Results and analysis

5 face-to-face seminars were tape recorded and transcribed. These were from 3 groups (A, B and C) and covered 3 subjects (office automation, privacy and the information industry). The same groups also took part in discussions on the computer conferencing system. Each was given a topic for discussion within the seminar group, and in addition there was a general topic open to all students. These discussions were automatically captured on disk by the system. Since the CC discussions were much shorter, all the discussions on all subjects for each group were analysed together. So we had:
Transcribed seminars
Transcribed seminarsGroup AGroup BGroup CAll students
f2f seminarsPrivacy
Office Automation
Privacy

Information Industry

Office Automation
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Computer conferencesAll subjectsAll subjectsAll subjectsAll subjects
Each transcript was analysed by marking each statement that obviously indicated deep (+) or surface (-) learning approaches, according to the indicators explained in our IPCT-J paper. (Newman et al 1995) From these we calculated ratios of the depth of processing. This is called the depth of critical thinking (CT) ratio in this paper. It ranges from -1 (all surface statements, no deep) to +1 (all deep statements, no surface). It is calculated as:

depth of CT ratio = (x+ - x-)/(x+ + x-)

where x is one of the indicators, like justification, linking ideas or relevance, x+ is the count of positive statements and x- is the count of negative statements in a transcript. First look at the overall depth of CT ratio, calculated from the total +ve and -ve counts.

  1. Overall comparison between seminars and computer conferences
  2. Effects on indicators of critical thinking
  3. Effects of participation
  4. Relating our findings to Garrison's theory of critical thinking