Critical Thinking in Global Challenges
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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.
- 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.
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总体上这门课程的难易度应该算是中等偏下。课程跨度五周，每周不需要花太多时间。选了这门课，并且听了Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade这门课的内容。发现其实在外国人眼里，写作和批判性思维这两个话题，真正的内容和精华并不多（远没有那么多），关键在于训练，让大脑对于这样的思维方式形成反射，这恰恰是中国学生在学校教育中没有接受过和训练到的。所以，哪怕是一个foreigner都可以写出很好的东西。