Course Designs for Critical Thinking in Online Courses in Political Theory: A Comparative Analysis

05 February 2020, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


This paper uses regression analysis to test design features and assignment types on 411 essays scored with the Washington State Critical Thinking rubric over the period of 11 semesters (2013-2019). Quizzes, exams, and specially designed critical thinking exercises (CTEs) are not found to boost critical thinking for online students. Participation in discussions (mainly through post reading), reading, and essay writing are all found to have a positive impact on subsequently measured CT, while the overall number of assignments in a semester tends to operate in the opposite direction. Comparatively, asynchronous discussion is not clearly superior to essay writing when it comes to promoting CT. However, the greatest payoff in online political theory courses might be to find ways to get students to read more (discussion posts and posted materials).


critical thinking
The Virtual Classroom


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.