here is that the transition to new technology-the technological infrastructures provided to teachers and learners by the decision makers in our schools and colleges-may at times force us to replicate didactic patterns of teaching and learning. In this case, technology stifles the possibility of pedagogical innovation, even when innovation is needed and perhaps within reach. Technology does not in itself determine the shape of change. We can put it to different kinds of use; it only has "affordances," or a range of possible applications. Psychologist James Gibson coined this word, capturing the idea that meaning is shaped by the materiality of the media we have at our disposal. His work is at an elemental, creaturely level: "The affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill" (Gibson 1979 [2015]: 119).
The closing chapter of this book brings the narrative of the Ambient Intelligent Classroom to an end, but marks the beginning of further work on the development and authentication of a formal and permanent setup. The inception, research and proposal of the AmI classroom unravelled numerous notions that brought together interesting and unseemingly incompatible concepts that fell into place and brought this new idea of the next generation classroom to a realisation.
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The chapter aims to safeguard the long term sustainability of feedback to university students on their progress and performance. This entails ensuring that feedback is a pedagogical resource prized by students and teachers firstly, for its contribution in achieving curriculum aims and learning outcomes; and secondly in equipping students to learn prospectively, in three lives and careers beyond graduation. Three strategies are discussed: a greater focus on high-value feedback; a greater role for students in feedback transactions; and enhancing the congruence of guidance and feedback.
Cambridge Core - Education, History, Theory - Literacies - by Mary Kalantzis
The third edition of E-Learning in the 21st Century provides a coherent, comprehensive, and empirically-based framework for understanding e-learning in higher education. Garrison draws on his decades of experience and extensive research in the field to explore technological, pedagogical, and organizational implications. The third edition has been fully updated throughout and includes new material on learning technologies, MOOCs, blended learning, leadership, and the importance and role of social connections in thinking and learning, highlighting the transformative and disruptive impact that e-learning has recently had on education.
The results for geography in the National Student Survey have been overwhelming. First, it was found that higher education (HE) students in the UK are pleased with the quality of their courses and second, geography is performing above average. These are in addition to a high level of consistency in geography's performance across the various institutions where it is offered.
MOOCs have become a new trend in education, taking the world by storm in 2012. Is this just a fad or is it because of their nature in opening education to the masses? In this chapter, the authors explore how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) use networks that connect people across the globe to foster education that cannot be replicated in any walled classroom. They illustrate case studies, emphasizing best practice strategies employed as well as lessons learned, in an attempt to understand what makes these courses the new cry in higher education. The authors ask whether the local, European, and international markets are ready to accept these massive, open learning environments and how the transfer and transformation of information occurs during exploits of massive collective intelligence. They address learning that is manifested inside social networks and this can be augmented through the sharing of knowledge within the global community. In this digital economy, the authors look at capturing and harvesting "open knowledge" using means that are accessible to all. Is academia ready for all of this? The authors propose an outline of a journey from the birth of MOOCs to their indicative future directions. The scope of this chapter is that of discussing the role of social networks and social applications in these massive courses, as the authors describe why they think this lies at the root of the courses' success.