F. Ricci

Nova Southeastern University (UNITED STATES)
A Critical Thinking focus should be developed within every online education program for conveying information and enhancing discussions in an organized and higher level of thinking manner. As emphasized by Paul and Elder (2006), higher levels of thought have to be cultivated systematically. Teaching should include the goal of critical thinking, which is to foster the development of individual intellectual areas (Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2011). As highlighted other aspects critical thinkers are well cultivated, clear thinkers, can easily identify questions and find problems, figure out important facts and evidence that are related to the criteria with which they are working and can also find alternative solutions when the present ones do not seem to be appropriate. The most important attributes of these thinkers are that they are clear communicators and competent problem solvers (Paul & Elder, 2009).

A prime objective of any educational program of instruction, especially through distance education and online educational programs should be to provide the opportunity to use thinking skills for discussions, dialogue, and online assignments. Because most online learning classes utilize the Internet for information and research, online instructors should encourage critical thinking when utilizing this powerful tool. Browne (2000) emphasized the importance of critical thinking for student use of the Internet. Browne admonished instructors to acknowledge the heavy use of the Internet and the consequent mandate for critical thinking that leads participants toward crucial decision making in accepting, rejecting, or suspending.

Online instructors have the opportunity to provide numerous opportunities for conveying and providing critical thinking activities, exercises, scenarios, and online experiences that allow participants to identify issues, devise "what if" scenarios, and formulate arguments and hypotheses. This seminar will provide 10 identifiable methods instructors can use toward expanding and improving participants' or’ critical thinking skills. The 10 essential methods of online instruction focus on the following: Creating problem-solving discussions; Selecting visually attractive web pages; Creating scenarios and case studies where there is no correct answer; applying new information learned to personal or professional life; Creating problem-finding activities; Providing opportunities that are personally meaningful and beneficial; Adding case studies, debates, research projects, and online information media; Encouraging collaboration with opportunities for team and group activities; Developing online-centered activities based on critical thinking and relating to outside world applications; assist participants with stretching their critical thinking while maintaining realistic expectations . Allowing participants to evaluate their own critical thinking skills thorough the course online, and Providing activities to diversity and cultural differences.