Assessing the Effect of Self-Recorded Video Assignment on Students’ Critical Thinking Skills

Mina Xu

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant Program

Grant recipientMina Xu, Sustainable Energy Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science

Project team: Yalda Saedi, research assistant

Timeframe: April 2022 to June 2023

Funding: $5000

Course addressed: SEE 402 – Professional Engineering Ethics and Practice

Description: Developing and enhancing critical thinking skills for students is an integral part in a 4th year course. I want to find out whether new ways to implement formative activities (e.g., ethical dilemmas) can improve their critical thinking skills when facing ethical dilemmas and facilitate student learning at the same time.

There are various opinions and ways in defining critical thinking. As accepted by many researchers, critical thinking can refer to “purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which judgment is based.” [1]. Promoting critical thinking in higher education is highly valued as it contributes to not only students’ learning success in their courses but also their future career success. In engineering ethics courses, students are exposed to a variety of formative assessment, including case studies, ethical dilemmas, forums, and debates, etc., that are designed to cultivate their critical thinking skills [2]. Traditional ways of conducting ethical dilemmas normally include writing and in-class discussions. There has been research on teachers using videos to facilitate their reflection on teaching [3], and research on adopting video-recorded learning activities in professional learning for students [4]. The outcome of these research indicates that using videos are effective in facilitating reflection activities.

For this project, I will introduce and access the use of student self-recorded videos to present their perspectives and suggestions, and to challenge and provide feedback to each other.

[1] P. Faction, Critical thinking: a statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. Millbrae, CA: The California Academic Press, 1990:2.
[2] N. Montages, D. Lascano, L. Quiles-Carrillo, S. Torres-Giner, E. Rayón, Ethical dillemmas and debates as teaching methodologies to develop critical thinking competence, Proceedings of INTED2020 Conference 2nd-4th March 2020, Valencia, Spain.
[3] T. Tripp, P. Rich, Using video to analyze one’s own teaching, British Journal of Educational Technology, 2012, 43, 678–704.
[4] W. Liao, Using Collaborative Video-Cued Narratives to Study Professional Learning: A Reflective Analysis, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, Volume 19: 1–13.

Questions addressed:

  • Will the self-record video improve students’ critical thinking skills?
  • How does the use of self-recorded videos affect students’ reflections on ethical dilemmas in terms of identifying problems, analyzing facts, determining alternatives, and narrating the possible actions/solutions?
  • How does the use of peer comments on videos support student engagement with each other and learn how to be open-minded and respectful to different opinions and how to give constructive feedback?

Knowledge sharing:

  • I will share the project findings with my colleagues in our Undergraduate Curriculum Committee meetings.
  • I hope to submit to Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) Conference 2023
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