Critical Thinking Schematic Diagram - Essay for you

Essay for you

Critical Thinking Schematic Diagram

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Category: Critical thinking


What - s a schematic (compared to other diagrams)? Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange


A schematic shows connections in a circuit in a way that is clear and standardized. It is a way of communicating to other engineers exactly what components are involved in a circuit as well as how they are connected. A good schematic will show component names and values, and provide labels for sections or components to help communicate the intended purpose. Note how connections on wires (or "nets") are shown using dots and non-connections are shown without a dot.

Block Diagram

A block diagram shows a higher level (or organizational layout) of functional units in a circuit (or a device, machine, or collection of these). It is meant to show data flow or organization between separate units of function. A block diagram gives you an overview of the interconnected nature of circuit assemblies or components.

Wiring Diagram

A wiring diagram is sometimes helpful to illustrate how a schematic can be realized in a prototype or production environment. A proper wiring diagram will be labeled and show connections in a way that prevents confusion about how connections are made. Typically they are designed for end-users or installers. They focus on connections rather than components .

PCB Layout

A PCB Layout is the resulting design from taking a schematic with specific components and determining how they will physically be laid out on a printed circuit board. To produce a PCB Layout, you must know the connections of components, component sizes (footprints), and a myriad of other properties (such as current, frequencies, emissions, reflections, high voltage gaps, safety considerations, manufacturing tolerances, etc.).


Fritzing is a popular open-source software program designed to help you create electronics prototypes. It uses a visual approach to allow you to connect components to Arduino using a virtual breadboard, and even provides ways to design a PCB. Its strength is in the ease with which new users can approach it. One of the principal working views is the virtual breadboard:

However, as you can see, it can be time-consuming to tell exactly how components are connected, even if you are very familiar with how breadboard connections work (as most electronics engineers are). As a circuit gets more complex, the visualization becomes more cluttered.

Fritzing provides a way to produce a schematic:

Be sure to use this to produce a schematic if you need to ask questions about your circuit. It will help others to quickly understand the components and connections involved in your design.

Prototype Photo

Sometimes a photo can help engineers troubleshoot your design. Especially if quality issues are suspected, such as soldering reliability, improper connections, incorrect polarities, and other problems which might be revealed in a photo. However, realize that most photos are not immediately useful, and if your project is complicated, a picture will do little more than show that you've spent a lot of time and effort on your project! Hint: Not helpful!

Images were obtained using internet image searches with license set to public domain or free to use for non-commercial use.

Why we prefer schematics, also, is that schematics contain certain idioms. For instance, a long-tailed-pair differential input stage could be drawn in a hundred different ways, ninety-five-and-a-half of which don't look anything like a long-tailed-pair differential input stage. Out of a hundred wiring diagrams, nary a single one will say "I am obviously a long-tailed pair differential input stage". – Kaz Apr 2 '14 at 22:12

@Kaz I posted this as a reference to help new users understand the differences between these diagrams. I agree that component arrangement on a schematic is important, but that's probably best omitted for the intended basic introduction level. – JYelton Apr 2 '14 at 22:14

@Passerby It's not exactly easy to find equal versions using free images. I obtained Fritzing with the idea of creating my own images instead of looking for others, but I didn't have time to really get into it. I admit bias because I prefer schematics for communicating circuit designs. (I think many other members of the community would agree.) Feel free to supply your own answer with bias-free diagrams. – JYelton Apr 3 '14 at 5:07

@Passerby: The schematics for the system in that block diagram would take many pages (but still be usable), and a "wiring diagram" for the system would be an impenetrable rats' nest. That's not a skew aimed against Fritzing diagrams, it's reality. – Ben Voigt Apr 3 '14 at 21:24

Actually, JYelton's images were more consistent in circuit complexity that yours are. His had about the same number and size of ICs and many fewer discretes on the wiring diagram. While yours are the same visual complexity as each other, but the block diagram has much MUCH more complexity, and the schematic has a lot more circuitry documented than the remaining ones. Which is pretty much the point. – Ben Voigt Apr 3 '14 at 21:22

@BenVoigt because a single ic schematic or straight wiring is consistent with an arduino + quad motor driver + motors + rtc + battery backup + buzzer? – Passerby Apr 3 '14 at 22:46

