University of Massachusetts at BostonCollege of Advancing & Professional StudiesCritical and Creative Thinking ProgramCritical ThinkingCrCrTh 601Course descriptionThis course explores issues about the nature and techniques of critical thought, viewed as a way to establish a reliablebasis for our claims, beliefs, and attitudes about the world. We explore multiple perspectives, placing established facts,theories, and practices in tension with alternatives to see how could be otherwise. Views about observation andinterpretation, reasoning and inference, valuing and judging, and the production of knowledge in its social context areconsidered. Special attention is given to translating what is learned into strategies, materials, and interventions for use instudents' own educational and professional settings.Fall 2017 SyllabusComponents of the syllabus:I. Quick access to key information and links that should be bookmarked on your browserfollowed byII. Information to get started, orient yourself, and refer back to from time to time.III. Contract: What is expected overall.IV. Schedule of classes: What is expected each session and why how each session contributes to the unfolding of thecourse (starting with list of links to specific sessions).V. BibliographyPOST IT the start of each component in your printed version of this syllabusInstructorEmail:PhoneOfficeOffice hours( or inoffice):Class time & locationURL for hangoutsBlogReport glitches in onlinematerialsSyllabusPublic g communityPeter Taylor , Critical & Creative Thinking [email protected] 287 7636 (note: email gets faster response)Wheatley 4 170Tuesday 1.40 3.40pm, or by arrangementTuesdays 4 6.45pm, 9/12 12/12; by Hangout or in W 4 170 BOOKMARK THIS! , , BOOKMARK THIS!using this, with a menu of useful links at the top right BOOKMARKTHIS! (backup copy at 17.pdf ) , for public sharing of final products (optional)II. Information to get started, orient yourself, and refer back to from time to timePointers about the preparation assumed for this course(in lieu of formal prerequisites): CrCrTh 601 is appropriate for any student with a strong interest in Critical Thinking and adesire to make a commitment to the personal development of themselves and others. You will find it helpful to be familiarwith the university’s library and research services. You should be prepared to make time outside class at least 6.5hours/week for undistracted work on the course and to view each assignment and each session in relation to theunfolding of learning during the course. (That is, do not expect the syllabus and online links to allow you to simply cut tothe chase about what to do for the following day's class.)In Fall 2017, the format of the course has two strands, taking up half the time of each session.The first strand is centered on 4 week "collaborative explorations" (CEs), a variant of project based learning (PBL) thatbegin from a scenario or case in which the issues are real but the problems are not well defined, which leads participants1

to shape their own directions of inquiry and develop their skills as investigators and teachers (in the broadest sense of theword). The basic mode of a CE centers on interactions in small groups (online or face to face) over a delimited period oftime in ways that create an experience of re engagement with oneself as an avid learner and inquirer as this quote from astudent in a PBL course evokes:This course is a gift – the chance to be open – open ended in design, open to process, open to other perspectives,open to changing your ideas, and open to sharing. Of course this means it’s risky too – you won’t always knowwhen you’re coming from or where you are going – you might think you aren’t sufficiently grounded by the course.But you have the freedom to change that – and being on the other side of it now, I see it works out beautifully. Theattention to process provides you the tools to grow and by the end you’re riding the wave of your earlier work.The CE format is designed to allow each student toa) undertake intensive reading in the area of critical thinking and learn from other students through their annotatedbibliography entries, presentations, and written products;b) shape a path and final products for each CE that link closely with your personal interests; andc) see yourselves as contributors to ongoing development of the field, especially by sharing of products with futurestudents on the blog and (optional) with the wider public on a google community (and eventually perhaps a book).The second strand will involve activities or discussion based on shared readings around key concepts or issues in thefield, with special attention to tension between direct and indirect approaches to fostering critical thinking. Each activitypromotes a way to improve thinking, but allows for insights about one’s thinking to emerge in its own way. Plus Delta feedback at end of most activities fosters