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Critical Thinking Some notes on the midterm If you think we missed credit, please submit your defense by email to by Nov. 1. Please address each question separately according to the grading criteria . We do make mistakes, so don't be afraid to address your concerns.

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some notes on the midterm
Some notes on the midterm
  • If you think we missed credit, please submit your defense by email to by Nov. 1.
  • Please address each question separately according to the grading criteria. We do make mistakes, so don't be afraid to address your concerns.
  • In your defense, please do not use the phrase "I think I deserve more credit"... simply explain what it was we missed.
  • Remember the curve. Above 80 is EXCELLENT, above 60 is very good. Answering all questions correctly was worth approx 65 points. Demonstrating real understanding was worth more.
dream curve avg 22
Dream curve, avg = 22
  • Definition – 7 pts
  • Draw the curve, proper labels – 6 pts
    • Note: my lecture slides don’t have proper labels. Did you fix it? Or just cut-and-paste?
  • Counter argument – 10 pts - why is the Dream Curve/Waterfall method bad? e.g. hard to make changes, deadlines cause stress, “big bang” integration, all errors happen at once, many more.
  • REAL Example – 10 pts – not from class, not general “I have found…”, not “on my project we should have designed more…”, not an example from your imagination, looking for specifics.

---------------------------- also:

  • Any quotes or definitive statement without source: -5 pts
  • Lack of research, references, sources other than your notes/class lectures: -5 pts – did youGoogle “Software Process”, “Waterfall Method”, “Software Development”, etc.
This course attempts to teach critical thinking, expression, and constructive argument as a means of preparing you for the professional work environment. Your exam answers must present a coherent argument toward a distinctive point.
  • If your answers didn't include definitions, examples, and mention YOUR point as well as opposing arguments, you lost credit.
  • Examples from class don’t count as examples. Class notes and lectures aren’t research.
If you simply cut and pasted from another source without expanding the information in your owns words, you probably lost credit. If you cut and pasted from the web without citing the reference, you got a zero for that question, but mostly for lack of effort rather than issues of academic integrity.

We all know how to Google.

  • If you didn't follow the directions (say, limiting your answer to 2 pages, not putting your name and team, not 1 answer per sheet), you probably lost credit for that as well.
why think critically
Why “think critically”?
  • Engineers are paid to think. That’s our job.
  • We solve problems that aren’t yet solved.
  • There’s right, and there’s wrong.
  • Our results are the end of a long trail of decisions, paths, prototypes, attempts, and hard work. Each step is a fork in the road, or a gate we have to pass through.
  • Those paths cannot be tried at “no cost”, so we have to make good solid decisions along the way.
how to answer an essay
How to answer an essay
  • Are you eclectic? Explain.
  • What is the difference between teamwork and socialism?
  • Why is ritualistic behavior harmful to software development?
  • Are engineers responsible for the use of the systems they design? e.g. computerized torture…
  • These are not yes/no questions.
first establish a point
First establish a point
  • Take a stand
  • There are usually 4 issues to address:
    • The benefits of your stand
    • The harm of your stand
    • The benefits of the opposite
    • The harm of the opposite
give the background
Give the background
  • Definition
  • History
  • Assumptions
    • State the difference between fact and opinion
  • Beware of common sense, common knowledge, popular thought, conventional wisdom. Why?
    • Because they are used to win arguments, not advance science
  • All statements of authority must be referenced
  • All quotations must be referenced
    • “quotation marks” are NOT for emphasis
    • underline and italics or both are
  • Wikipedia is NOT a reference
defend your point
Defend your point
  • Draw a line between your conclusion and verifiable evidence.
  • State what is speculation. First, admit to what is speculation.
  • State what is opinion.
thought experiments
Thought experiments

  • Argue with yourself
  • Argue with someone who has the opposite opinion
  • Argue with someone who has the same opinion, defend the opposite side, defend the indefensible
  • Do not take a side
  • Visualization / Extend the point to it’s conclusion

emotional vs logical arguments
Emotional vs. Logical Arguments

  • There is no gain from winning an emotional argument
  • The gain is in advancing along a more correct path

  • “The best compromise is when everybody leaves disappointed”.
  • Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. Dwight D. Eisenhower
fields of study
Fields of Study
  • Philosophy – strategies for understanding prior to experimentation
  • Psychology – behavior of the individual
    • Benefit to engineering?
  • Sociology – behavior of groups
  • What is a theory?
    • Theory of Evolution
    • Theory of Relativity
    • Theory of Gravity (????) or Law of Gravity
know when you re speculating
Know when you’re speculating
  • Hypothesis – speculation
  • Theory – most likely explanation based on experimentation
  • Law – a well-tested theory