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How To Think Clearly With The Top 11 Best Online Critical Thinking Courses & Classes [Free Guide]

Best Online Critical Thinking Courses & Classes

Looking for a game-changer in the way you think about the world around you? Well, you’re exactly where you need to be to get started!

In this guide, I cover some of the best online critical thinking courses for developing your skills. With courses ranging from under an hour in length to 16-week programs, there’s something for everyone.  

Also, all of these online courses will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to become a great critical thinker, so let’s get into them!

Table of Contents

Top 11 Best Online Critical Thinking Courses & Classes 2024

1.  how to think differently & critically (skillshare).

How to Think Differently_ 7 Easy Steps to Master Mental Models, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

In 7 easy steps, this online critical thinking course, for beginners and advanced thinkers alike, will help you see the world differently by examining different perspectives and using logic and critical reasoning to expand your mind. 

Troye Bates is your instructor for this course online class, who writes a popular online blog on brain-training, and began teaching several years ago, sparked by his passion for enhancing our mental capabilities.

Through the 7-step process, students learn how to become a mental master of critical thinking, logic, and reasoning, strategy, abundance, big-picture thinking, reflecting before they act, and tons more!

Global online learning platform Skillshare is where you will find this online course.   There are over 29,000 other courses available on the platform and you even get a 1-month free trial!   Overall, this is one of the best critical thinking classes you can find online!

  • 10 video lessons
  • 1 hour and 26 minutes of content
  • 271 students have taken the course
  • Suited to all levels

Activate FREE Skillshare Trial

2.  Critical Thinking: How to Find Out What Really Works (Skillshare)

Critical Thinking_ How to Find Out What Really Works

Keen to level-up your critical thinking skills at work, school, or in day-to-day life? Critical thinking is an essential life skill, and this online course teaches you key strategies to make better life decisions.  

Andre Klapper , Ph.D., is your teacher, who is a researcher, psychologist, and neuroscientist with decades of experience in working with the mind and understanding cognitive processes. This is also 1 of 9 courses Andre currently has on Skillshare.

Spread across 14 lessons over 1-hour, students will learn the reasoning fallacy, everyday examples, how to eliminate alternative explanations, how to rule out coincidences, how to draw conclusions efficiently, the scientific thinking blueprint, and tons more!

Currently, you can find this online course hosted on the global online learning platform, Skillshare. There are over 29,000 other courses available on the platform, plus you get a 1-month free trial as a new user! Overall, this is a great introductory class to enroll in.

  • 14 video lessons
  • 1 hour and 11 minutes
  • 211 students have taken the course
  • Suited to beginners

3.  Welcome to critical thinking (LinkedIn Learning)

Welcome to critical thinking

Learn how to make more thoughtful and effective decisions in every area of your life with this online critical-thinking course designed to challenge and expand your current level of thinking.   Clocking in at an hour, this introductory critical thinking course is just the right length to get some learning in on your commute or while out for a run!

Leading this online course is   Mike Figliuolo , the Managing Director of Thought LEADERS LLC, and an author at LinkedIn Learning. Mike is also a nationally renowned speaker, blogger, author, and teacher.

Throughout the course’s one-hour running time, students explore a series of techniques to assist with developing critical thinking skills by sharing how to redefine problems and use specific strategies such as the ‘5 Whys’, the ‘7 So Whats’, and the 80/20 rule.

You can find this online critical thinking course hosted on LinkedIn Learning, offering over 150,000 courses on a range of topics, all available to students worldwide! The expert teaching and quality content make this a not-to-miss online course!

  • Approx. 1 hour of content
  • Downloadable on Apple and GooglePlay for offline learning
  • 312,745 people have viewed the course

Visit LinkedIn.con

4.  Critical Thinking In The Workplace (Skillshare)

Critical Thinking In The Workplace

Next up on my list is a critical-thinking course designed specifically for the workplace. Whether you’re looking to enhance your own skills, or you’re a manager or CEO aiming to increase staff productivity,   this short 50-minute course is highly recommended.

Katie Hall is your instructor, a representative of Talent Zoom, which is a company that helps businesses identify their unique workplace talents. Katie also has 3 courses on Skillshare and is dedicated to helping people succeed in their professional lives.

Some of the many topics covered in this online critical thinking course include the foundations of critical thinking, as well as understanding left, right, whole-brain thinking, consistency of ideas, building an explanation, active listening, and tons more!

For those interested, this online course is hosted on the global online learning platform, Skillshare. There are over 29,000 other courses available on the platform, plus a 1-month free trial! Overall, this is one of the best online critical thinking classes out there!

  • 50 minutes of content
  • 429 students have taken the course
  • 2 downloadable resources

5.  Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making (Skillshare)

Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making

Did you know that having solid critical-thinking skills leads to better decision-making and a higher quality of life as a result? This online course empowers you to make the right decisions for your life by teaching you objective and rational analysis techniques to apply to any situation you might find yourself in.  

Taught by Becki Saltzman , this class is expertly led in short-format video lectures. Becki is an author, speaker, and founder of the Applied Curiosity Lab. She is focused on teaching skills to companies to improve their operations, and how their teams innovate, tackle challenges, and respond to change.

Each module of this critical thinking course covers topics such as the foundational aspect of critical thinking, how to minimize bad judgment, improving vision quality, and creating a culture of curiosity.  

Hosted on LinkedIn Learning, you can access this course and then choose from more than 150,000 others taught by industry experts once you’ve completed it! Definitely a recommended short class that you can access from anywhere.

  • Approx. 55 minutes of content
  • 78,641 people have viewed the course
  • Suited to advanced level

6.  Master Cognitive Biases and Improve Your Critical Thinking (Udemy)

Master Cognitive Biases and Improve Your Critical Thinking

My next standout pick is an online critical-thinking course to fast-track your mental upgrade. Master your understanding of cognitive biases and learn the most effective strategies to improve the quality of your thinking in just under 2.5 hours!

Kevin DeLaplante Ph.D. is your course instructor, who is a philosopher and the founder of the Critical Thinker Academy. Kevin has taught more than 62,000 students in his 4 online courses on Udemy and works with groups, universities, and in 1-1 coaching for improving critical thinking.

In over 50 von-demand video lectures, students are guided through an explanation of cognitive bias is and how it relates to critical thinking. Lessons include confirmation bias, pattern-seeking, hindsight bias, and the anchoring effect, ending with some helpful strategies for debasing ideas.

Udemy is where you can access this critical thinking course, a great online course platform that offers its students over 150,000 on-demand online courses from beginner to advanced level!

  • 50 video lectures
  • 2 hours and 26 minutes of content
  • Lifetime access
  • Certificate of Completion
  • 4.4/5 from 4,812 ratings
  • 13,803 students have taken the course

Visit Udemy.com

7.  Teaching Critical Thinking through Art with the National Gallery of Art (edX)

Teaching Critical Thinking through Art with the National Gallery of Art

Are you an artist or an art enthusiast? Next up is a specialist online course examining critical thinking through an artistic lens.   You’ll learn how to strengthen your thinking and facilitate meaningful conversations by applying artistic critical-thinking techniques.

As for your instructor, this online critical thinking course is offered by The Smithsonian Institute with Julie Carmean , the Museum Educator and Coordinator of Professional Development at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, United States, as your leading you.

Through 4 content units, which will take up to 20 hours to complete via self-paced learning, students investigate thinking routines, observing and describing tactics, reasoning with evidence, and questioning and investigating, receiving downloadable artful thinking lesson plans as a bonus!

You can find this online critical thinking course can be found on the nonprofit education platform edX, founded by Harvard and MIT, and offering courses form the leading worldwide universities to more than 20 million students! This particular course is one of the best online critical thinking classes I’ve found.

  • 18,073 students have enrolled
  • Takes 16 weeks to complete
  • 3-4 hours a week of work
  • Great for all levels

Visit edX.org

8.  Master your Decision-Making, and Critical Thinking Skills (Udemy)

Master your Decision-Making, and Critical Thinking Skills

Are you looking for a comprehensive online course to improve your decision-making? You can work towards mastering good decision-making in this 4-hour online critical-thinking course that comes highly recommended with a 4.4/5 rating!  

Your course instructor is Sivakami S , an experienced business leader and research/doctoral scholar who has taught over 20,000 students in his 12 online courses on Udemy. With nearly 2 decades of experience, she has led many initiatives in large corporations such as Verizon and Microsoft.

Spanning 45 video lectures presented in just over 4 hours, students learn how humans think, judge, and decide key cognitive biases, irrationality versus rationality, de-biasing techniques, logical fallacies, and so much more.  

Head to Udemy to check this course out, a global online learning platform that offers more than 150,000 on-demand courses on a whole range of topics no matter your level! Overall, this online course is a great deep-dive into critical-thinking!.

  • 45 video lectures
  • 4 hours and 3 minutes of content
  • 4.4/5 from 1,183 ratings
  • 5,129 students have taken the course
  • 15 downloadable resources

9. Philosophy and Critical Thinking (edX)

Philosophy and Critical Thinking

Another online critical thinking course that I’m excited to show you is a totally free, university-led offering for anyone who wants to improve their critical thinking skills. Over a period of 6 weeks, students learn how to use philosophical inquiry to improve your personal and professional decision-making.  

Two instructors share the teaching of this online course, Professor Deborah Brown and Dr. Peter Ellerton , both lecturers and Directors of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project who  

Students are led through critical thinking content that teaches them how to identify, analyze, and construct cogent arguments, and how to think of solutions to the central philosophical problems. There is also an option to add a verified certificate for an extra fee, for students looking for this proof of completion of the course.

edX hosts this online critical thinking course,   offering more than 20 million students incredible access to online courses at leading universities across the globe. Plus, as a nonprofit, it’s totally free! Overall, a high-quality course for anyone wanting to develop critical thinking.  

  • 95,967 students have enrolled
  • 6 weeks long
  • 1-4 hours of work per week

10.  Critical Thinking (Udemy)

Critical Thinking

If you’re keen to study an online critical thinking course that’s both broad and detailed, this could be the one for you! In just 3 hours, you’ll have a greater grasp of logic and reasoning to apply to every area of your life.

Presented by Joss Colchester of Systems Innovation , an eLearning platform that is focused on complex systems and system change, this course is an entry into this subject. This course is led in an accessible way, making complex ideas feel easy to understand.

Joss takes students through course content covering cognition, including evolutionary psychology, as well as informal and formal logic examples and explanations, the different types of reasoning, the elements of reasoning, and argumentation rules and strategies.

One of the best online critical thinking courses around, you can find it on Udemy, which offers its students over 150,000 on-demand online courses on critical thinking and more, from beginner to advanced level!

  • 21 video lectures
  • 3 hours and 5 minutes of content
  • 4.3/5 from 118 ratings
  • 427 students have taken the course

11. Introduction to Critical Thinking (Udemy)

Introduction to Critical Thinking

If you’re a critical-thinking newbie looking to get your decision-making off to a good start, this is a brilliant beginner’s course to help you process information and make thoughtful decisions.  

Teaching duo Gorden Bonne t and Carol Bloomgarden are your instructors. Golden is the author of the blog Skeptophilio, which looks at science and media through a skeptical lens. He is also a novelist and teacher of critical thinking, and various other science topics. Carol is Gorden’s wife, and she is responsible for the video production and graphic design at Skeptophilia. They both lead this course with patience and passion.

Throughout 39 on-demand video lectures, students will explore the fundamentals of critical thinking, skepticism, learn how to recognize fallacies in the media, identify questionable statistics, construct arguments, and know when scientific terms are not being used correctly.

Udemy is where you will find this critical thinking hosted, a great online course platform which offers its students over 150,000 on-demand online courses from beginner to advanced level!

Udemy was founded in 2010 and has risen to the forefront of online learning in just a decade, to become the leader in skill-based and professional online education. To learn more, also check out my other posts on NLP and CBT !

  • 39 video lectures
  • 1 hour and 19 minutes of content
  • Course: Introduction to Critical Thinking
  • 4.5/5 from 34 ratings
  • 46 students have taken the course

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My name is Lewis Keegan and I am the writer and editor of SkillScouter.com. I'm extremely passionate about online education and what it can do for those to better their lives. I spend most of my time blogging, hiking, and drinking coffee. I also have a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Teaching.

Argumentful

16 Best Free Online Critical Thinking Courses

critical thinking in online classes

Written by Argumentful

Critical thinking is one of the most fundamental skills you could focus on. In fact, these skills are so important that many educational institutions have listed them among their central goals. Critical thinking helps you sort the true from the false.

The bad news is that not many people own these skills. Einstein famously said:

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

The good news though is that you can improve your thinking and you can do it without breaking the bank.

Below are listed 16 of the best free online critical thinking courses with details regarding their contents.

Go on, choose your preferred course and take action today! (You can thank me later😉!)

P.S. Apart from the general critical thinking courses, I’ve included 5 specific ones which focus on today’s burning issues- fake news and climate change , as well as correctly interpreting randomized clinical trials and screening trials. See numbers 12 to 16 below.

