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DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS - THE IMPORTANCE OF DEEP KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED BY IMPROVED STUDY METHODS Greg Foley School of Biotechnology, Dublin City.

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Presentation on theme: "DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS - THE IMPORTANCE OF DEEP KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED BY IMPROVED STUDY METHODS Greg Foley School of Biotechnology, Dublin City."— Presentation transcript:

1 DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS - THE IMPORTANCE OF DEEP KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED BY IMPROVED STUDY METHODS Greg Foley School of Biotechnology, Dublin City University Abstract Lack of deep knowledge is a major factor in the apparently poor critical thinking skills of students. Students must be encouraged to study in an analytical fashion rather than simply learning by rote. Furthermore they need practice of thinking and writing in a critical fashion and require constructive feedback on their efforts. The use of study/revision sheets in attempting to meet these objectives is described. 2. Aims and Objectives To promote better critical thinking by encouraging students to study in a more analytical way and to think while studying rather than trying to recall information. To encourage students to practice thinking and writing. 3. Method 1.Provide students with study/revision sheets in which they are posed challenging problems that cannot be answered by simple recall of lecture notes. 2.Stress that these problems will not appear verbatim in the exam. 3.Encourage students to submit model answers for comments from instructor. 4.Design examination questions that cannot be answered by simple recall of lecture notes. 1. Introduction Some of our basic assumptions: The ability to think critically is largely subject-specific and cannot be separated from knowledge. The main reason for students apparent inability to think critically and solve problems is that they lack deep knowledge as opposed to surface knowledge that is rote learned. There is little to be gained from trying to teach supposedly generic thinking skills. It is far better to encourage deep learning and perhaps some problem solving strategies that are relevant to the particular discipline. Students tendency to rote learn is driven by predictable exams that require answers to linear questions. These answers can be learned by simply recalling lecture notes in the order in which it is presented. Exam questions must be modified to explicitly require more analytical and integrated answers. Students need guidance as to how to study in a more analytical fashion and need practice in answering questions that require thought as opposed to memory. 4. Module Background The author teaches a course in membrane separations to third year biotechnology students. This course covers four key topics and is a mix of qualitative and quantitative (mathematical) material. The main focus of this work has been to improve the qualitative knowledge and understanding of the material. 5. Example Questions from Study Sheets In the box below we give some example of conventional questions and questions requiring a more critical approach. 6. Experience So Far This pilot study was initiated in October of this year so no firm conclusions can be reached yet. However, the idea of a study/revision sheet was welcomed by students. It is nonetheless clear that the modern student demands that we be very explicit about what we expect of him/her. If we expect critical thinking, we must (i) explain exactly what this means, (ii) provide students with practice at critical thinking, (iii) give them feedback and (iv) examine them in ways that require critical thinking. Contact: Define the term molecular weight cut-off as used in membrane technology. Suppose we have a protein whose molecular weight is greater than the molecular weight cut-off of our membrane. Are we guaranteed that the protein will be rejected by the membrane? Explain. Derive, stating all assumptions, an expression for the critical flux as it arises in crossflow filtration. Using a simple force balance it can be shown that there is a critical flux below which no particles bigger than a diameter, d, will deposit on the membrane. Do you think this analysis is relevant to a complex process fluid such as wastewater? Explain. Discuss the effect of particle shape on the cake structure in crossflow filtration. During experiments on the crossflow filtration of a suspension of rod-like bacteria, it is found that the flux initially increases with increasing crossflow velocity, then reaches a maximum before declining. Give an explanation for this phenomenon. Describe the effect of typical process parameters on the flux in ultrafiltration. Experimental evidence in ultrafiltration is indicative of a mass transfer controlled process. Discuss.


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