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MERLOT II


    

Comment


Material:

Argumentation and Critical Thinking Tutorial

Rating: 3 stars
Used in Course: Used in course
Submitted by: Dan Barnett (Faculty), Feb 25, 2003
Comment: I spent about a half hour clicking on several of the test areas, including ones
on formal logic and infomal fallacies. The test questions range from true/false
to "short answer"; for the latter the student is asked to think of the answer
before clicking to see the correct answer. True/false questions give the correct
answer when either true or false is clicked. For multiple choice questions
students are not told what the correct answer is until it is clicked. The
questions and answers are quite straightforward and reinforce basic logical
concepts, such as validity, induction, deduction, and the like. The reason I
selected three stars is for a reason recognized by the author, who states on a
page giving the limitations of the tutorial that many of the subjects covered in
the multitude of tests (dozens and dozens) may not be covered in the student's
text but, more importantly, subjects that are covered may not have the same name
as that given in the tutorial. In order for a given instructor to adapt the
materials a large effort would be requried to rewrite the questions. Some of the
questions would fit any logic or critical thinking text, but others, with
different names, might well be confusing for students. The content is certainly
the core curriculum within an introduction to logic or critical thinking course
and the tutorial may be helpful as a teaching tool, emphasizing repetition as
the author notes. The tutorial would work best, it seems to me, after the basic
concepts have been learned and the instructor is looking for ways to reinforce
learned concepts. Answer pages provide positive and immediate feedback to
students.

Technical Remarks:

The various pages are text only, without illustrations, so they load rapidly
even with a slow modem connection. The page for questions and answers might be
made more elegant but the questions and answers are easy to read on the screen.
Each page provides a link back to the test selection area so the student would
not get "trapped" by the software. There is no tracking of answers.