the formation of these insights as well as future improvements of theactivity for future offerings of the course.Course ObjectivesBy the end of the semester, you will have:a set of tools, experiences, activities, knowledge of publications, and an enhanced disposition to self directedlifelong inquiry around:* your own critical thinking, i.e., scrutinizing the assumptions, reasoning, and evidence brought to bear on anissue by others and by yourself, where such scrutiny is enhanced by placing ideas and practices in tensionwith alternatives; and* what is needed to teach or guide others re: the above in ways that might depart markedly from yourprevious schooling and experience.a critical understanding of collaborative explorations and allied approaches to project based learning in relation toparticipants re engaging with themselves as avid learners and inquirers.Texts and MaterialsReadings for the course consist ofa) articles and book chapters that can be downloaded from password protected page;b) work read as part of CEs, which, with planning, can be borrowed from libraries.You will need to be set up to use interlibrary loan (either at UMB or at your local library) to get materialsthat interest you when needed.Recommended (Available from online retailers):as fieldbook of tools and processes: Taylor, P. and J. Szteiter (2012) Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes ofResearch and Engagement Arlington, MA, The Pumping Stationas guides to writing: Daniel, D., C. Fauske, P. Galeno, and D. Mael. (2001). Take Charge of Your Writing:Discovering Writing Through Self Assessment. Boston, Houghton Mifflin.Hacker, D. (2000) A Pocket Style Manual. Boston, Bedford/St. Martins OR equivalent pocket manual on writing.Technical set upMake bookmarks on your browser for key links in this syllabusAccept invitation to join the private wordpress blog where all exchanges for the course will happenPrepare for meetings on hangout (sign up for a account, get the audio & video pluginsinstalled, and let instructor know your gmail address). Practice accessing the course hangout.f2f students: Arrange to bring a laptop or tablet to class to use in the activity part of each session.Establish reliable, undistracted access to the internet for class sessions (with ethernet, not wifi, connection to wifimodems unless absolutely impossible)Know your official student email address and password (for access to password protected materials)Set up access to online bibliographic databasesArrange bibliographic software for references2

Establish off campus connection to UMass library , including get the library barcode for your student ID card fromthe library and interlibrary loan;Accept invitation to join the public google community associated with the CCT programRead "What is plagiarism?" and choose your citation style .Complete on line tutorial (if needed) and explore the library wikipage for CCT courses.Writing SupportFor graduate students, see modationsSections 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 offer guidelines for curriculum modifications and adaptationsfor students with documented disabilities. The student must present any adaptation recommendations to the professorswithin a reasonable period, preferably by the end of the Drop/Add period.Code of ConductThe University’s Student Code of Conduct ( on campus/policies/community/code ) exists tomaintain and protect an environment conducive to learning. It sets clear standards of respect for members of theUniversity community and their property, as well as laying out the procedures for addressing unacceptable conduct.Students can expect faculty members and the Office of the Dean of Students to look after the welfare of the Universitycommunity and, at the same time, to take an educational approach in which students violating the Code might learn fromtheir mistakes and understand how their behavior affects others.Students are advised to retain a copy of this syllabus in personal files for use when applying for certification, licensure, ortransfer credit.This syllabus is subject to change, but workload expectations will not be increased after the semester starts. (Version 16August 2017)III. Contract: What is expected overallThe course requirements revolve around work in progress presentations and written products for eachCollaborative Exploration (CE) and around participation items.The draft CE products and some other written assignments are commented on, but not graded. Not grading keepsthe focus on interaction around written work. You are expected to read comments carefully, consult with the peercommenter or instructor if you don't understand a comment they made, revise thoughtfully—not superficially—inresponse to the comments, and resubmit.For participation, the hope is that you come to classes prepared to engage in both parts of the sessions (the CEand the activities), share sources you find useful so that other students can learn from them, help others throughfeedback on drafts, bring the instructor into your processes of learning and inquiry early and often–starting withmaking sure you appreciate the thinking behind the details that this long syllabus lays out (much of which aconventional syllabus leaves hidden). If you share these hopes, you will end up meeting the 80% target in thegrading scheme (see below) without having to think about the specific checklist of items.It is expected that you will spend at least 6.5 hours per session outside class time reading, researching, and writing.The course works by building from CE to CE, session to session, so late submissions detract significantly from thelearning possible in class sessions. However, each student can ask for extensions on two assignments orparticipation items, moving the due date as far back as the last session. (No explanation is needed; simply insertthe new due date on your assignment checklist.)You should aim for 10 of 12 writing/presentation assignments submitted by the due dateswith the draft CE productsrevised deeply in response to comments, as well as for 17 of 21 participation items fulfilled ( "80% target").(Allowing a fraction of assignments to be skipped without penalty or explanation accommodates the contingenciesof your lives.)Use a personal copy of the checklist wikipage to keep your own log of assignments and participation itemscompleted and to keep track of due dates. Do not expect class time or meetings with the instructor to be taken upreminding you. Similarly, if you get behind, you take the initiative to submit a plan to catch up or reassure theinstructors that you have, in light of your other commitments, chosen to take the grading consequences of missingassignments or due dates. (Incompletes are given only in special circumstances [detailed here].)If you reach the target (see above)—and the goal is to work with everyone to achieve that—you get at least a B and a rubric is used to determine B , A or A (respectively, 10, 10 but 15, 15 points on the rubric).Only if you do not get to the automatic B level is the grade based on points for assignments and participationitems 6 for each well prepared work in progress presentation, 3 for each writing assignment or half assignmentsubmitted by due dates, additional 3 for each CE product revised deeply in response to comments plus 1.25 for3

each participation item fulfilled, up to a maximum of 80 points. The minimum grade for B is 80, for B is 72.5; for B is 65; for C is 57.5; and for C is 50 points.The different assignments and participation items are listed below so as to be explicit about the course contract. Ofcourse, to undertake these assignments and items you need more information—see the guidelines supplied onthe Notes wikipage as well as the overall expectations conveyed in the rubric below.Written assignments and presentation (2/3 of grade)A. Work in progress presentations for each CE (well prepared not informal or extemperaneous) ( 3 assignments)due week 3 of the CEB. Product for each CE (1200 words): draft that builds on W I P presentation and responds to plus delta comments,then revised again in response to comments from an instructor and a peer and posted to the blog and (optionally)to CCT's public google community ( 3 assignments)draft submitted by email to instructor by week 4 of the CE, then distributed by instructor for peer comments;revised version posted to the blog, due two weeks later.(Students may delete or hide their blog postings any time after the semester.)C. Blog entries required during the process of each CE (e.g., Bibliography contributions with paragraph lengthannotations, Notes on inquiries pursued) ( 12 half assignments)]Participation Items (1/3 grade)a. Building learning community through attendance and participation at class meetings based on preparationbetween meetings, including i) inquiry and reading on the CE between sessions (see also C&D above) and ii)making notes on the readings in depth sufficient to undertake the week's activity ( 14 items).b. Syllabus treasure hunt, session 2b1. Abiding by conventions for file naming and subject lines for email submissions, whole semester ( 1 for eachreminder after first)c. Minimum of two in office, phone, or live online conferences on your assignments and projects, by session 5 andby session 11d. Peer commentaries on other students’ draft products ( 3 items)e. Assignment checklist, recorded throughout semester, then submitted (either on wiki or as scanned pdf) session14RubricFor each of the following 10 qualities, * [ "fulfilled very well", 2 points], OK [ "did an OK job, but room for moredevelopment/attention", 1 point], or [ "to be honest, this was not my strength in this course", 0 points]A sequence of assignments paced more or less as in syllabus (and revisions timely), often revised thoroughly and with new thinking in response to comments.CE