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Critical reasoning for beginners, critical thinking classes at fayetteville state university, logical and critical thinking, critical thinking: fundamentals of good reasoning, philosophy and critical thinking, critical thinking & problem solving, introduction to critical thinking and logic, teaching critical thinking through art with the national gallery of art.

  • Critical thinking: Reasoned Decision Making

The Science of Everyday Thinking

Critical thinking at university: an introduction, making sense of news, sorting truth from fiction: civic online reasoning, making sense of climate science denial, thinking critically: interpreting randomized clinical trials, thinking critically series: interpreting screening trials.

Offered by : University of Oxford

Description :

4 hours, 6 modules

1: The Nature of Arguments

How to recognise arguments and what the nature of an argument is

2: Different Types of Arguments

Different types of arguments, in particular deductive and inductive arguments

3: Setting Out Arguments Logic Book Style

How to identify and analyse arguments, and how to set arguments out logic book-style to make them easier to evaluate

4: What is a  Good Argument? Validity and Truth

How to evaluate arguments and how to tell whether an argument is good or bad, focusing specifically on inductive arguments

5: Evaluating Arguments Part One

Evaluation of arguments – this time deductive arguments – focusing in particular on the notion of validity

6: Evaluating Arguments Part Two

Fallacies: bad arguments that can easily be mistaken for good arguments

Also available on YouTube and iTunes

Offered by : Fayetteville State University

24 videos, 24 hours

Lectures from Spring 2011 Critical Thinking classes at Fayetteville State University held by Gregory B. Sadler. The textbook used was Moore And Parker’s Critical Thinking 9th edition .

  • Issues, claims, arguments
  • Arguments and non-arguments
  • Value Judgments
  • Complex arguments, unstated premises
  • Deductive and inductive arguments with implicit premises
  • Deductive and inductive arguments
  • Information sources
  • Experts and appeal to authority
  • Critical thinking and advertising
  • Rhetorical devices

Offered by : University Of Auckland

8 Weeks of study, 4 hours weekly

  • Identify common flaws in belief construction
  • Recognise and reconstruct arguments
  • Evaluate arguments as being good or bad
  • Analyse arguments using basic logical tools
  • Apply basic logical strategies in areas such as science, moral theories and law

Offered by : IsraelX

9 weeks, 4-6 hours per week

You can create a free account on edx.org and have access to the course for 2 months. After 2 months, you can pay £37 to get unlimited access to the course.

The objective of the course is to improve the student’s ability in the basic skills of critical thinking:

  • how to recognize arguments,
  • how to interpret them,
  • how to evaluate them,
  • how to construct them.

Lesson 1. What’s “Critical Thinking?” Lesson 2. What are Arguments Made Of? Lesson 3. From Premises to Conclusions Lesson 4. Recognizing Arguments: Introduction Lesson 5. Argument vs. The Text Containing It Lesson 6. Recognizing Conclusions Lesson 7. Arguments vs. Explanations Lesson 8. Argument Diagrams: Introduction Lesson 9. More about Argument Diagrams Lesson 10. Argument Diagrams: Examples Lesson 11. Hedges Lesson 12. Disclaimers Lesson 13. Examples Lesson 14. Rhetorical Language Lesson 15. Referential Attribution Lesson 16. Principles of Interpretation Lesson 17. Implicit Premises Lesson 18. What’s a Good Argument? Lesson 19. More Virtues of Arguments Lesson 20. Argument Ad Hominem Lesson 21. Argument Ad Verecundiam Lesson 22. Argument Ad Populum Lesson 23. Argument Ad Ignorantiam Lesson 24. Argument Ad Baculum and Ad Misericordiam Lesson 25. Venn Diagrams Lesson 26. Beyond Venn Lesson 27. Modus Ponens Lesson 28. Modus Tollens Lesson 29. Conditionals Lesson 30. Reductio Ad Absurdum Lesson 31. Process of Elimination Lesson 32. Separation of Cases Lesson 33. Truth Trees: An Example Lesson 34. How to Grow Truth Trees Lesson 35. Truth Trees: Another Example Lesson 36. Reflexive Relations Lesson 37. Symmetric Relations Lesson 38. Transitive Relations Lesson 39. Inductive Generalization Lesson 40. What’s a Good Sample? Lesson 41. The New Riddle of Induction Lesson 42. From Induction to Causation Lesson 43. Evaluating Causal Generalizations Lesson 44. Argument from Analogy: Basics Lesson 45. Argument from Analogy: Examples Lesson 46. Who Needs Analogues? Lesson 47. Inference to the Best Explanation Lesson 48. Experimentation Lesson 49. Building an Argument Lesson 50. Writing Up an Argument

Offered by : The University of Queensland

6 weeks, 1-4 hours per week

  • How to think with clarity and rigour
  • How to identify, analyse and construct cogent arguments
  • How to think of solutions to the central problems of philosophy
  • How to engage in philosophical conversations with others about topics that matter

Offered by : Rochester Institute of Technology

3 weeks, 4-6 hours per week

  • How to perform strategic analysis and assessment
  • How to perceive and assess a critical need and design a tailored solution
  • How to identify key stakeholders and ensure their needs are met
  • How to employ adaptive problem-solving
  • How to work through obstacles collaboratively
  • How to analyse failure to improve future performance

Offered by : Saylor.org Academy

This course will introduce you to critical thinking, informal logic, and a small amount of formal logic. Its purpose is to provide you with the basic tools of analytical reasoning, which will give you a distinctive edge in a wide variety of careers and courses of study. While many university courses focus on the presentation of content knowledge, the emphasis here is on learning how to think effectively. Although the techniques and concepts covered here are classified as philosophical, they are essential to the practice of nearly every major discipline, from the physical sciences and medicine to politics, law, and the humanities.

  • Unit 1: Introduction and Meaning Analysis
  • Unit 2: Argument Analysis
  • Unit 3: Basic Sentential Logic
  • Unit 4: Venn Diagrams
  • Unit 5: Fallacies
  • Unit 6: Scientific Reasoning
  • Unit 7: Strategic Reasoning and Creativity

Offered by : Smithsonian Institution

16 weeks, 3-4 hours per week

  • How to use Artful Thinking Routines to strengthen thinking.
  • How to facilitate meaningful conversations in your classroom using art for artful learning and artful teaching.
  • How to help learners of all levels develop more discerning descriptions, evidence-based reasoning, and meaningful questioning habits.
  • Key strategies for using content information to push original thinking deeper.
  • Exciting, immersive activities for any type of classroom.
  • How to use online teaching resources from the National Gallery of Art, including downloadable Artful Thinking lesson plans
  • Unit 0: Welcome (2 hours)
  • Unit 1: Diving into Thinking Routines (3-4 hours)
  • Unit 2: Observing and Describing (3-4 hours)
  • Unit 3: Reasoning with Evidence (3-4 hours)
  • Unit 4: Questioning and Investigating (3-4 hours)

Critical thinking: reasoned decision making

Offered by : Tecnológico de Monterrey

4 weeks, 5-8 hours per week

  • Identify the theories that support critical thinking
  • Employ a methodology for the application of critical thinking
  • Relate the elements that make up the stages of critical thinking
  • Analyse the standards of critical thinking practice
  • Assess the responsibility of perpetuating the intellectual values of the resolution analysis
  • Distinguish the vices of thought in decision making
  • Apply critical thinking to groups

1. Thinking according to our times

1.1 Why critical thinking?

1.2 The exciting world of thinking and criticism

2. Evaluating our modes of thought

2.1 Intellectual values of a good thinker

2.2 Evaluating our critical thinking skills. Avoiding vices and biased thinking

3. Elements and standards of critical thinking

3.1 Elements of a critical thinking process

3.2 Standards to apply to our thinking modes

4. Articulating our decisions making process

4.1 The logic of our decisions and the behaviour derived from them

4.2 How to improve our critical thinking skills and become a fair-minded thinker

12 weeks, 2-3 hours per week

The course explores the psychology of our everyday thinking: why people believe weird things, how we form and change our opinions, why our expectations skew our judgments, and how we can make better decisions. We’ll discuss and debate topics such as placebos, the paranormal, medicine, miracles, and more.

You will use the scientific method to evaluate claims, make sense of evidence, and understand why we so often make irrational choices. You will begin to rely on slow, effortful, deliberative, analytic, and logical thinking rather than fast, automatic, instinctive, emotional, and stereotypical thinking.

  • tools for how to think independently, how to be skeptical, and how to value data over personal experience.
  • examining the mental shortcuts that people use and misuse, and apply this knowledge to help make better decisions, and improve critical thinking.

Offered by : University of Leeds

2 weeks, 4 hours weekly

  • What is critical thinking?
  • A model for critical thinking
  • Why is critical thinking important at university?
  • Challenges to thinking critically at university
  • How can you improve your critical thinking?
  • How will critical thinking help you at university?

Offered by : University of Hong Kong

4 weeks, 2-3 hours per week

This course will help you identify reliable information in news reports and become better informed about the world we live in. A discussion on journalism from the viewpoint of the news audience.

  • What makes news? The blurred lines between news, promotion and entertainment.
  • Why does news matter? Social sharing and the dynamics of the news cycles.
  • Who provides information? How to evaluate sources in news reports.
  • Where is the evidence? The process of verification.
  • When should we act? Recognizing our own biases.
  • How do we know what we know? Becoming an active news audience.

You’ll learn to:

  • Distinguish news from opinion; media bias from audience bias; assertion from verification
  • Apply critical thinking skills to examine the validity of information
  • Contextualize the knowledge gained from news report
  • Respond quickly to daily news events and make an informed decision

Offered by : Massachusetts Institute of Technology

9 weeks, 2-4 hours per week

Course aimed at fighting fake news and misinformation

Educators—from teachers to librarians—will learn about:

  • New knowledge that can be applied in your lessons and resources for your own students.
  • How to shift from ineffective information literacy practices towards the kinds of strategies employed by professional fact-checkers.

Unit 1: Search Like a Fact Checker

Unit 2: The Two Big Fact Checker Moves: Lateral Reading & Click Restraint

Unit 3: Evaluating Different Types of Evidence

Unit 4: Adapting Civic Online Reasoning

7 weeks, 2-4 hours per week

WEEK 1: Understanding The Climate Controversy During the first week of the course, we introduce the course content, interact with each other and complete an introductory survey. The week continues with an exploration of political consensus, the drivers and psychology of climate science denial and an overview of the controversy surrounding this topic.

WEEK 2: Global Warming Is Happening In week two, we will look at the indicators of global warming and myths related to temperature and glaciers.

WEEK 3: We Are Causing Global Warming Week three focuses on the ways in which humans cause climate change and the myths associated with the greenhouse effect and the rise in carbon dioxide.

WEEK 4: The Past Tells Us About The Future This week looks at the history of climate change in order to model future climate change. We also address myths related to models.

WEEK 5: We Are Feeling The Impacts Of Climate Change Week five covers climate feedbacks and the impacts of climate change on the environment, society and the weather.

WEEK 6 and 7: Responding to Denial The final weeks of the course look more closely at the psychology of science denial and debunking techniques. We also complete a peer assessment that asks students to practice debunking strategies on real myths that can be found in today’s media.

Approach: mini-lectures, video interviews, quizzes, activities, a peer assessed writing assignment, and readings.

Offered by : Stanford University

1 week, 2-3 hours

This course seeks to fulfil the clinical community’s need to improve skills in the critical evaluation of clinical research papers. Competency in critical appraisal skills can have a significant impact by improving clinical practice, quality of research projects, and peer-review of manuscripts and grants. The course will utilize efficient and engaging videos with relevant clinical examples to cover essential research methodology principles.

  • Analyse the concepts of randomization and blinding in reducing bias.
  • Develop strategies to critically appraise randomized clinical trials and determine if study results are valid.
  • Analyse the key design features of screening studies.
  • Develop strategies to critically appraise screening studies and determine if study results are valid.

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Outside USA: +1‑607‑330‑3200

Critical Thinking Cornell Certificate Program

Overview and courses.

Have you ever known a very intelligent person who made a very bad decision?

Critical problem solving is both a discipline and a skill; one that even very smart people can benefit from learning. Careful thought around decisions can help your teams and organizations thrive. And in today’s age of automation, it’s never been a more essential mindset to develop at every level of a company.

In this certificate program, you will practice a disciplined, systematic approach to problem solving. You will learn how to deeply analyze a problem, assess possible solutions and associated risks, and hone your strategic decision-making skills by following a methodology based on tested actions and sound approaches. Whether you’re interested in preparing for a management role or already lead an execution function, you’ll come away better equipped to confidently tackle any decision large or small, make a compelling business case, and apply influence in your organization in a way that creates the optimal conditions for success.

The courses in this certificate program are required to be completed in the order that they appear.

This program includes a year of free access to Symposium! These events feature several days of live, highly participatory virtual Zoom sessions with Cornell faculty and experts to explore the most pressing leadership topics. Symposium events are held several times throughout the year. Once enrolled in your program, you will receive information about upcoming events.

Throughout the year, you may participate in as many sessions as you wish. Attending Symposium sessions is not required to successfully complete the certificate program.

Course list

Problem-solving using evidence and critical thinking.

Have you ever known a very intelligent person who made a very bad decision? If so, you know that having a high IQ does not guarantee that you automatically make critically thoughtful decisions. Critically thoughtful problem-solving is a discipline and a skill—one that allows you to make decisions that are the product of careful thought, and the results of those decisions help your team and organization thrive.

In this course you will practice a disciplined, systematic approach to problem solving that helps ensure that your analysis of a problem is comprehensive, is based on quality, credible evidence, and takes full and fair account of the most probable counterarguments and risks. The result of this technique is a thoroughly defensible assessment of what the problem is, what is causing it, and the most effective plan of action to address it. Finally, you will identify and frame a problem by assessing its context and develop a well-reasoned and implementable solution that addresses the underlying causes.

Making a Convincing Case for Your Solution

When trying to persuade someone, the tendency is to begin in advocacy mode—for example: “Here's something I want you to agree to.” Most people do not react positively to the feeling of being sold something. The usual reaction is to literally or figuratively start backing up. To make a convincing case, it is more effective to engage with the decision maker as a partner in problem-solving. This makes your counterpart feel less like someone is trying to get them to buy something and more like you are working together to bring about an outcome that is desirable to both parties. Begin by asking yourself: “What is the problem you and the decision maker are solving together?”

By the end of this course, you will have learned how to deeply analyze a problem, possible solutions, and the associated risks as well as the most persuasive and efficient ways of presenting your proposal.

You are required to have completed the following course or have equivalent experience before taking this course:

  • Solve Problems Using Evidence and Critical Thinking

Strategic Decision Making

The ability to make effective and timely decisions is an essential skill for successful executives. Mastery of this skill influences all aspects of day-to-day operations as well as strategic planning. In this course, developed by Professor Robert Bloomfield, Ph.D. of Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management, you will hone your decision-making skills by following a methodology based on tested actions and sound organizational approaches. You will leave this course better equipped to confidently tackle any decision large or small, and you'll do so in a way that creates the optimal conditions for success.

Navigating Power Relationships

Leaders at every level need to be able to execute on their ideas. In virtually every case, this means that leaders need to be able to persuade others to join in this execution. In order to do so, understanding how to create and utilize power in an organization is critical.

In this course, developed by Professor Glen Dowell, Ph.D., of Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management, students will focus on their personal relationship with power as well as how power works in their organization and social network.

Project Management Institute (PMI ® ) Continuing Certification : Participants who successfully complete this course will receive 6 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from PMI ® . Please contact PMI ® for details about professional project management certification or recertification.

Interpreting the Behavior of Others

Applying strategic influence.

Being able to influence others is the most fundamental characteristic of an effective leader, but many people in positions of power don't know specifically how they are influencing others' behavior in positive directions. They let it happen by chance or use their formal authority—getting people to do things because “the boss said so.” But as leaders gets promoted within their organization, using formal authority becomes less effective as they not only need to influence subordinates, but also peers, external stakeholders, and superiors.  In this course, Professor Filipowicz explores the three complementary levels of influence. First, you will explore heuristics, or rules of thumb, that people use in order to make decisions. Next, you will learn how to influence through reciprocity by uncovering what the person you want to influence wants and needs. Lastly, you will learn how to alter the social and physical environment in order to get the change in behavior you want. By the end of this course, you'll have the skills to consistently draw out the desired behaviors from your team and from those around you. 

Leadership Symposium   LIVE

Symposium sessions feature three days of live, highly interactive virtual Zoom sessions that will explore today’s most pressing topics. The Leadership Symposium offers you a unique opportunity to engage in real-time conversations with peers and experts from the Cornell community and beyond. Using the context of your own experiences, you will take part in reflections and small-group discussions to build on the skills and knowledge you have gained from your courses.

Join us for the next Symposium in which we’ll discuss the ways that leaders across industries have continued engaging their teams over the past two years while pivoting in strategic ways. You will support your coursework by applying your knowledge and experiences to relevant topics for leaders. Throughout this Symposium, you will examine different areas of leadership, including innovation, strategy, and engagement. By participating in relevant and engaging discussions, you will discover a variety of perspectives and build connections with your fellow participants from various industries.

