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TOPIC 1: Critical thinking development
in the use of web for adults

Toolkit Topic: Critical thinking development in the use of web for adults

Case Study Title: Applying Critical Thinking Skills to Computer Science and Technology

Duration of Activity: 15 minutes

Learning Outcome:

What is the learning outcome that will be achieved through this case study?

identify critical thinking skills in technology tools by adults.

Aim of activity: Awareness of the requirement of critical thinking skills in technologies tools (website, internet, E-mails, ect..) and their benefits to use it.

Case Study

This case study is regarding how adult learners acquire their critical thinking skills while facing the copyright, fair use, and internet security challenges in this contemporary digital society.

The findings show that 90 percent of learners were not able to apply their critical thinking skills with valid reasoning when they made a decision based on the case scenarios.

Keywords: Copyright, Fair Use, Critical Thinking Skills, Computing Education, Higher Education

The following subsequences define the terminologies used in this case study including copyright, fair use, critical thinking skills, and internet security.


“copyright in a work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work (Copyright, 2011, p.2).” In other words, copyright law is meant to give a particular work’s creator control over its copying and distribution for an extended period of time.

most copyright infringement today is committed by young adults and teenagers who seem to be unaware that they are violating author rights.

the needs of copyright laws awareness in this digital society.

Fair Use

Fair use is defined as “the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords.

fair use “has been repeatedly invoked to prevent copyright owners from misusing their copyrights in order to stifle legitimate marketplace competition.

Internet Security

From the educational perspective, information security and safety in our digital society has become a main concern; especially, how learners behaviors enhance or depreciate the safety and security of information.

Society is increasingly dependent upon information systems which have proven vulnerable.

Critical Thinking Skills

critical thinking as “reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.

from a pedagogic perspective, critical thinking skills can be learned by a given situation which is influenced by the level of questions asked.

The critical thinking evolves with the following stages:

x Apply: The students use knowledge and understanding to complete a practical task.

 x Analyze: While working on a practical task, the students break things down into their component parts.

 x Synthesize: The students then will be able to combine and integrate various sources of information.

x Evaluate: At the end of the task completion, the students will be able to assess the value, merit, or worth of something.

There were two parts of the case studies designed to investigate the levels of our students’ knowledge and critical thinking skills in copyright laws, fair use, and internet security.

Part One of the survey given to the class prior to the discussion on copyright consisted of a scenario and questions analyzing the scenario.

The scenario consisted of a technology specialist working for a school district that allowed teachers to use online collections for their multimedia projects in his lab.

However, many wanted it on the network and the question became “Should he put it on the school districts network?”

The students were given four questions to answer concerning the scenario in Part One.

The first question consisted of whether or not the information should be uploaded to the district’s network. The options were Yes, No, and Not Sure.

The second question was to clarify their reasoning of why they chose the certain option.

The third question sought to test their understanding of the fair use concept. The third question was “Is it fair use?”

The options were Yes, No, and Not Sure. The fourth question was to provide reasoning for their decision in question 3.

 Part Two of the test was about Internet Crime and Internet Security. An e-mail was used that one of the authors received in an attempt to gather private information.

Most people have received them in the past. The e-mail consisted of a warning code to Webmail Account Users stating that your e-mail account will expire in 3 days.

In order to keep your Inbox, you must reply to this e-mail with username and password along with some other information.

The first question asked if the e-mail was legitimate. The possible answers were Yes, No, and Not Sure. The second question was to provide reasons as to why the e-mail was legitimate or not. The last question was to consider the fact that the e-mail was a scam. The students were to identify the main item(s) that led them to believe that it could be a scam.

Key Take-Aways: 

Here, you should outline the key lessons which adult educators take from this case study example. We are in the 21st century with 18th century thinking.Therefore, we will continue to have people falling victim to scammers, ignoring copyright and fair use laws as well as ethics and other subjects so vital today. As Crowley (2003) suggested that this growing awareness should lead to a demand for Information Systems Security training and education.Scams are increasing daily and many students do not have the resources, knowledge or critical thinking skills to combat this growing threat. Neither do they have the knowledge to differentiate between good websites and fraudulent ones or to be able to discern if something is free or copyrighted


Include here a set of questions which adult educators can apply their learning from this case study to their classmates:

  • Question 1 Who ever heard of copyright laws or fair use?
  • Question 2 . A common thought from the copyright infringement cases was “If I can get it for free, why I should pay for it?”
  • Question 3.  Should be awareness programs enforced with the privacy policies combined with password, forms of authentication, and/or biometric techniques for data protection?
  • Question 4. Then the concern arises, how do the learners apply their critical thinking skills to make a decision of to download or not to download while facing seemingly free and safe resources on the screen?