Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) for Critical Thinking

The Concept

Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) are small multimedia/electronic segments, components, modules or mini-lessons that can be developed, used and reused in numerous courses (Project Eagle Statement of Work, 2003). RLOs are "a way of thinking about chunking learning content" (Shapiro, et al, 2006, slide 3). They can be designed to have considerable interactivity and alternate paths (as in gaming and simulations), hence providing a potential for promoting critical thinking. "Simulations create a complete environment within which students can apply theory to and practice skills in real-world issues related to their discipline. They motivate students, provide opportunities for active participation, promote deep learning, develop interactive and communication skills, and link knowledge and theory to application" (Hertel & Millis, 2002, book jacket). The implementation of RLOs and other multimedia/electronic activities to promote critical thinking will ensure the inclusion of distance learning courses in SPC's improvement efforts, as well as blended and classroom-based courses that are web-enhanced.

The Repository

The QEP staff and Instructional Technologists (RLO Presentation) collaborate with faculty to develop discipline-specific RLOs that encourage critical thinking. Critical thinking materials in other RLO databases can also be resources for faculty members looking for critical thinking materials in their field:

The SPC Critical Thinking RLO Repository consists of RLOs collected or created to augment critical thinking activities in the classroom. RLO Guidelines have been established to aid in the selection of appropriate RLOs.

Information collected for each RLO:

  1. Title of the Critical Thinking Activity/RLO
  2. Brief description or summary of the Activity/RLO
  3. Subject Area(s)
  4. Major Learning Outcome(s) addressed by the Activity/RLO (from course outline)
  5. Course Objective(s) addressed by the Activity/RLO (stated in performance terms)
  6. Type of Activity/RLO
  7. How much time it takes to conduct the Activity/RLO
  8. List of materials that are necessary to conduct the Activity/RLO
  9. Detailed step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the Activity/RLO
  10. Additional Resources
  11. Aspect(s) of critical thinking the Activity/RLO addresses
  12. How it will improve our students’ ability to think critically
  13. Whether or not the RLO Guidelines have been consulted

To add an RLO idea to the repository, please submit the RLO form.

