D.B.A. Baker College (Michigan), 2019.
Specialization: Business administration; Management
Faculty members' perspectives - using the Socratic method in the online higher education classroom to increase cognitive presence, critical thinking, and decision-making skills: Implications for the workplace
209 pages. UMI #: 13857647
Citation, Abstract & Full text in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database
Hlinak and Delic and Becirovic, among others, addressed the connection between the use of the Socratic method and critical thinking development. Hlinak noted while there is an abundance of research on the Socratic method and distance learning, there are relatively few publications that address the intersection. With the continued growth of online education, there is a lack of research primarily on the perspectives of online faculty members. The purpose of the study was to gain the perspectives of online faculty members for effectively using the Socratic method in an online higher education environment to improve critical thinking skills and their application to decision making. An additional goal was the possible development of a research model to explain the use of the Socratic method in the online environment. Garrison's online community of inquiry was a primary supportive theory. Additional theories supporting this study included the Socratic method, James’s pragmatism, Dewey’s critical thinking, and Paul’s formalized critical thinking. Globalization and Christensen's disruptive innovation also supported this research. Online faculty perspectives are essential; faculty are responsible for establishing pedagogy (e.g., teaching strategies, course design, and instructional intervention) for classrooms. The research questions addressed: (a) what teaching strategies, course design, instructional interventions, and delivery options are needed to implement the use of the Socratic method in the online classroom; (b) what influence does the use of the Socratic method have on cognitive presence; and (c) what effect does the increase of cognitive presence have on critical thinking and decision-making skills in nonclassroom activities and the workplace. Using qualitative exploratory research methodology, data were collected from faculty in an online educator forum using an online questionnaire and personal telephone interviews were conducted with faculty from an online doctoral program. Based on participant experiences, the Socratic method supports critical thinking development and fosters cognitive presence with students. According to the participants, the connection between the Socratic method and critical thinking extends these skills to nonacademic settings and the workplace. The participants made a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the Socratic method in the online environment including integrating the Socratic method in course designs.