Study Reported by The Wall Street Journal: Most Students Cannot Distinguish between Real and Fake News


A Stanford University study,  reported by the Wall Street Journal and summarized in the following video link, demonstrated that 82% of almost 8000 students from elementary school through college cannot distinguish real from fake news.   Framed from the perspective of biomedical education, this is a disconcerting thought, and demonstrates the imperative for active creation of learning opportunities for future physicians, veterinarians and dentists to learn how to distinguish quality information from hearsay, opinion, and “gut feelings.”


Gen Z in the Classroom: Worldwide Study


A very interesting study about Generation Z students and their comfort with technology, their expectations for their education, as well as their perception as well as their teachers’ perception of their creativity, and preparedness for the future. International differences are highlighted showing varying levels of student concern about their education.  The study certainly supports the idea that student creativity should be harnessed through hands-on activities, some of which should involve the digital technologies which they use routinely in their daily lives. Also quite interesting was their own perception of how important critical thinking was to their future, and note the above word cloud of “Dream Jobs”!

When Truth Becomes a Commodity: Chronicle of Higher Education


The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a series of articles, some viewable without a subscription, about our “post-truth” world as it relates to discourse of any sort, but, in particular, how it affects and should be viewed by educators.  Regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum, the recommendations at the end of the following article by Daniel T. Rodgers call for a return to full discourse about what constitutes “truth” in science. This needs to occur when it comes to evaluating the science that impacts the practice of veterinary medicine. As a clinical pharmacologist, I am constantly amazed at the beliefs that vets (and MDs) sometimes develop in a new or untested therapy before careful studies have been performed.  So, in effect, making life and death decisions about therapy turns into, to a large extent, an “opinion” about a therapy that “sounds good” (i.e. in one’s gut, not necessarily in one’s cranium).   So, in today’s world of Google searches for “facts” that can back up virtually any opinion, what chance to we have to turn the tide on our students to make them, first and foremost, a “skeptic” (that’s a good thing) about the fundamental “truths” of their practice?

When Truth Becomes a Commodity

The Fine Art of Sniffing out Crappy Science: Chronicle of Higher Ed


The title speaks for itself!  However, isn’t that what we should be teaching our future medical professionals every day?  Veterinary medicine has the perhaps unique distinction of the “one and done” phenomen, where a study is done, and even if underpowered with inadequate cases, such a study is rarely repeated as it might be in human medicine.   As a result, veterinarians, even going on “best evidence,” need to realize how razor thin some of this evidence actually is!

And you also might be interested in their course title and syllabus

Meta-Analysis on the Teaching of Critical Thinking


In the Review of Educational Research, there is a meta-analysis study by Huber and Kuncel entitled “Does College Teach Critical Thinking? A Meta-Analysis” (see attached). This and other related studies can be found at:

This meta-analysis of 77 educational studies concludes that college itself tends to improve critical thinking as measured by general critical thinking skills tests like the Watson-Glaser or California Critical Thinking Test or the Cornell, Level Z test.   However, they note that nursing has instituted as part of its accreditation requirements, training in critical thinking, and they chose to evaluate these studies separately, noting that systematic program-long efforts such as have been taken in nursing training has led to improvements in general critical thinking, but more importantly in discipline-specific critical thinking.  Why shouldn’t we seek the same for veterinary medicine?

Video from Critical Thinking Workshop: Univ of Illinois

A research team the universities schools of veterinary medicine, medicine, education, and engineering, have been studying approaches to complex case analysis exercises for students.  The workshop title was: “Complex Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: Online Tools and Computational Approaches”
and the link to the YouTube playlist of the ~1.5 hr workshop is below: