Critical Thinking 1.2

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Hi everyone and welcome to the lesson.

When we think about the experience of transitioning to university,

the idea of culture is a helpful metaphor.

So what is academic culture?

Jean Brick's definition is useful here.

She defines academic culture as the attitudes, values and

ways of behaving, that is shared by the people who work or study in universities.

So we're starting to get this idea of academic culture as a community.

With particular ways of thinking about things, doing things, and

also valuing certain things.

But what are these core values that make up academic culture?

Among the core values of academic culture, there are things like, research skills,

critical thinking, digital literacy, and the ability to communicate in different

forms for an academic context, along with many more values.

We spoke to some academics to find out how they define academic culture and

its core values.


>> Academic knowledge is shaped by our core mission,

through a shared understanding that we've developed over many years,

of the ways to advance the discovery and sharing of knowledge.

I've mentioned four things.

The first is the contingent nature of knowledge.

The fact that at any moment our understanding of the world may be turned

upside down by new discoveries.

And therefore the need to be open always, to alternative perspectives,

new ideas, and critical reflection by ourselves and others.

The second is the importance of scholarly rigor, and the need to be able to

explain to others with care and precision, on whose work we're drawing,

the assumptions were making, the lines of reasoning we're taking, and

the evidence that we're bringing to bear to make an inference.

The third is the recognition that knowledge, discovery, and

sharing, is a collective enterprise.

That discovery's enhance through collaboration, through publication and

sharing of ideas, and the importance of review by peers, of our work.

The final one is a recognition that understanding is enhanced through

the bringing together of different perspectives.

The idea that new ideas and

approaches often come by putting together things that are very different,

whether they come from different disciplines or different cultures.

>> So academic culture is a shared set of ideas.

It's about generating knowledge.

It's about generating new knowledge and new discoveries.

That might be medicines, that might be technology, it might be a poem.

But it's about respecting ideas and respecting knowledge.

>> Academic culture is actually a very broad concept, but

fundamentally it can be brought down to a way of thinking.

So this is about the beliefs, core values, and

expectations that are shared in an academic community.

And these core believes and expectations actually under pin the way we think,

the way we study, the way we work, throughout our university life.

>> Academic culture is a very interesting thing to describe.

It's quite difficult, but one way that I help conceptualize

what academic culture is, is by describing it like onion.

You have different layers that you have to peel off,

and each layer reveals something new.

So you might have the outer layer of the onion.

A cultural onion, so to speak, would be the environment that you are in.

And then an additional smaller layer might be then the behaviors that you exhibit,

and then inside, in the very, very small part is the core.

Values and beliefs that you might have.

So these would be values around what you study, values around what

your background is, and values that you gain probably from your family.


>> So an academic life in universities is all about expressing ideas about knowledge

and developing knowledge.

So when you're discussing knowledge,

it's always very important to talk about where those idea came from.

Were they ideas that you generated, or are you building on somebody else's ideas?

Did you take an idea from a paper?

Did you take an idea from a website?

From a newspaper?

From a film?

If you took an idea from somewhere else, then it is not your idea, and

it is important to make sure you reference where that idea came from.

And then when you develop ideas, when you develop new knowledge,

you'll expect your name to be associated with that.

And people will build on your ideas and they'll reference you.


>> Independent learning is also a core expectation of academic culture.

Students are expected to work on their own, to research

and develop their ideas, and present their ideas in assignments.

Lecturers are considered more as facilitators rather than teachers.

And it's important to realize that they won't always be there to hold your

hand and to teach you, that a lot of that honors actually falls on yourself.

And that's very, very important.


>> So central to academic culture is critical thinking.

Now critical thinking isn't like being critical of people

as we have in the rest of our lives.

It's not about pulling people apart and being nasty to them.

Critical thinking is about taking an idea, not a person, an idea, and analyzing it.

Taking your current set of knowledge, your current set of ideas that you have, and

try to investigate whether that idea makes sense, and whether you can approve it.

Can we improve it, can we discover new knowledge?


>> Core values and expectations of academic culture,

I would say probably number one would be inquiry, would be the sense we're

trying to find things out, we're trying to discover new knowledge.

That's what we do research for,

we trying to find out new facts, that's probably the central one.

Another one that's really crucial is clarity

of expression in communicating those facts.

So we find out things through our research,

and a major thing of what we do in academic culture is communicate them.

So we need to be able to communicate them with clarity, whether we're teaching or

whether we're talking with the public or talking to people about what we do.

And then I think a third thing would be that we need to be able

to apply that knowledge, and part of the culture is to think about ways to do that.

Think about ways to not just communicate things, but

figure out ways in which we can take our findings and improve things,

improve the world, lead to new discoveries, build on what we've done.


>> So assessment at university is not quite like in other places,

because it's all about ideas.

Is not just going to be about memorizing facts,

it can be just about learning what's in your lecture or

learning what's in a book, it's going to be about thinking about that idea,

thinking about those facts, and taking them somewhere new.

And so don't expect to able to memorize things,

you really got to able to talk about it from your point of view, and and

express your thoughts on what the question is asking.


>> And finally, I'd mention a responsibility for

ethical and positive contribution.

We need to use our knowledge in ways that are ethical, and

make a positive contribution to the communities to which we belong,

whether they're local, regional, or global.

>> So, now we've got some ideas about what academic culture is and

its core values, let's have a think about you and your transition into this culture.

You already know lots of things about different topics, and have skills and

ideas about learning, and you should bring all this prior knowledge to your studies.

What we aim to do in this course is to build on these existing skills, and

help you not only develop new skills, but also help you become familiar with

the attitudes, values, and ways of behaving within academic culture.

So even though we've looked at a general definition of what academic culture is in

this lesson, the whole course will investigate this in greater detail.

And in doing this, we hope to support you in not only surviving, but

fully participating and getting the most out of university.

When you start university you'll have lots of questions, and

when you finish university you may have even more questions.

But the important thing to remember is that learning is lifelong, and that you'll

always be developing and building on your skills throughout university and beyond.


Dr. Hokey Min offers a practical, easy-to-understand introduction to business analytics including: the origin and evolution; developing analytical thinking; operationalizing Big Data from global perspectives; extracting useful information from Big Data; unique challenges for business analytics; capitalizing on business analytics for building a winning global strategy.

This chapter is from the book 

1.1 The Origin and Evolution of Business Analytics

In the era of knowledge economy, getting the right information to decision makers at the right time is critical to their business success. One such attempt includes the growing use of business analytics. Generally speaking, business analytics refers to a broad use of various quantitative techniques such as statistics, data mining, optimization tools, and simulation supported by the query and reporting mechanism to assist decision makers in making more informed decisions within a closed-loop framework seeking continuous process improvement through monitoring and learning. Business analytics also helps the decision maker predict the future business activities based on the analysis of historical patterns of past business activities. For example, your nearby grocery chain, such as Kroger, might frequently issue discount coupons tailored for each customer based on his past shopping patterns. This practice encourages the customer to consider buying the discounted but favorite items repeatedly, while building customer loyalty. This practice is possible, since a smart use of business analytics allows the grocery store to figure out which items are likely to be purchased by which customer in his next grocery shopping trip. Likewise, application potentials of business analytics are enormous given the abundant data available from the digital and mobile data sources.

Although business analytics has been rapidly gaining popularity among practitioners and academicians alike in the recent past, its conceptual foundation has existed for centuries. One of the first forms of business analytics may be statistics whose uses can be traced back at least to the biblical times in ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Rome. Regardless of historical facts, its longevity may be attributed to its usefulness for helping the policy maker (including ancient rulers or kings) make a better decision. In other words, whatever the form of business analytics may be, it would help us answer the following fundamental questions critical for decision making:

  1. What happened?

    • What did the data tell us?
  2. Why did a certain event take place?

    • Why did it happen?
    • What are the sources of problems?
  3. Will the same event take place?

    • Will the problem recur?
    • Are there any noticeable patterns of the problem?
  4. What will happen if we change what we used to do?

    • How can we deal with the recurring problem?
    • What is the value the change will bring?
  5. How can we ensure that our changed practices actually work?

    • Is there scientific evidence indicating the validity and usefulness of our changed practices?

By answering the preceding questions, business analytics aims to accomplish these various goals:

  • Gaining insights into business practices and customer behaviors: Business analytics is designed to transform unstructured, nonstandardized big data originated from multiple sources into meaningful information helpful for a better business decision.
  • Improving predictability: By deriving insights into customer behavioral patterns and market trends, business analytics can improve the organization’s ability to make demand forecast more accurately.
  • Identifying risk: With growing complexity and uncertainty resulting from the globalization of business activities, many organizations encounter the daunting tasks of managing risk. Risk cannot be managed without identifying it and then preparing for it. Business analytics can function as an early warning system for detecting the signs or symptoms of potential troubles by dissecting the business patterns (e.g., shrinking market share, a higher rate of customer defection, declining stock price).
  • Improving the effectiveness of communication: With the query and reporting mechanism of business analytics, it can not only speed up the reporting procedures, but also provide user-friendly reports including “what-if” scenarios. Such reports can be a valuable communication tool among the decision makers and thus would help the management team make more timely and accurate business decisions.
  • Enhancing operating efficiency: By aiding the decision maker in understanding the way business works and where the greatest business opportunities are, business analytics can decrease the chances of making poor investment decisions and misallocating the company’s resources and thus would help improve the company’s operating efficiency.


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