ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Martha Mann

Second Advisor

Daniel S Levine

Third Advisor

Jared B Kenworthy

Fourth Advisor

Samuel P. Smith

Fifth Advisor

Angela Liegey-Dougall


Critical thinking (CT) has become a hot topic in academic and mainstream media, where the development of these skills may influence efficacy and productivity in educational and career environments, potentially impacting academic success, employability, and even routine decisions encountered in everyday life. Since the learning environment is germane to reinforcement of CT skills and as institutions shift towards online learning, the online classroom has potential for influencing CT skills and cultivating technically adept high-quality college graduates. The current project sought to investigate relationships between CT and course outcomes within multiple semesters of an online Developmental Psychology course. Data were comprised of the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment, student metrics and course performance measures across eight course sections of the online course. Relationships were revealed for student majors, levels of student participation, and changes in CT measures through the course progression. Differences in CT measures were revealed by major, and course performance differed by major and the expectation of completing discussion posts. CT measures were predominantly correlated across the duration of the semester, and several performance measures were also correlated with CT measures. Contrary to the hypothesized effects, discussion postings were inversely related to CT and course performance, such that students who did not participate in discussion postings had higher performance (against the perceptions of educators). As a whole, the results suggest potential influences of CT skills in online learning, but further investigation is needed to refine CT interventions and to identify students most likely to benefit from such activities.


Critical thinking, Online learning


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons