Blog Post 2:
In this, the second Bog post for Lesson one I’ve been asked to give my thoughts on the following questions, based on the thoughts discussed in the article “Critical Thinking, Cognitive Presence, and Computer Conferencing in Distance Education” by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer. In my post I refer to some of the ideas presented by Ron Evans, a previous poster.
What do you know now that you did not know prior to starting the course?
Thus far, as with Ron Evans, I’m learning about the extent of the formalized research into higher order learning and the vocabulary of the study. Having a science background the learning processes described aren’t new to me and are similar to the processes making up the scientific method.
What gaps or discrepancies do you notice between what your Wordle showed in Post 1 and what you have learned so far in Lesson 1?
In my first Post I did mention that online courses needed to involve students developing their critical thinking skills. However this is only a one aspect of developing good online programming, not necessarily required in every course (especially lower level courses) and for each assignment of a course. Other characteristics of high quality online learning environments that I mentioned in the first post were their accessibility, giving everyone the opportunity to take part. Within such environments it is important that the sites are engaging and induce students think learn independently.
What questions would you like to explore on the topic of cognitive presence?
A question that begs asking, is why did so few students in the study reported by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer reach the resolution stage of the critical thinking process? Was there a flaw in the course design? If so, are there attributes of good designs that should be incorporated into all assignments wishing to develop the critical thinking skills of students.
Provide an example of how you have seen effective cognitive presence modeled in online learning.
The best example I’ve seen of effective development of optimizing a student’s cognitive presence is within Directed Studies courses, such as BIOL 4481. In these courses the student applies to enroll in course by providing a question (derived from a triggering event) that they wish to study. The student providing the research question extends the critical thinking process beyond that in other courses where the triggering event is typically given in the course content. This point was missed by Ron Evans in his post. During the course the student goes through the exploration and integration phases of the critical thinking process and submits their work, the resolution phase. The process is aided by interactions with the OLFM supervisor, and possibly other relevant specialists, literary content, and personal contacts.