Guess I was thinking of the connection to the Arduino as a connector, and not the entire Arduino. (The Fritzing diagram doesn't show the topology of the Arduino either). Actually it probably should be equated to four distinct connectors on the schematic. since the Fritzing diagram does distinguish four connectors. So that would add a little to the schematic complexity. Still quite close. A schematic would represent connections to motors and buzzers as two pin connectors, for which the two-pad discretes are a good standin. – Ben Voigt Apr 3 '14 at 22:54

The purpose of a schematic, generally speaking, is to show those aspects of something which are most relevant to understanding it, at the expense of changing details which are less relevant. For electrical schematics, the biggest thing that's omitted is an accurate sense of physical layout, but schematics may also omit certain forms of "regular" wiring (as a common historical example, if a device had ten vacuum tubes with filaments wired in series, and the filaments didn't connect to anything else, a note saying how the filaments were connected would be more meaningful than would be lines on the schematic connecting them together). Additionally, schematics may sometimes indicate that a certain sub-circuit should be repeated some number of times, possibly with some slight variation. It may not be possible to build a device with such orderly repetition (e.g. a device may have four groups of six subcircuits, but the shape of the available space may require the subcircuits be laid out in a 5x5 grid) but someone reading the schematic generally won't care about the physical arrangement.

It's interesting to note that while "schematics" are most often used with electric/electronic circuit designs, the same principles can also be applied to fields like plumbing or even cartography. Modern subway "maps" are functionally more like circuit diagrams than maps, giving more attention how stations are connected than to their actual locations--an innovation which debuted with Henry C. Beck's 1931 map of the London Underground.

answered Apr 3 '14 at 16:52

Other articles

Critical Thinking

Venn Diagrams

An alternate method for determining the validity of categorical syllogisms is the Venn diagram method. The conventions of this method are 1.) to represent categorical claims with interlocking circles; 2.) each circle represents a term; 3.) an asterisk indicates that at least one thing exists in the area where it is placed; 4.) stroking out an area indicates that there is nothing in that area. The 4 kinds of categorical propositions can then be diagrammed as follows:

The only diagram likely to cause some difficulty in that for the A proposition. The idea is that if no S's exist outside the P circle (diagrammed by stroking that area out), then all the S's that can exist are also P's (i.e. All S are P).

In order to use these diagrams to test for validity we must link three circles together. A categorical syllogism has three terms and since each circle represents one term, three circles will be needed. Any of the three propositions in the syllogism can be diagrammed by using the two circles which represent that proposition's terms and (in some ways) ignoring the third circle.

To test for validity one diagrams only the two premises. Then one looks at the diagram to see whether anything would need to be added to diagram the conclusion. Since the conclusions of valid arguments do not claim more than the information given in their premises, if more would have to be added to diagram the conclusion, that conclusion must claim more than the information given in the premises and hence be invalid. In the event of an invalid argument one leaves the conclusion undiagrammed to demonstrate the invalidity of the argument.


We will diagram this argument: No M are P
All S are M
No S are P

Second Diagram No M are P All S are M

The first diagram shows the information given in the major premise. The second diagram adds to the first diagram the information from the minor premise. The third diagram here is unnecessary, but is included merely to show which areas must be shaded for the conclusion to be diagrammed. Since these areas are indeed shaded in the second diagram, the argument is valid. The fact that the second diagram contains more information than needed to diagram the conclusion does not matter.

Unfortunately complications may arise. Consider this argument: Some M are P
No M are S
Some S are not P When one tries to diagram the major premise one finds a line passing through the area where one must place the asterisk. Which side of the line does one place the asterisk? Or does one place it on the line? Often times one has no choice but to place the asterisk right on the line. When one places an asterisk on the line it means that one does not know, on the basis of the information given in the premises, which side of the line it goes; one does not know which area has at least one member. But in this case the minor premise is a universal proposition. Whenever one has a universal premise and a particular premise, one should diagram the universal premise first. because it may give us information about where the asterisk cannot go, by eliminating one side of the line.

Notice now that the conclusion requires that an asterisk be placed in the part of the S circle outside the P circle (the leftmost area in the S circle). Since no asterisk is in this area, the argument is invalid.

A last example is needed to show how to handle asterisks when they are on a line. Some M are P
Some S are M
Some S are P

In this argument the conclusion diagrammed would place an asterisk in the area common to both the S circle and the P circle. Clearly the lower portion of that common area is empty. But the top area has two asterisks on its border lines. Is this enough for the argument to be valid? No. Remember what an asterisk on the line means: one does not know to which side of the line it belongs. But the conclusion claims that it is known to belong in the very middle area, which is clearly more information than the diagram gives us. So the argument is invalid.

Warning: Web Page Notes are not intended as a substitute for attending lectures.

Argument Mapping and Teaching Critical Thinking APA Chicago April 17

Argument Mapping and Teaching Critical Thinking APA Chicago April 17/08 Douglas Walton CRRAR Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation & Rhetoric: Presentation on theme: "Argument Mapping and Teaching Critical Thinking APA Chicago April 17/08 Douglas Walton CRRAR Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation & Rhetoric:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Argument Mapping and Teaching Critical Thinking APA Chicago April 17/08 Douglas Walton CRRAR Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation & Rhetoric: U. of Windsor

2 Wikipedia: entry on Diagramming Diagramming software consists of computer programs that are used to produce graphical programsdiagrams [edit] Types of diagramming softwareedit User-generated diagrams. As computer users seek to represent visual information, such as a flowchart, tools such as Schematic, SmartDraw, Dia, OmniGraffle, Microsoft Visio, Inspiration, ConceptDraw 7, allow them to express the information in the form of a diagram. Such programs are usually GUI-based and feature WYSIWYG diagram editing. There are also several diagramming tools available for developers, such as JGraph for the Java platform. Some user-generated diagram software is UML compatible, allowing model-driven translation between graphic representation and functional programming users informationflowchartSchematicSmartDrawDia OmniGraffleMicrosoft VisioInspirationConceptDraw 7 GUIWYSIWYGJGraphUMLmodel-driven Automatically generated diagrams. Programs are available as debugger front-ends, computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools, or profilers. Diagrams are usually automatically generated by the program.debuggercomputer-aided software engineeringprofilers

4 Araucaria Araucaria is a software tool for analyzing arguments. It aids a user in reconstructing and diagramming an argument using a simple point-and-click interface. The software also supports argumentation schemes, and provides a user-customizable set of schemes with which to analyze arguments. Once arguments have been analyzed they can be saved in a portable format called "AML", the Argument Markup Language, which is based on XML.

9 Carneades: A New Argumentation System The Carneades system for reasoning with argumentation schemes is a computational model that builds on ontologies from the semantic web to provide a platform for employing argumentation schemes in legal reasoning. The model is an abstract functional specification of a computer program that can be implemented in any programming language. It defines structures for representing various elements of argumentation, and shows how they function together in arguments. Arguments in the Carneades system can be visualized using an argument diagram because the basic structure it uses, the model of the semantic web, is that of the directed labeled graph. Thomas F. Gordon, Henry Prakken and Douglas Walton, ‘The Carneades Model of Argument and Burden of Proof’, Artificial Intelligence, 171, 2007, 875-896.

11 Enthymemes Enthymemes are arguments with missing premises. These are premises that were not explicitly stated in the text, but are needed or used in the argument. Sometimes the missing part can be the conclusion. Sometimes an argumentation scheme can help to identify a missing part.

12 Instrumental Scheme for Practical Reasoning I have a goal G. Bringing about A is necessary (or sufficient) for me to bring about G. Therefore, I should (practically ought to) bring about A.

13 Scheme for Value-based Practical Reasoning I have a goal G. G is supported by my set of values, V. Bringing about A is necessary (or sufficient) for me to bring about G. Therefore, I should (practically ought to) bring about A.

14 The Scalpicin Example Harry has an itchy scalp. He needs Scalpicin. [Explicit argument in TV commercial] Harry needs something that would make his scalp no longer itchy [assumption]. Scalpicin would make his scalp no longer itchy [assumption]. An itchy scalp is a bad condition or problem (negative value) [assumption]. A bad condition is something that should be removed if possible [assumption].

16 Three Bases for the Enthymeme Argumentation Schemes Common Knowledge Commitment Using argument diagrams is a way to bring all three bases together and find the missing premises or conclusions in a given case. Douglas Walton, ‘The Three Bases for the Enthymeme: A Dialogical Theory’, Journal of AppliedLogic,

17 The Animal Freedom Example Animals in captivity are freer than in nature. [Claim made: conclusion of argument] There are no natural predators to kill animals that are in captivity. [Reason given to support claim: premise] What are the missing premises?

18 Implicit Premises There are natural predators to kill animals that are in nature. [Implicit assumption based on common knowledge] If animals are in a place where there are no natural predators to kill them, they are freer than if they are in a place where there are natural predators to kill them. [Arguer’s commitment]

20 References Glenn Rowe, Fabrizio Macagno, Chris Reed and Doug Walton, ‘Araucaria as a Tool for Diagramming Arguments in Teaching and Studying Philosophy’, Teaching Philosophy, 29, 2006, 111- 124. Chris Reed, Douglas Walton and Fabrizio Macagno, ‘Argument Diagramming in Logic, Law and Artificial Intelligence’, Knowledge Engineering Review, 22, 2007, 87-109. Thomas F. Gordon, Henry Prakken and Douglas Walton, ‘The Carneades Model of Argument and Burden of Proof’, Artificial Intelligence, 171, 2007, 875-896. Douglas Walton, ‘The Three Bases for the Enthymeme: A Dialogical Theory’, Journal of Applied Logic, to appear. 2008. All these papers are available as pdf files on the website of Douglas Walton:

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Digital Piano Report - by Ericmuca

Digital Piano Report

Purpose of Creating Project

The purpose of creating our own project is so we can enhance our critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is something that will help us in the future. Something that is very beneficial to us. This will not only help us in this class, but also help us further in our studies for whatever career or path we choose to take. Critical thinking is very hard to enhance in a student as it is not easy to pick up. But if learned at an early stage in life, it can be used to the student’s advantage for future projects and assignments. But this is not the only thing that is meant to be learned from this project. There are many other things that we as students can learn from this project, such as familiarizing ourselves with the different types of programs that engineers of today may use. Some programs include, Circuit Maker and Super PCB. Moving on, we as students have to fully understand the function that components such as the 555 timer, resistors and capacitors. Components which are very critical in the engineering world today. Additionally, we must prove that we can easily assemble a circuit and troubleshoot our own circuits. In conclusion, the main purpose of creating our own project is to simply enhance our critical thinking to a point where we can utilize it at any point in time in the present and near future.

Before even starting the assembly of the circuit we first had to make sure we had all the components and parts listed in order to build it.

Designing the Circuit

Firstly, we must start by.

UI Critical Thinking Handbook: Chapter Eight - Applications

Chapter Eight: Implementing Critical Thinking Skills

The primary element of the theoretical narrative in this chapter is the flowchart, which brings the three stages together in a dynamic way. In addition, the narrative addresses the role of judgment, style, rationality, and the passions in the process of critical thinking. The applications to follow are designed to aid students in piecing all parts of the process together. If the students have worked through exercises described in previous chapters, they are in a position to do it all on their own. I conclude this part with a discussion of rubrics. which bring all parts of the process together but are simple enough to aid you in setting your course up for critical thinking work

When all is said and done, one should have in place a flexible and powerful B.S. detector. Think of the flowchart in the Theory section of this chapter as the schematic diagram of this detector. If things have gone well, your students should have internalized something like this, i.e. a networked set of guidelines that aids them in constructing arguments of their own and evaluating arguments of others. If something stinks, the detector will announce it; if not, then the detector will chug along until you have a compelling argument or a favorable evaluation. For an image, think of an inverted tree-like array of connected flags that pop up in a certain order as one moves through the process of critical thinking, with certain paths signaling good arguments and other paths signaling bad ones. It is useful to think of it like this, since you can describe the detector as the product that explicit instruction in critical thinking delivers.

  1. Don't put it all together too soon. You should work on the parts---i.e. argument identification, (re)construction, and evaluation---early and often, both independently and in combination. Save the detailed, start-to-finish argument analysis until near the end of the class. Trying to do this all too soon will smudge the conceptual boundaries that separate the stages, and that will make it difficult to acquire conscious appreciation for the complexity of the critical thinking process.
  • Tie the model you use to the skills list you use. Much of the discussion in the theoretical narrative after Chapter Two has focused on the three-stage model of critical thinking. The skills mentioned in Chapter Two have been mentioned and employed, but they have not been the primary focus. In your class, it might behoove you to make sure that they are more integrally linked. (One way to do this is developed and defended in the Theory section of Chapter Three.) For instance, early it might be better to focus on the skills. Students will be familiar with most of them from other contexts, and you can trade that familiarity in for some early work on critical thinking. As the course moves along, however, and you develop the three-stage model, you should discuss the ways in which the skills come into play. By the end, your students should have a pretty good idea of the stages at which a given skill is typically applied.
  • Develop your own flowchart. The flowchart I have supplied is general and represents one way to lay out the process of critical thinking as it is manifested across a wide range of circumstances. Most implementations of this handbook will not be so general; rather, they will be embedded in a certain thematic and/or disciplinary context. After you are proficient in the exercise of critical thinking skills, It is useful to develop your own subject-specific flowchart. Do this by reflecting on how you attack a problem or construct an argument in your own discipline, noting the methods used and questions asked. You develop flowcharts of this sort by distilling patterns of inquiry from an array of specific instances of inquiry. This requires recognition of the inquiry and then conscious appreciation for its steps and nuances.
  • Note stylistic differences. It will become apparent early that people approach arguments in different ways. Some are inclined to see arguments where others see none, and people will reconstruct and evaluate arguments in very different ways. It is important to call attention to these differences. Granted, not all attempts will be acceptable, but there are typically many distinct ways to think critically about an argument. One valuable upshot of this emphasis is comfort---a student will be less anxious about the process of critical thinking if they know that they can do it in a way that is consistent with their own intellectual approach than if they felt that they must dramatically change the way they do intellectual business.
  • Don't downplay the passions. Critical thinking can get in the way of a passionate response, or it can itself be a passionate response. Do not ignore the importance and the prevalence of passionate actions and reactions. There will be times when critical thinking just gets in the way. Talk about these times---make sure that they know that it is not a one-size-fits-all tool for every job. Take advantage of contexts in which you plan to do no critical thinking to comment that critical thinking is not especially appropriate, given the context and your goals. At other times, critical thinking can itself become passionate, since evaluation is often a highly charged emotional affair. This can be a good thing, but the passions can also get in the way. Call attention to this---perhaps in a discussion that gets a bit raucous, or in a text that goes a bit too far into hyperbole. Without passion, life is a tedious daily grind until death mercifully brings the whole business to a halt; don't let students think that critical thinking is only valuable to those who embrace the grind.
    1. Have the students develop their own flowcharts. Just as this exercise is useful for you, so too is it useful for your students. Asking the students to do this in groups, or perhaps on their own, can be an effective way of reinforcing their own understanding of the process as it has informed work in your class. (You might wish to do it in discussion, if you believe that it is too daunting as a group or individual exercise.)
  • Have students work out the relationships between the outcomes of a group critical thinking exercise. If you break a class up into groups and give them a single argumentative text to analyze, you will almost always get as many different results as there are groups. Don't just let this go without comment. Ask the students in discussion to work out the relationships and differences between these results. Have them work out which differences are stylistic and which are more substantive. Often, the differences will reflect varying emphases, but they may also represent different degrees of charity as well as different approaches to what is tacit in the text. This is a way of calling attention to the variety of intellectual styles and to the fact that superficial differences can conceal deep similarities. Perhaps more importantly, this is a way to keep the critical thinking dialogue going at a level where the students have more at stake.
  • Have students "put it all together" on their own. Raise an issue that is relevant to the topic of your course and then let the students identify, reconstruct, and evaluate two opposing positions on this issue. Ask them to make a decision for themselves between these positions and defend their choice. Have them report this in a 5 to 6 page essay, or in an oral presentation. Be sure to follow up the assignment with a discussion that allows the students to talk amongst themselves about the variations in their results.
  • Keep a critical thinking journal. As soon as your students know enough about critical thinking to do it on their own in a conscious and reflective way, have them keep a journal in which they record the details of episodes in which they think critically. This will help them attend to the various stages of the process, and will also enable them to work on aspects that they find troublesome. This should focus on critical thinking episodes that show up outside of class. Ask for, say, 10 entries by semester's end.
  • Assign three-part writing assignments. Have them locate an argumentative text (or distribute one) and assign 2 to 3 page argument analysis essays on this text. If the text is lengthy or argumentatively complex, focus them on a part of it that contains a single argument. It is better in these essays to have them attend to the details; given this, one argument will suffice. You can either assign them the argument, or you can have them locate it. If you are nearing the end of the course, it might be time to let them demonstrate their argument identification ability by selecting their own argument for analysis. (To this end, I recommend the "one paragraph rule", which has students concentrate on arguments that fit inside a single paragraph; arguments much larger than this will be difficult to treat comprehensively in an essay of this size.) The essays will contain three sections. In the first section, they should identify the location and nature of the argument they have selected for evaluation. The second section contains their reconstruction of this argument, with both explicit and tacit steps indicated. The final section itself has two parts. The first will detail their understanding of how the author intended the argument to work, and the second will contain their own evaluation of the argument, be it critical or supportive. Either way, the second sub-section should contain an argument of their own. All of the sections but the last sub-section should be charitable.
  • Full-blown debates. These are very useful if you have the time and a topic that deserves special attention. Select a issue that is debatable and divide the class up into as many groups as their are sides to the issue. Give them a week and one or two class periods to prepare (one if TR, two if MWF). Devote the last class of the week to the debate. Have the groups appoint a spokesperson to make the initial case, which will take from 5 to 10 minutes. Give them all 5 minutes to work up a rebuttal, and then another 3 minutes in which to rebut the arguments of the other side(s). End with a general discussion of the debate. This is effective in that it forces groups to think not only about arguments that work for their conclusions, but also about the arguments that could be raised as objections to their conclusions. Thus, they approach arguments as both producers and consumers. It is good to do this near the end of the semester.
  • Use role-playing exercises. If critical thinking derives its importance in your area because of its connection with certain specific roles, have the students engage in role playing exercises where they must employ the process on their feet. For example, if you are training military officers who must solve problems and direct soldiers with limited information and limited time, it is effective to put them into situations where they must make quick decisions among options. An effectively designed role-playing exercise can be used to teach the critical thinking process in this context and to test the extent to which it has been learned.
  • III.1 Describing Rubrics

    Rubrics are authoritative rules that guide conduct. In a class where critical thinking is a point of emphasis, a rubric can be created that aids you and your students as you critically engage topics and texts. This rubric would be a brief set of subject specific rules that guide evaluation by structuring engagement. These rules should serve double duty---they would embody the spirit of the critical thinking model you employ, and they would serve as a lens on the course material, bringing into focus those aspects of the topics and texts about which you want students to think critically. Think of the rubric as a study guide schema that can be applied to many different texts throughout a course. Each time a new topic is broached or text cracked for the purpose of critical thinking instruction, students would inspect the text to see how the rules that constitute the rubric are applied in it. An instrument such as this makes it easier for new students of critical thinking to engage in analysis, and it also helps ensure consistency of evaluation across the class.

    Rubrics should be fairly specific, drawing on the subject matter of a course. Any course in which critical thinking is taught in an embedded way could be enhanced with rubrics. In general, these instruments will be associated with topics or themes. In a course that is developed around a them, such as a Core Discovery course, one rubric may be all that is needed. In courses that are more thematically diverse, you might wish to develop one rubric per theme. (This is not necessary, of course, if you wish only to use one of the themes to teach critical thinking.) There are several ways to develop a rubric. After a review of the texts you plan to assign, you might identify their essential dimensions and then create a rule that captures the way in which each dimension structures the overall topic. Alternatively, you might develop a set of general study questions for each text and then identify commonalities among these questions, converting the commonalities into rules. Each rule should be the kind of thing that focuses the student on an aspect of a text that is crucial to their understanding of the text itself as well as its relation to the broader theme. (Of course, not every rule may apply to every text; when this happens, though, you should make a point of noting it.)

    A well-designed rubric will help initiate the process of critical thinking. In the first place, it will focus student attention on what really matters for the purpose of the course, and that will help them home in on the arguments that are most fundamental. Second, by helping them identify what has less importance, it will aid them as they search out claims to use in reconstructing arguments. Third, it will structure their evaluation of the text relative to the course goals, since it will reinforce the dimensions along with analysis should take place. Finally, it will help bring a measure of systematicity and coherence to the various evaluations conducted throughout a semester. By using the rubric consistently, students will come to appreciate relationships among texts, and this will make it easier for them to forge a coherent understanding of the course as a whole. Of course, the rubric won't do the work for them---they must know when and how to apply it, and they must use it effectively. Students won't be able to plug it in and thoughtlessly generate argument identifications, reconstructions, and evaluations, but it will point them in the right direction.

    III.2 Illustrating Rubrics

    1. Philosophy 202---Symbolic Logic (Michael O'Rourke). Much of the work in this class involves constructing and evaluating proofs in a first-order deductive proof system. These are highly stylized arguments, with premises that lead to conclusions in conformity with strict inference rules. The practice of proof helps students come to appreciate the nature of the following relation that obtains between conclusion and premises, which is a focal theme of the course. Given this, I have constructed a rubric that aids students in constructing and evaluating proofs. I encourage my students to apply this rubric whenever they set down to do a proof. The elements of the rubric are sequentially ordered, and are cast as questions that can be asked of a particular proof problem. Taken together, they constitute a flowchart that can guide the process of proof construction. They are as follows:
    1. Can you convince yourself that the conclusion follows from the premises? If so, move to (2).
  • Are there any proof steps (i.e. a certain type of inference rule --- see Inference Rules ) that can be applied to simplify the premises? If there are, apply them until the premises are as simple as possible and move to (3), or your reach your conclusion, in which case STOP. If there are not, move to (3).
  • Are there any conclusion-driven proof methods (i.e. a second type of inference rule --- see Inference Rules ) that can be applied? If so, apply them to set up a sub-proof and fill out the details of the sub-proof by returning to (1) and restarting the process for that sub-proof. If not, go to (4).
  • Are there any premise-driven proof methods (i.e. a third type of inference rule --- see Inference Rules ) that apply? If so, apply them to set up a sub-proof and fill out the details of the sub-proof by returning to (1) and restarting the process for that sub-proof. If not, go to (5).
  • Set up a proof by contradiction (see Inference Rules ) and return to (1) to begin filling out the details of the sub-proof.

    For more details about this rubric, see the Philosophy 202 homepage, and the Proof Strategies handout in particular. This rubric supplies a set of rules that guides my logic students as they construct arguments that meet certain constraints. Granted, these are very formal arguments, but the process is no different from the standard critical thinking process for being more abstract.

  • Core 101---The Monsters We Make (Kerry McKeever, Michael O'Rourke, Dean Panttaja, George Wray). This class is a year-long exploration of both monsters and the themes surrounding the concept of monstrosity. We will look at the creation, development, and multiple reiterations of the monstrous, through both classic and contemporary works in literature, film, and art. Application of this information will help the student identify the societal, political, and cultural mechanisms used to influence and shape contemporary conceptions of the monster in the real world. In other words, the course will focus on the dynamic of demonization---how it works and how we work it. Since this is a Core Discovery course, we are required to teach critical thinking in an explicit way to our students. To aid us in this, we have designed a thematic rubric that will structure our initial engagement with each text we study.

    There are two ways to characterize this rubric. First, one can think of it dimensionally. The dominant dimensions are those of essence and process. In our texts, there are two roles whose essence concern us, viz. the monster and the person(s) who make the monster (i.e. the maker ). Who fills these roles in the text and why/how do they fill them? At any given point in the text, one can inquire as to who fills these roles. However, since these texts tend to have narratives that unfold in time, we have our second dimension, process. which can be seen as orthogonal to the essence dimension. The role of monster may be filled at one time by one character and by another character at a different time. Likewise for the maker. The process dimension focuses attention on the changes in the way these roles are filled in the text, and why those changes come to pass.

    Second, the rubric can be cast as a set of questions. The first form supports a somewhat visual understanding of the rubric, but this form is more portable and easier to apply to texts. The questions we will have our students ask of each text are as follows:

    1. Who is the monster?
  • Why are they a monster?
  • Who makes the monster?
  • Why do they make the monster?
  • How do the answers to these questions change through the text?
  • These are simple and easy to commit to memory, but they will work to ensure that our students take what we want them to take from the texts we assign. Further, it will focus their attention on those aspects of the texts that can be regarded as argumentative, smoothing the way for serious critical thinking exercise. For more details, see the Monsters homepage or the Rubric handout.