Projects innovative, well planned and carried out with considerable initiative, andCE Project reports clear and well structured, with supporting references and detail, and professionally presented.Active, prepared participation in building class as learning community, including during sessions and conscientious peer commentary on other student's assignments.Consistent work outside sessions as evidenced in Blog entries required during process of each CEFramework and plan for practice in CE3 indicating deep reflection about how to move from learning toimplementation/teaching in your specific situation.Plagiarism: Using another person's ideas or material you did not write without citing the source is plagiarism and isunacceptable (seelibrary guide and Academic Honesty policies ).IV. Schedule of classes: What is expected each session and why how each session contributes tothe unfolding of the course1. 9/12, 2. 9/19, 3. 9/26, 4. 10/3, 5. 10/10, 6. 10/17, 7. 10/24, 8. 10/31, 9. 11/7, 10. 11/14, 11. 11/21, 12. 11/28, 13.12/5, 14. 12/12OverviewThe Sessions have two parts of 60 75 minutes, with a 10 minute break between them: 1) The CE component;2) Activities around a shared reading on a key concept in the field.Session 1Introductions and Why don't we do critical thinking all the time?Preparation:4

Get set up on Technical mattersSession Exercises:Warm up : What do you agree with? What would you do, if anything, to influence this person?Freewriting (to bring students' ideas and experience to the surface): "If asked to discuss why don't people—myself included— do critical thinking all the time, what comes to mind includes."Share something about your thinking with a neighborAutobiographical introductions : 5 minutes to explain "How I came to be a person interested in learning more aboutcritical thinking how to do it myself and teach/foster it in others. Each introduction followed by “connections andextensions” feedback .Activity on Why don't people do critical thinking all the time? Introduction to Collaborative Explorations,including the steps each week and the basic rhythm of the course. Quick preview of syllabus and tasks to get set up. Take stock of the session (Critical incident questionnaire )Follow up:Syllabus quiz to get acquainted with organization of course materials.Look ahead to what work is due in the sessions ahead.Read and commence research on CE1 (below), with first argument blog post, however sketchy, due tomorrow.Peruse connections and extensions assembled at tbaeditTearing my hair out: 50 ways to lead your arguer, CE1 (classes 2 4)(A CE in which students identify a range of arguments people are not happy with, find patterns in them, and considerconstructive ways to move the arguer towards a different or stronger position)Preamble: Waiting at the checkout in September 2014, I noticed a special issue of Time: "How DNA shapes your life.""Having tried to harness the power of DNA for decades," the introduction begins, "we're finally getting somewhere." Thespecial issue and its articles were clearly optimistic, even boosterish, without much nuance. I started to mull over what itwould take to make a special issue that delved into the range of meanings of genes and genetic, that treated the audienceas capable of thinking about the complexities that surround the application of genetic knowledge. This led me to startlisting the variety of reasons one might look for the genetic basis of something and, for each, think about issues thatconfound or complicate the situation or claims being made. As the list got longer, I thought of the title "50 whys to look forgenes: Pros and complications" and decided to begin a series of daily blog posts . When I got to 50 I looked for patterns,ending up with 7 overlapping categories (depicted here ).CE proper:The point of this CE is definitely not for you to think about genes. However, analogous to my efforts in 2014, the CE asksyou to tease out a range of arguments people—including yourself—are not happy with, find patterns in them (includingacross other students' contributions, not only your own), and try to find ways to be constructive, not denunciatory, of whatyou disagree with or are perplexed by. The end goal for the CE is that the class as a whole produces thought supporting,constructive 1200 word entries for a hypothetical book that treats the audience as capable of addressing the complexitiesof improving critical thinking in the sense of supporting people to move to different or stronger positions.A premise for this book is that it would be unlike other critical thinking texts. In this light, this CE is an experiment—it is notclear in advance what a "pattern" is or what ways you will invent to "support. people to move to different or strongerpositions." (Steps to undertake and when)Session 2: Tearing my hair out: 50 ways to lead your arguer (CE1) Retrospectively Obvious QuestionsPreparation:Overview of dialogue process and guidelinesSession Exercises:Dialogue hour to share and clarify what we are inquiring into regarding the case for CE1.Q&A about course requirements and wiki organization, including expectation for next week's Work in progresspresentationActivity: Retrospectively Obvious Questions (details)Follow up:Read Taylor (2002; section 1) to review the thinking behind the activity.Continue working on CE 1.First office hour could happen or be scheduled; required by session 5.Look ahead to what work is due in the next session. (This follow up item is assumed and won't be stated from hereon.)Work due by the first day of this session:Participation item b, Syllabus Quiz.5

Session 3: Tearing my hair out: 50 ways to lead your arguer (CE1) Critical Thinking as JourneyingPreparation:Prepare Work in progress presentationRead (for Activity): Taylor (2002, section 2) ("Critical Thinking as Journeying")Session Exercises:5 minute Presentations on Work in Progress (see instructions, with short peer plus delta comments, plus anyadditional tips, on each talk (using form at ). The order of presentations is alphabetical by lastname.Activity: Supporting Critical Thinking as Journeying (details)Follow up:Digest feedback on Work in progress presentation and develop a product for the CE that stands on its own (i.e.,can be understood without being narrated)Work due by the first day of this session:Work in progress presentation (during class)First office hour meeting either completed or scheduled by now; required by session 5.Session 4: Tearing my hair out: 50 ways to lead your arguer (CE1) In Tension With AlternativesPreparation:Read (for Activity): Elbow (1994), Feuerstein et al. (2015), Taylor (2002, section 3) (Understanding by placingthings.)Session Exercises:Dialogue Hour for Taking stock of the first Collaborative ExplorationActivity: Lecture on Feuerstein by D. Martin, presenting direct instruction in thinking, and written reflection (Elbow,p. 26) on tension with indirect emphasis so far in the course) (details)Follow up:Comment on another student's draft product (forwarded to you by instructor by email)Arrange asap to get via Inter library loan or other means, readings you think might interest you in CE 2.Work due by the first day of this session:Draft of your CE 1 product emailed as pdf attachment to instructor with subject line “601assignment”First office hour either completed or scheduled by now; required to be completed before session 5.editEveryone can think critically!(A CE in which students learn as much as possible about how critical thinking is presented and promoted by others.)Imagine a continuation of the book in CE1—a section that aims to help readers appreciate the idea that everyone canthink critically and to help them help others appreciate that idea. The end product of this CE are drafts of entries to thissection of the book, which might take the form of text, maps, schemas, mp3s, or something else (adding up to at least1200 words or its page equivalent, in one or more entries). These entries should introduce and organize key resources,i.e., key concepts, issues and debates, references to research, quotes or paraphrases from those references, interactiveactivities and personal habits, people and organizations to take note of, appropriate stories. (Do not be concerned aboutwhether your entries overlap with anyone else's.)Some questions that might stimulate your inquiries:How much have well worn sources from the 80s and 90s been superseded by more recent research and writing;how much do old sources hold up? Is it justified to criticize a course or a handbook on critical thinking for using oldreferences? Can we show the longer term CCT instructors in 601 ways to update their syllabi?Could the critical thinking process be thought of less as adding rule bound practices and more as recognizing andremoving obstacles that have come into place and obscured natural critical thinking? What authors have promotedthe latter approach?How much does the critical thinking process need to involve individuals seeking or creating supportive "context,"e.g., arranging sounding boards or establishing one's surroundings as a "studio" to make a space where criticalthinking comes easier? What is known about how spaces for critical thinking, communities and historical periodscame together? What does critical thinking mean in different fields of work?What has been studied and written about regarding what we are calling indirect approaches to fostering criticalthinking?To the extent that the critical thinking process like the creative thinking process involves the capacity to manage,seek out, even welcome risk, struggle and failure, how can we feel more comfortable and supported in allowing"failures" to happen. of letting go of positions we once held strongly to?6