Title Description Subject Area(s)
Why Wash YOUR Hands? The activity provides an overview for Healthcare workers on proper method of hand washing by including didatic rationales and video examples.
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Veterinary Technology
Why Critique Research? The activity provides a brief summary of some of the challenges with using published research. The user is given several examples, an activity, and an assessment at the end of the RLO. The user also has opportunity to provide feedback with regard to the RLO. The last segment of the RLO provides resources including a glossary of terms used in the content.
  • College of Nursing
Recording and Evaluating Student Performances Record student performances, and evaluate those performances, using SPOC.
  • Communications
Peer to Peer Networking In this activity students will gain a basic understanding of Peer to Peer (P2P) networking fundamentals while exploring the legal and ethical use of P2P networks.
  • Business Technologies
How Switches Increase Speed This RLO explains how switches improve network performance.
  • Business Technologies
Elements and Standards Learning Tool This is an interactive web-based tool developed by the Foundation for Critical Thinking to help explain the interaction of the elements of thoughts with the intellectual standards. It prompts users with questions about their own thinking and suggests prompts to lead others into critical thinking.
  • Business Technologies
  • College of Education
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • College of Technology & Management
  • Communications
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Engineering Technology
  • Ethics
  • Fine & Applied Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Public Safety
  • Social Science
  • Veterinary Technology
  • Library
5 Lead EKG Tutorial A multimedia self-paced tutorial for nursing students wishing to enhance their understanding and practice 5 lead EKG electrode placement online.
  • College of Nursing
Evaluating Resources for the Technical Research Report This RLO provides quotes from various sources, along with information about the source, and students must ascertain whether or not the information/source is suitable for academic or research purposes. This activity exposes students to some of the various criteria that academic/scholarly resources should meet. Students will also have a better understanding of their aptitude for recognizing such criteria.
  • Business Technologies
  • Library
Briefing a Case For this activity/RLO, we are utilizing the Legal Brief of Cases (hereinafter referred to as "Brief"). This is not to be confused with a Court Filed Brief/Appellate Brief which is a written legal document that is presented to a court arguing why the party to the case should prevail. This brief is the short form version highlighting the main points of a case that has gone before a court for dispute (almost similar to an Abstract of an article). To help incorporate the SPC Mission of Critical Thinking, we are taking the ARC and creating supplemental questions to assure that critical thinking is being utilized to the fullest extent. The ARC rubric has been incorporated in addition to the standard Brief grading rubric. To be clear for all, the Brief is used for many purposes. The Brief has variances in the key points that are described in it. To simplify, after reading and re-reading a case, the student highlights the case name and court system of dispute; the procedural/appellate history; the pertinent facts; the issue(s); the holding(s); the source of law(s); the reasoning by the court; and any other concurring or dissenting opinions if available from other judges/justices. In law school, a student was taught on the first day "How to Brief a Case." Our Paralegal Students complete the exercise of the Brief in PLA 1003, Introduction to Paralegalism. There are additional legal writing classes which in corporate briefing as well. The problem we found is that our Paralegal Students were not completing the Brief every time they read a case. In fact, very few students assume that every case reading should have an accompanying Brief to assist in the clarity and points of the case. Performing what we would call a "blind reading of a case" (i.e., reading a case with no corresponding Brief) can be problematic if the trend continues. The Brief serves an important function of critical thinking by itself. After reading a case, the student must compartmentalize his/her findings in the above mentioned paragraph. Then the student usually compares the Briefs of many cases to the client's situation to see if the case law is applicable or not.
  • Paralegal Studies
Psychological Investigation Research Paper Developing Intellectual Humility and Suspending Judgment In PSY 1012, I have students conduct a "psychological investigation" on a person with printed literature regarding his/her life. The first section requires them to objectively describe the person, noting the psychosocial factors that influenced their development. The second section requires students to identify their preconceived notions, biases, misinformation, sources of misinformation, and ways those preconceived notions challenged their objectivity. They also are required to identify the limitations to their objectivity and the limitations to their thoroughness as case study researchers.
  • Social Science
Active Learning - Responding to the Unknown Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) students involved in scenario-based learning in laboratory and skills classes were exposed to critical thinking by developing, acting out, and facilitating patient care scenarios that were critiqued and evaluated by student peers. The students explain their rationale for care decisions and support with material learned in the class. This peer interaction and review process allows students to engage potentially intimidating, confusing, and insulting situations and allows them to build intellectual confidence and courage while dealing with situations they will encounter in the workplace.
  • Public Safety
Website Evaluation Students evaluate Websites using a rubric in which they rate the site's authority, affiliation, purpose, objectivity, content, learning process, audience, currency, and design.
  • Business Technologies
  • College of Education
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • College of Technology & Management
  • Communications
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Engineering Technology
  • Ethics
  • Fine & Applied Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Public Safety
  • Social Science
  • Veterinary Technology
  • Library
Opposing Viewpoints - Health Policy Issue You and at least one other student will be assigned a health policy issue to either "support" or "refute". Each support and refute group will consist of a number determined by faculty.
  • College of Nursing
Understanding the Virtue Ethics System of Aristotle This activity is intended to familiarize the student with the various virtues and vices that make up the character development ethical system of Aristotle.
  • Ethics
Informed Decision-Making This exercise is design to teach students how to make more informed decisions and choices. We chose this instrument because it is important that parks and leisure professionals understand not every patron arrives at their program choices in the same manner. Program selections made unwisely can impact greatly on the quality of life of patrons. This assignment gives a student insight into how people learn and how their own approach to decisions-making affects outcome. The assignment is design to help students think about how they think in order to arrive at informed and educated selection.
  • Hospitality & Tourism Management and Parks & Leisure Services
Critical Thinking: Timing Exercise

The RLO is a reaction time game. When the circle turns green the student clicks the mouse (left click). The screen records how long it takes for the student to click after the circle turns green. If the student clicks too early that is also noted, but the time is not recorded. The average reaction time is calculated and updated each time the student clicks.

