Critical Thinking Across the European Higher Education Curricula Erasmus Project

General information for the Critical Thinking Across the European Higher Education Curricula Erasmus Project

Critical Thinking Across the European Higher Education Curricula Erasmus Project
July 7, 2020 12:00 am
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Project Title

Critical Thinking Across the European Higher Education Curricula

Project Key Action

This project related with these key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Project Action Type

This project related with this action type : Strategic Partnerships for higher education

Project Call Year

This project’s Call Year is 2016

Project Topics

This project is related with these Project Topics: Overcoming skills mismatches (basic/transversal); Quality Assurance; New innovative curricula/educational methods/development of training courses

Project Summary

CRITHINKEDU arises both from the background and ongoing concern of some European Higher Education Institutions (EHEI), business corporations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) to better support and align the development of students’ Critical Thinking (CT) with labour market needs and societal challenges.
Led by a partnership of 10 EHEI and 1 NGO from 9 different countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Spain), its main goal was to elaborate quality recommendations for CT education through the proposal of an educational protocol.
The project carried-out several research and training activities, leading to the development of 6 innovative outputs that can be assumed as a pioneer toolkit to the sustainability of CT education around the European Higher Education Area (EHEA):

OUTPUT 1 (O1) – A European collection of CT skills and dispositions needed in different professional fields for the 21st century, driven by the analysis of 32 focus groups enrolling 189 professionals of the following fields: Biomedicine, STEM, Social Sciences and Humanities. It represents the specificities, challenges and illustrative scenarios of current European labour market needs regarding the CT skills and dispositions foreseen in new graduates.

OUTPUT 2 (O2) – A European review on CT educational practices in Higher Education Institutions. It takes into consideration the analysis of 46 research papers and 53 teachers’ interviews. It characterizes the CT educational practices adopted by EHEI teachers and identifies the gaps between these and the labour market needs previously identified in O1. As a result, a preliminary proposal of guidelines for quality in CT education in EHEI was elaborated.

OUTPUT 3 (O3) – “The CRITHINKEDU European course on CT education for university teachers: from conception to delivery” describes the 5-day teachers’ training course, collectively designed by the partnership considering the results of O2. It aimed at supporting EHEI teachers to redesign their courses with a systematic and explicit focus on students’ CT development, based on three key topics: learning design, teaching/learning strategies and assessment. It was tested in Rome during the Learning Activity C1 and was later replicated in some national contexts. A total of 113 teachers were directly empowered by the course.
O3 provides different CT educational resources, and represents a major tool for the sustainability of the project since it is highly transferable and useful in other higher educational contexts.

OUTPUT 4 (O4) – Promoting CT in European Higher Education Institutions: towards an educational protocol. This educational protocol reflects the analysis of a large literature review within the field on one hand, and the analysis of 40 deployment scenarios implemented by EHEI teachers who attended the 5-day Rome training course (presented in O3), involving a total of 2283 students, on the other hand. It gives practical guidelines for the successful development of CT at the institutional, teaching program and course levels. The protocol triggered the elaboration of a Manifesto on Critical Thinking Education, challenging EHEI, labour market actors, and other educational stakeholders to commit themselves with the active promotion and support of CT education.

OUTPUT 5 (O5) – Special Issue on ‘CT in Higher Education’, published in the “Studies in Higher Education” journal (Vol.44, 2019). It contains 5 research papers and 3 essays which reflect some of the main project achievements. It is an important resource on CT education for the scientific community.

OUTPUT 6 (O6) – Infographic: CRITHINKEDU IMPACT REPORT – A journey on CT in European higher education. It consists in a “marketing” tool that summarizes, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the main activities and outputs achieved during the project lifetime, as well as their impact on different audiences. In sum, 65 events (e.g., workshops, conferences, bootcamps) were carried out and/or attended by the partnership, reaching 1082 external people from 38 different countries, and a total of 2637 participants were directly involved in the project activities (mainly students, teachers, professionals and other educational staff).

In general, CRITHINKEDU has contributed to considerable changes towards a more sustainable, systematic, and explicit development of CT within the EHEA, like:
• Higher awareness of the need for CT education
• Improvement of curricula design and classroom educational practices
• Enlargement of academics and researchers’ network
• Engagement of all institutional levels in supporting CT education
• Closer University-Business Cooperation for CT education
• Empowerment of teachers’ professional development and students’ CT
• Implementation of activities and teaching strategies that prompt and support CT
• Creation of CT scenarios in diverse higher education fields

EU Grant (Eur)

Funding of the project from EU: 397478 Eur

Project Coordinator

UNIVERSIDADE DE TRAS-OS-MONTES E ALTO DOURO & Country: PT

Project Partners

  • VYSOKA SKOLA EKONOMICKA V PRAZE
  • PANEPISTIMIO DYTIKIS MAKEDONIAS
  • SIUOLAIKINIU DIDAKTIKU CENTRAS
  • UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, DUBLIN
  • PANEPISTIMIO THESSALIAS
  • TECHNOLOGIKO EKPEDEFTIKO IDRYMA THESSALIAS
  • UC LEUVEN