Critical thinking is the ability to gather and assess information and evidence in a balanced and reflective way to reach conclusions that are justified by reasoned argument based on the available evidence. Critical thinking is a key skill in the information age, valuable in all disciplines and professions.
This introductory course will give you the opportunity to better understand what critical thinking is, and to practice and enhance your critical thinking skills. To do so, we will use the context of some important global challenges that affect us all, and to which we have no clear “correct” solutions: for example, the risk and spread of serious infectious diseases in epidemics in modern societies, the implications of increasing human population on global resources, energy, environment and climate, and the challenges of human health and wellbeing in the modern world. Possible solutions to global issues such as these are hotly debated, and give the perfect setting to practice recognizing and evaluating facts, ideas, opinions and arguments.
The relevant background information for each global challenge will be provided to ensure that you can complete the exercises. Note, however, this course is not a course on these global challenges themselves; instead it uses the context of these thought-provoking challenges to practice critical thinking.
Subtitles for all video lectures available: Portuguese (provided by the Lemann Foundation), English
Week 1: What is Critical thinking, and why is it important?
Week 2: ‘Credibility and Relevance’: Understanding where information comes from and the nature of evidence
Week 3: ‘Assessing arguments’ 1/2
Week 4: ‘Assessing arguments’ 2/2
Week 5: Developing arguments
The course will provide ‘Global Challenge’ themes for students to work on for the purpose of ‘Assessing arguments’ in weeks 3 & 4. We recommend that students normally select only one of the themes to focus on.
completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I took this course expecting it to give me a rich learning experience on critical thinking. Because, in this internet era, we are flooded with loads of information on topics we care about and we tend to come across a lot of coloured opinions amongst them. As a result we find it difficult to come to a...
I took this course expecting it to give me a rich learning experience on critical thinking. Because, in this internet era, we are flooded with loads of information on topics we care about and we tend to come across a lot of coloured opinions amongst them. As a result we find it difficult to come to a conclusion on what the truth really is and end up confused. I felt this course might help me approach this challenge. But I have to say the course fell short of my expectations.
It is a very basic course on critical thinking and also takes a very theoretical approach to the subject. On the theoretical front, course takers will get to learn concepts like the structure of arguments, nature of evidence etc. But the course falls well short of practical applicability. Some exercises give a taste of real-life scenarios but the course is structured in such a way that it expects the learners to identify situations on their own and apply the theoretical concepts. The course could integrate more real-life scenarios and cases highlighting how critical thinking could be applied to overcome our day-to-day challenges and how course-takers can gain an advantage over the general public on that front.
A course with a light workload and an easy difficulty. Aside from that I think it's a fine course in its genre. Sort of an appetiser or side dish. The course does not delve all that deeply into the theory of critical thinking but invites you to become aware of common pitfalls when consuming information from a variety of sources. I think "Sceptical Reading of Online Articles" is a more apt title for this course.
The course is a good way to learn about the basics of "critical thinking" and provides you with reading material and a basic background of a few global challenges i.e. climate change, population growth, fair trade. I think it's leveled mainly at non-academics and teaches things like evaluating arguments and sources in a step-by-step manner. Very clear, take-you-by-the-hand teaching style.
completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
The topics raised in this course are interesting enough in itself, and the presentation is pleasant. The course is really an introduction to critical thinking. So if you are looking for a starting point it might suit you very well, if you are further along in your academic/mooc studies you might want to check out some of the lectures before committing yourself to the full thing.