The webPACT group is a learning and research community which integrates academic faculty and PhD students interested in critical thinking. It is focused on the improvement of the quality of teaching/learning processes as well as on the development of students’ social skills (soft skills). It is a multidisciplinary group that gathers professionals from different scientific areas: Management, Veterinary Medicine, Education and Psychology, Linguistics, Statistics, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Nursing and Philosophy.
The webPACT elements share a common interest in research and development of strategies/teaching methodologies to promote critical thinking skills using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and cooperative learning techniques. They have developed activities with junior high school and university students, adopting online peer review techniques. Through these activities, the development of analytical, reasoning and problem solving skills are fostered through self-directed and proactive learning. From an action-research approach in semi-annual cycles, the activities include the systematic analysis of outcomes in order to improve educational interventions.
Since 2012, the webPACT has implemented/participated in several events including life-long learning workshops and meetings on critical thinking. It has endorsed the communication and dissemination of its own work in conferences and scientific journals, enabling the group to gain public recognition and an approval by FCT (the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) of the ‘Critical Thinking network in higher education’ project (131/ID/2014), under the call for Sharing and Disseminating Experiences of Innovative Teaching in Portuguese Higher Education.
In addition to the II International Seminar on Critical Thinking, this project has other projected aims, such as the development of critical thinking clubs, workshops and teaching resources in the Laboratory of Critical Thinking at the Learning and Professional Development Unit of the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro.