Two methods for assessing critical thinking in computer-mediated communications (CMC) transcripts.
Fahy, Patrick J.
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Abstract: Critical thinking, though critical in education, is especially difficult to detect in online learning and teaching based on computer-mediated communication (CMC). As a latent construct, critical thinking must be inferred, by analysis of the “traces” of higher-level cognitive activity found in transcripts. Two models for describing and analyzing critical thinking, the practical inquiry (PI) model (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001), and the Transcript Analysis Tool (TAT) (Fahy, Crawford, & Ally, 2001), are presented. The models reveal different aspects of the online interaction: the PI model suggests the proportions found in transcripts of its four phases of the critical thinking process, while the TAT adds detail, from the sentence level, about the communications strategies and patterns within postings. Principal findings, and suggestions for further research, focus on triggers and postings classified as other in the PI model.