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What does critical thinking mean to you in the courses you teach?

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Presentation on theme: "What does critical thinking mean to you in the courses you teach?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What does critical thinking mean to you in the courses you teach?

2 Knowledge Skills Ability Confidence Achievement Thinking Critical To Develop Course Redesign of Wayne LaMorte School of Public Health

3 The Problem “Everyone thinks. It is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. Yet, the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.” From

4 What is critical thinking?

5 [Creation] Evaluation Synthesis Analysis Application Comprehension Knowledge Bloom’s Hierarchy of Intellectual Behaviors in the Cognitive Domain

6 A Taxonomy of Significant Learning

7 A Critical Thinker: Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards Thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems From

8 Relevant Questions for Critical Thinkers: What is the most fundamental issue here? From what point of view should I approach this problem? Does it make sense for me to assume this? From these data may I infer this? What is implied in this graph? What is the fundamental concept here? Is this consistent with that? What makes this question complex? How could I check the accuracy of these data? If this is so, what else is implied? Is this a credible source of information? Are there alternative ways of thinking about this? Adapted from Thinking outside the box. Lateral thinking.

9 For My Students: Foundational Skills & a Structured Approach to Problem Solving Evaluate information in a structured way in order to identify valid causal associations. Evaluate efficacy (programs, treatments, interventions). Make accurate predictions, e.g., who is at high risk? Weigh risks and benefits. Cultivate a habit of thinking & reading critically. Distinguish validity from fallacy. Make evidence-based decisions.

10 Critical Thinking Skills Question Define Conceptualize Examine Analyze Infer Synthesize Don’t just accept; be inquisitive. Formulate testable questions. Develop clear definitions of outcomes & possible determinants (causes). What are the options for testing the hypothesis? Feasibility? Advantages? Limitations? Collect accurate data. Organize it to facilitate thinking and comparisons. Test the hypothesis. How strong is the association? How precise is it? Evaluate the role of random error, bias, & confounding. Can one infer that findings in the study group apply to the source population? Critically review the body of evidence. Are the criteria for making a judgment of causality met?

11 How do we promote critical thinking?

12 Definition of a Lecture: A talk on some subject to an audience or class. Also: A long or tiresome scolding. “ I recall once saying that when I had given the same lecture several times I couldn't help feeling that they really ought to know it by now.” — J. E. Littlewood ( ) Bakst Auditorium, 2007 Laurentius de Voltolina, late 1300s


14 WkPre-ClassClass (Lectures)Post-Class 1 ReadingSyllabus, History, & Descriptive Studies 2 ReadingOverview of Analytic StudiesPS 1 – Study Designs 3 ReadingDis. Freq.PS 2 – Dis. Freq. 4 ReadingAssociationPS 3 - Association 5 ReadingRandom ErrorPS 4 – Random Error 6 ReadingClinical TrialsTAKE-HOME EXAM 7 ReadingCohort StudiesPS 5 – Cohort 8 ReadingCase-Control StudiesPS 6 – Case-Control 9 REVIEWMIDTERM (in-class) 10 ReadingBiasPS 7 - Bias 11 ReadingStandardization & Adjusted RatesPS 8 – Adjusted Rates 12 ReadingConfounding & Effect ModificationPS 9 - Confounding 13 ReadingScreeningPS 10 - Screening 14 ReadingCausal InferenceREVIEW 15 REVIEWFINAL EXAM (in-class) 10 problem sets;

15 Lecture Homework (Active Learning) Assigned Reading Exam Assigned Reading

16 Certainly we need: Engagement Active Learning Progressive Challenges Feedback Fewer bulleted slides (…oops)

17 Kolb's Experiential Learning Model Concrete Experience Abstract Conceptualization Active Experimentation Reflective Observation …which can be 'actively tested,' in turn creating new experiences. ‘Concrete experiences' provide a basis for 'observations and reflections'. These 'observations and reflections' are assimilated… … and distilled into 'abstract concepts' producing new implications for action…

18 Concrete Experience Abstract Conceptualization Active Experimentation Reflective Observation Passive Direct experience Recall experience Class exper. (lab) Lecture e.g. Lecture Critique Paper Model building Rhetorical ? Discussion Brainstorm Journal Field work, lab Homework, project Case Studies Lecture e.g.

19 Progressive Refinements to the Course Examples were updated, emphasizing current problems in public health. Lectures broken up with: Problem sets Clicker questions Discussion Homework was automated to provide immediate detailed feedback on problems. Analysis and interpretation of raw data was added.

20 Independent Analysis of a Large Dataset

21 Video

22 Data Set With > 3,000 Subjects

23 “EpiTools”: an Excel file with a series of statistical tools An invitation to explore: what if….?