What is there to support, or contradict, the idea that "everyone can think critically"? In guiding those who believethat they are not critical thinkers, what steps might be taken to encourage them to at least explore the possibility?How is improvement in critical thinking assessed? How are different tools and activities to foster critical thinkingevaluated?The process towards the end products should involve reading and digesting as much as you can in the time available,guided by some of the questions above that interest you. The assumption (is this justified?) is that your experienceundertaking CE1 before having looked at how critical thinking is presented and promoted by others will help you to choosetopics that most grab your interest and be engaged in learning about them. In any case, there is no expectation that youthink like a textbook writer who has to cover every topic. Instead, you should identify a theme that can govern what yourwriting focuses on (see, for examples, the table of contents of Developing Minds). Entry points for readings are given by:the syllabi from CCT courses in Critical Thinking ( );The abundant resources of resources of or Costa, A. L. and B. Kallick (2008). Learning and Leading with Habitsof Mind. Alexandria, VA, ASCD.Costa, A. L. (ed.) 2001. Developing minds : a resource book for teaching thinking. 3rd ed. Alexandria, Va. :Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (table of contents)Teays, W. 2009. Second Thoughts: Critical Thinking for a Diverse Society. 4th ed. New York: McGraw HillYour explorations may, of course, lead you to more recent or more appropriate sources than you find in the CCT syllabi.(Steps to undertake and when)Session 5: Everyone can think critically! (CE2) Opening up ThemesPreparation:Read CE2 and begin inquiry. Arrange without further delay to get via Inter library loan or other means, readingsyou think might interest you in CE 2.Read (for Activity): Taylor (2005, chapter 6)Session Exercises:Autobiographical stories , retold in relation to CE 2Activity: From Opening up themes to Intersecting Processes (details)Follow up:Scan your map from activity and share as a blog postContinue working on CE2Work due by the first day of this session:First office hours meeting completed by today; Schedule 2nd meeting before session 10.Session 6: Everyone can think critically! (CE2) Translocal knowledge in participatory settingsPreparation:Read (for Activity): Preamble to Activity, Taylor (2002, section 5), Taylor (2005b, epilogue)Session Exercises:Dialogue hour to share and clarify what we are inquiring into regarding the case. (Reminder of dialogueguidelines ).Activity: Themes to bring the "global" or "translocal" into our critical thinking (details)Follow up:Continue working on CE 2.Work due by the first day of this session:Final version of your product from CE 1, revised in response to comments from peers and instructors, uploaded toblog (and, optionally, to public google community, )Session 7: Everyone can think critically! (CE2) Conditions conducive of critical thinkingPreparation:Prepare Work in progress presentationRead (for Activity): Costa (2008). Paul (1992)Session exercises:Work in progress presentations, each followed by Plus Delta feedback (online or on paper). The order ofpresentations is reverse alphabetical by last name.Activity: Interpretive structural modeling of a selection of conditions conducive of critical thinking (details)Follow up:Digest feedback on Work in progress presentation and develop a product for the CE7

Work due by the first day of this session:Work in progress presentation for CE 2 (during class)Session 8: Everyone can think critically! (CE2) Believing and doubting in relation to indirect approach tofostering critical thinkingPreparation:Read (for Activity): Watch youtube Critical Thinking, the stories in a new course (apologies for poor sound)Session exercises:Dialogue Hour for Taking stock of the second Collaborative ExplorationActivity: Believing and doubting in relation to indirect approach to fostering critical thinking (details)Follow up:Peruse the blog posts of other students on the activity.Comment on another student's draft product (forwarded to you by instructor by email)Work due by the first day of this session:Draft of your CE 2 product emailed as pdf attachment to instructor with subject line “601assignment”Two more Annotated bibliography entries posted (should have submitted total of four by now).Second office hours meeting either completed or scheduled by now; required to be completed by session 10.editFramework and Plan for Practice, CE3 (classes 9 12)(A CE in which students, building on CEs 1 & 2, formulate specific plans for how to continue your own development as acritical thinker and, as a result,

College of Advancing & Professional Studies Critical and Creative Thinking Program Critical Thinking CrCrTh 601 Course description This course explores issues about the nature and techniques of critical thought, viewed as a way to establish a reliable basi