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Embedding Critical Thinking in the Curriculum: Research-Oriented Learning Strategies that Foster Engagement, Critical Thinking, and Deep Learning

Embedding Critical Thinking in the Curriculum: Research-Oriented Learning Strategies that Foster Engagement, Critical Thinking, and Deep Learning

(Click on the following icon to get the poster).

Embedding Critical Thinking in the Curriculum poster.pdf

This poster was presented in the context of the conference 'Design for Learning: Fostering Deep Learning, Engagement, and Critical Thinking'.

From the learning design perspective, this poster summarizes and illustrates the discussion of critical thinking as a ‘way of teaching the curriculum’ (Case, 2005) that immerses students in a supportive and reflective learning environment and fosters engagement, critical thinking and deep learning. Such learning environment involves a set of research-oriented learning strategies with a critical-thinking approach that have been embedded in undergrad social sciences, self-paced online courses, which encourage students to advance their critical thinking skills needed to develop a deep understanding of the subject matter. These open-ended assignments include but are not limited to the formulation of hypothesis, search strategy plans, the identification and definition of key technical concepts, the critical evaluation of sources, annotated bibliographies and research papers, all of them in association with tutor’s guidance, feedback and formative assessment. Embedded sequentially in courses, they are meant to build upon one another and engage students in their own thinking and reflection; foster a deep understanding of the subject; enhance students’ critical reading and writing skills; develop increasingly disciplinary skills and ultimately encourage students to take greater ownership of their learning. There is an expectation students would transfer and use these critical thinking skills across their university courses. Examples of Athabasca University courses where such strategies have been embedded will be handed out to participants. Initial anecdotal feedback will be discussed too.


  • Cool and informative poster!

    Corinne Bosse May 15, 2015 - 12:11pm

  • Thanks, Luis. I printed it out to hang in my office!

    Mary Pringle May 15, 2015 - 1:04pm

  • Nice poster!

    I much prefer 'critical thinking in x' than 'x literacy', because it is so much more descriptive and meaningful. I wonder whether there is anything else in 'literacy' that is lost if we do that?

    Jon Dron May 15, 2015 - 7:33pm

  • I think the current broad use of the term literacy has something to do with the postmodern notion of text: not just print material, but virtually everthing we percieve is a text that can be interpreted, or read. So all the different kinds of literacy apply to all the different kinds of texts. If we are able to “read” the weather, for example, we might claim to be climate literate and so on. Personally, I like the idea of infinite literacies. I like the idea of being able to read the universe. BTW, Jon, at the conference where Luis presented this poster, "What is critical thinking, really?" was a recurring question!

    Mary Pringle May 16, 2015 - 6:33am

  • Nice Poster!

    the only thing I would like to change term 'literacy' to 'knowledge' (sorry for my critical thinking :-)

    Elena Robinson May 16, 2015 - 1:57pm

  • Thanks for your comments Corinne, Mary, Jon and Elena.

    Good idea Mary. I hanged the poster here too (at the ELC) Wink


    Luis Guadarrama May 22, 2015 - 12:44pm

  • Thanks Jon for your comment. You got a good point.

    I agree 'Critical thinking in x' would make the meaning of the title even more descriptive and meaningful. However, in the context of the conference (Design for Learning: Fostering deeper learning, critical thinking and engagement), I think the title of the poster was more suitable and gave me more opportunities to get my point across in an already complex discussion.

    Anyway, I think Mary is right too. If we understand Literacy as the ‘Competence or knowledge in a specified area’ (Oxford Dicrtionary) and agree with the idea of ‘infinite literacies’, ‘x literacy’ would be equally worthwhile

    All in all, from the Bricolage perspective, I think you are totally right!

    Luis Guadarrama May 22, 2015 - 1:44pm

  • Hi Elena:

    Thanks for your critical comment. Yeah, if we think critically, literacy is pretty much associated to knowledge, indeed.

    Luis Guadarrama May 22, 2015 - 1:50pm

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