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
There is no prerequisite to take this course. No prior knowledge in the four ‘Global challenge’ themes is required.
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructors.
No. The Statement of Accomplishment is not part of a formal qualification from the University. However, it may be useful to demonstrate prior learning and interest in your subject to a higher education institution or potential employer.
We will provide a list of ‘starter’ resources for each week. As the understanding of what makes a reliable resource is a key aspect of the course, you will also be asked to do your own research on the internet to find additional resources to complete the exercises.
By the end of the course you will have a better understanding of where information comes from, how to validate or refute arguments and how to develop your own arguments based on the available information.