The State of Discussion and Critical Thinking
by Leonard Shedletsky, PhD
Explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of discussions and gain a keener ability to think about your own discussions.
My plan is to introduce the topic of discussion, show some of my failing attempts to lead discussion and some of my better discussions, all the time opening up the floor for you all to share your experiences, hunches about what works and what doesn’t work and introspections on how you facilitate discussion. Let’s talk about the Discussion Board, Adobe Connect, VoiceThread, and the classroom. My goal is for us all to go away from this talk armed with a keener ability to think about our discussions. We can begin by recalling an awful discussion and a wonderful discussion and trying to figure out what characterizes each and how we can have more wonderful discussions. We will also end with a short list of things you can do to facilitate discussion online or face-to-face.
Questions about this topic or the resources included above?
Please do not hesitate to contact Lenny Shedletsky.
Leonard Shedletsky, PhD is Professor of Communication at The University of Southern Maine. He is the author of Meaning and Mind: An Intrapersonal Approach to Human Communication (1989), co-author of Human Communication on the Internet, co-editor of Intrapersonal Communication Processes (1995), co-editor in 2010 of Cases on Online Discussion and Interaction: Experiences and Outcomes. IGI-Global. He is currently co-editing a book with Professor Jeff Beaudry, Cases on Teaching Critical Thinking through Visual Representation Strategies. He wrote the entry, “Cognition,” for the International Encyclopedia of Communication, 2008.
He has been teaching since 1974. He teaches a range of courses in communication with cognition, discourse and meaning as underlying themes. He was awarded recognition for Stellar scholarship and teaching, University of southern Maine (USM) 2003, 2007 & 2011. He was named The Russell Chair, 2009 - 2011. He has recently taught two new online courses that make heavy use of discussion, CMS 498, Discourse, Communication & Critical Thinking, and CMS 495, Theories of Communication. In the past few years he created a new course titled, Discussion (CMS 498).
His current research interest explores discussion online and in the classroom. He is trying to find out what facilitates active and high quality discussion in education.
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