Overall comparison between seminars and computer conferences

As Figure 2 shows, we found evidence for critical thinking in both face-to-face seminars and computer conferences. The depth of critical thinking ratios were more positive in computer conferences for all seminar groups. This difference is significant at 4% as measured in a matched sample difference test (t = 4.58 > critical value of 4.3). The highest difference was found in group C's transcripts, which would be interesting, if significant, since that was the largest seminar group. However, an analysis of variance with group and technology as the factors showed no significant difference between groups (Table 2).

CC and Sem average CT ratios over all groups

Figure 2. Critical thinking is deeper in computer conferences.

Table 2. ANOVA of overall depth of CT ratio, by group and technology.
Source of VariationSSdfMSFP-valueF crit
Groups0.002.000.000.30.77319.0
Technologies0.081.000.0820.90.04518.5
Error0.012.000.00

This increase in depth of critical thinking took place against a background of reduced participation. We found 18 times more markable statements per week in the seminar transcripts than in the computer conferences. Perhaps they found writing in a computer conference to be less spontaneous and take more thought and time than making a comment in a seminar. To explore this, and other questions, we need to look in more detail at the different elements of critical thinking.