24 All 120 students successful mastered the raw data analyses. Course evaluations: 98% of students strongly agreed (78%) or agreed (20%) that “I acquired new information (facts and concepts I understand) in this course.” 93% of students strongly agreed (78%) or agreed (15%) that “I acquired new skills (things I can do) in this course.” Overall, 89% of respondents said the degree of difficulty of the course was “about right,” 6% said it was “too hard,” and 2% said it was “too easy.” Students now report that they use these skills for other courses and projects and in their part time jobs. Results

25 The Next Phase (still in progress)

26 A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning L. Dee Fink, PhD Director, Instructional Development Program University of Oklahoma Author of: Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses

27 Learning Goals Feedback & Assessment Teaching & Learning Activities Key Components of Integrated Course Design Situational Factors Active Learning Significant Learning Educative Assessment From L. Dee Fink (120 students; beginners; breakout rooms for only one class)

28 Example of a Course that is Not Integrated ‘The teacher says the learning goals are to (a) “learn all the important content” and (b) “learn how to think critically about the subject.” But, it is a straight lecture course (this is the “teaching/learning activity”), so the teaching/learning activities are NOT aligned with the learning goals. Students might be able to learn the content from the lectures, but they definitely are not getting practice and feedback in learning how to think critically.’ From L. Dee Fink


30 Surveillance; Frequency; Hypotheses; Strategies 12 out Measuring Association; Random Error 34 out RCT; Cohort; Case-Control 56 out Bias, Confounding 78 out Screening for Disease 910 out Critical Reading; Causal Inference 1112 out

31 Open Discussion of Problem Q&A Mini-Lecture Individual & Team Exercises Progressive Disclosure Exercises Reading, Videos, Skill Building, Problems, Pre-Class Quizzes (interactive web pages + progressive problems; challenging problem [post your discussion online before class]) Reading, Videos, Skill Building, Problem Sets (interactive web pages + progressive problems; challenging problem [post your discussion online before class])

32 WkPre-ClassClassPost-Class Surveillance; Frequency; Hypotheses; Strategy 1 Syllabus, History. & Descr. modules;; Flu Shot Ex.; Forum ; Pre-Quiz Flu Shot DISCUSSION Descriptive. Epi lect. – Loop back 2 Analytic module; Pre-QuizAnalytic Overview lect. - ClickersPS 1 – Study Designs 3 Surveillance & Dis. Freq. mod Pre-Quiz Dis. Freq. lect. - ClickersPS 2 – Dis. Freq. Ass’n; Random Error 4 Association mod. - Pre-QuizAssociation lect. – Clickers + EXPS 3 - Association 5 Random Error mod. - Pre-Quiz Video on EpiTools Random Error; EXPS 4 – Random Error RCT; Cohort; Case-Control 6 Res. Ethics mod. + Forum RCT module - Pre-Quiz DISCUSS; Q&A; Progressive ASA; Karachi; EX: Risk/ Benefit TAKE-HOME w/ RCT 7 Cohort Study mod. - Pre-QuizReview Cohort; Progressive Disclosure; GUEST LECT.; BWHS: PS 5 – Cohort + HDL Analysis/Interpretation 8 Case-Control mod. - Pre-QuizCase-Control Lecture; GUEST LECT. SSRI & Birth Defects PS 6 – Case-Control + Analysis/Interpretation 9 REVIEWMIDTERM (in-class) Bias; Confound 10 Bias module - Pre-QuizLecture + DISCUSSIONPS 7 - Bias 11 Adjusted Rates; Confounding / Effect Modification - Pre-Quiz Adjusted Rate lect. + EXPS 8 – Adjusted Rates 12 Confounding II; Effect Modification - Pre-Quiz Lecture + Progressive Disclosure PS 9 - Confounding Screening; 13 Screening module - Pre-QuizLecture + Guest Lecture: Mammography Controversy PS 10 - Screening Critical Read; Causation 14 Critical Reading; Causality mod. Critical Analysis: OSHA testimony BREAKOUT - ETS papers DISCUSSION; OSHA testimony; REVIEW 15 REVIEWFINAL EXAM (in-class)

33 Inference & Causality Link to Module 1

34 A Progression from Fundamentals Skills to Increasingly Complex Problem Solving

35 A prospective cohort study was used to compare lung cancer mortality in smokers and non-smokers.  Among 20,000 non smokers there were 20 deaths from lung cancer during 5 years of study.  Among 5,000 smokers there were 100 deaths from lung cancer during the 5 year study period. 1)Organize this information in a 2x2 contingency table. 2)Calculate the cumulative incidence of death (per 1,000) due to lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers. 3)Calculate the relative risk; interpret it in words. 4)Calculate the risk difference; interpret it in words. 5)Calculate the attributable proportion in the exposed subjects; interpret it in words. 6)Calculate the population attributable fraction; interpret it in words. An In-Class Exercise (Class #4)

36 Risk vs. Benefit – Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attacks Crestor to Prevent CVD Events In people with normal LDL but elevated CRP Crestor vs. Moderate Exercise to Prevent CVD Events (Class #6) (Class #7)

37 Progressive Disclosure Exercises in Class Link to Manson et al.: Cohort Study Link to Karachi Hand Washing RCT (Class #7) (Class #6)

38 One Hour Workshop Followed by Full Class Discussion (Class #14) Are policies aimed at reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand exposure) evidence-based? Or are they the result of anti-tobacco zealots? Link to Assignment

39 Link to class resources Interactive learning modules and videos of abridged lectures can be accessed by smart phone as well.

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