  • Veterinary Technology
ARC (Assessment Rubric for Critical Thinking) The Assessment Rubric for Critical Thinking (ARC) is a global rubric template developed for the College to provide a snapshot view of how student learning is being affected by the critical thinking initiative. It is designed to assess a variety of student projects from a critical thinking perspective. For example, students in a composition class may be asked to complete a paper on a specific topic. This ARC rubric template will help evaluate the student's use of critical thinking skills in the development of the paper as opposed to specifically evaluating the quality of student's writing skills. The ARC rubric template is designed to be flexible enough to address a number of student project modalities including written and oral communications, and it can be adapted to a broad range of problems within a wide variety of disciplines.
  • Allied Health
Ocean Pollution - What do scientists need to know? Out of class: Have students watch videos on ocean pollution and investigate associated materials such as links to non-point pollution, biomagnification and noise pollution. In class: discussion of a current pollution problem from the news and what factors scientist may need to know to address points made in video and associated materials. Discuss how scientists would go about obtaining this information.
  • Natural Science
Iron Deficiency Anemia Virtual Laboratory This is a tutorial on iron deficiency anemia. It provides a computer simulation in which students "perform" and interpret four laboratory tests on a patient to determine if the patient has iron deficiency anemia. Quizzes are provided at the end of the tutorial and at the end of each laboratory test to assess the students' understanding of the concepts. Feedback is provided.
  • Allied Health
Pernicious Anemia Virtual Laboratory This is a tutorial on pernicious anemia. It provides a computer simulation in which students "perform" and interpret five laboratory tests on a patient to determine if the patient has pernicious anemia. Quizzes are provided at the end of the tutorial and at the end of each laboratory test to assess the students' understanding of the concepts. Feedback is provided.
  • Allied Health
I Want to be Well This is a well designed interactive case base scenario that presents a patient's subjectyicve complaints, physical assessment, and asks the learner to pick a limited number of possible diagnostic tests and develope and defend a diagnosis
  • Allied Health
Mobile/Operative Radiography Learners test their knowledge of mobile and operative radiography procedures while playing video soccer.
  • Allied Health
Imaging Evaluation of the Cervical Spine Students will learn about traumatic cervical spine injuries and techniques to image, evaluate , and interpret anatomy and fractures.
  • Allied Health
Skeletal System The skeletal system link will allow access to real photographs of the human skeletal system. The purpose of these pages is to quiz knowledge of the structures of the skeletal system.
  • Allied Health
Web Anatomy A series of self-paced tutorials and quizzes for health/science students wishing to understand anatomy and the cardio vascular system online.
  • Allied Health
  • College of Nursing,
  • Natural Science
Loft vs. Dr. Leonard Health Information Management law case where student's will analyze the situation, evaluate potential solutions, and recommend a course of action.
  • Allied Health
Deaf Culture Series Part I This activity is intended to enhance student knowledge about deaf culture. Students are asked probing questions about assumptions they might have about deaf people and their culture. Students are first asked to answer a series of questions prior to viewing an online video about deaf culture. The ten questions are intended to illicit assumed knowledge about deaf people and probe student perspectives on the lives of deaf people in effort to uncover preexisting assumptions, viewpoints and implications of those assumptions. Students will then view a ten minute video clip that addresses certain aspects about deaf peoples' personal and social lives. After viewing the video clip, students will be asked to respond to a second set of questions that may or may not require them to revise previously held assumptions. Students will be asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of their relative assumptions, provide an analysis of the impact of the consequences of their assumptions and describe revisions of assumptions were deemed inappropriate.
  • Allied Health
  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • Communications
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Engineering Technology
  • Ethics
  • Fine & Applied Arts
  • Health Information Management
  • Hospitality & Tourism Management and Parks & Leisure Services
  • Humanities & Fine Arts
  • Library
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Public Safety Administration
  • Sign Language Interpretation
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Veterinary Technology
Museum Experience and Reflection Project As required in Humanities classes, students must participate in an out of class cultural activity. This RLO provides structure for student response. Either as an individual or as a class (depending upon the instructor) students will go to a local museum to fulfill the required project. Class discussion before and after the project, as well as a writing assignment, will be implemented.
  • Humanities & Fine Arts
The Chaos Game—A Challenge in Problem Solving and Analysis Students play the Chaos Game and then use their problem-solving skills and analytical reasoning to determine a solution algorithm and identify their problem-solving strategies.
  • Allied Health
  • College of Education
  • Communications
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Engineering Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science
Research Assignment This Activity/RLO is a research assignment used to support the learning of the below major learning outcome and course objectives. This research assignment can be tailored to any public safety administration topic.
  • Public Safety Administration
Case Problem Solving Students are required to pinpoint the problem presented in a case, describe it, analyze it, and then create and weigh possible solutions before recommending and defending one. They must also document their decision process and reflect on how it could be improved.
  • College of Business
  • Computer and Information Technology
What is the effect of interest rates on home pricing? Build scenarios by increasing 30 years mortgage rates and discuss what the effect of these increases may have on home prices.
  • College of Business
ABG Case Studies Interactive case studies to interpret arterial blood gases and stimulate critical thinking.
  • College of Nursing
Effective use of PowerPoint Show You Tube videos comparing two different PowerPoint presentations and have students compare and contrast
  • Communications
The Sleeping Mountain In this role-playing scenario, students represent townspeople whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by an active volcano that may or may not erupt in the near future. They must debate whether to invest in or to abandon their town. The site outlines the roles and includes a description of the original, real volcano that inspired the scenario, Mammoth Mountain in California, with a list of links. Before the debate, the students must research monitoring volcano activity and write a paper about it.
  • Natural Science
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
Simulation Students will simulate manipulating the federal funds rate. They will make predictions about what will happen to the unemployment rate and the inflation rate based on their decisions. They will evaluate the process as they go.
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
Personality Disorder Game This is a lesson based on a softball game in which the user can move forward and "win" based on knowledge of the symptoms of various personality disorders.
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
When did Social Media website really start on the Internet? The RLO is a week long lesson that includes watching a video from Internet Archive. The videos on this site are mostly historical in nature and completely copyright free.
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Ethics