Upcoming Symposium: June 4-6, 2024 from 11am – 1pm ET

  • Building a Culture of Collaboration
  • Identifying Common Barriers to Performance
  • Setting Yourself Up For Successful Buy-in

All sessions are held on Zoom.

Future dates are subject to change. You may participate in as many sessions as you wish. Attending Symposium sessions is not required to successfully complete any certificate program. Once enrolled in your courses, you will receive information about upcoming events. Accessibility accommodations will be available upon request.

How It Works

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Faculty Authors

Risa Mish

  • Certificates Authored

Risa Mish is professor of practice of management at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. She designed and teaches the MBA Core course in Critical and Strategic Thinking, in addition to teaching courses in leadership and serving as faculty co-director of the Johnson Leadership Fellows program.

She has been the recipient of the MBA Core Faculty Teaching Award, selected by the residential program MBA class to honor the teacher who “best fosters learning through lecture, discussion and course work in the required core curriculum”; the Apple Award for Teaching Excellence, selected by the MBA graduating classes to honor a faculty member who “exemplifies outstanding leadership and enduring educational influence”; the “Best Teacher Award”, selected by the graduating class of the Cornell-Tsinghua dual degree MBA/FMBA program offered by Johnson at Cornell and the PBC School of Finance at Tsinghua University; the Stephen Russell Distinguished Teaching Award, selected by the five-year MBA reunion class to honor a faculty member whose “teaching and example have continued to influence graduates five years into their post-MBA careers”; and the Globe Award for Teaching Excellence, selected by the Executive MBA graduating class to honor a faculty member who “demonstrates a command of subject matter and also possesses the creativity, dedication, and enthusiasm essential to meet the unique challenges of an EMBA education.”

Mish serves as a keynote speaker and workshop leader at global, national, and regional conferences for corporations and trade associations in the consumer products, financial services, health care, high tech, media, and manufacturing industries, on a variety of topics, including critical thinking and problem solving, persuasion and influence, and motivating optimal employee performance. Before returning to Cornell, Mish was a partner in the New York City law firm of Collazo Carling & Mish LLP (now Collazo Florentino & Keil LLP), where she represented management clients on a wide range of labor and employment law matters, including defense of employment discrimination claims in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, and in labor arbitrations and negotiations under collective bargaining agreements. Prior to CC&M, Mish was a labor and employment law associate with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City, where she represented Fortune 500 clients in the financial services, consumer products, and manufacturing industries. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and state and federal courts in New York and Massachusetts.

Mish is a member of the board of directors of SmithBucklin Corporation, the world’s largest trade association management company, headquartered in Chicago and TheraCare Corporation, headquartered in New York City. She formerly served as a Trustee of the Tompkins County Public Library, Vice Chair of the board of directors of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, and member of the board of directors of the United Way of Tompkins County.

  • Omnichannel Leadership Program
  • Corporate Communication
  • Intrapreneurship
  • Management 360

Critical Thinking

  • Performance Leadership
  • Executive Leadership
  • Change Management

Glen Dowell

Glen Dowell is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University. He researches in the area of corporate sustainability, with a focus on firm environmental performance. Recent projects have investigated the effect of local demographic factors on changes in pollution levels, the role of corporate merger and acquisition in facilitating changes in facility environmental performance, and the relative influence of financial return and disruption on the commercial adoption of energy savings initiatives.

Professor Dowell’s research has been published in Management Science, Organization Studies, Advances in Strategic Management, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Management, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Business Ethics, and Administrative Science Quarterly. He is senior editor at Organization Science and co-editor of Strategic Organization, is on the editorial boards of Strategic Management Journal and Administrative Science Quarterly, and represents Cornell on the board of the Alliance for Research in Corporate Sustainability (ARCS). He is also the Division Chair for the Organizations and Natural Environment Division of the Academy of Management.

Professor Dowell teaches Sustainable Global Enterprise and Critical and Strategic Thinking. He is a faculty affiliate for the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and a faculty fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

  • Sustainable Business
  • Hotel Management and Owner Relations
  • Strategic Healthcare Leadership
  • Executive Healthcare Leadership

Robert Bloomfield

Since coming to the Johnson Graduate School of Management in 1991, Robert J. Bloomfield has used laboratory experiments to study financial markets and investor behavior. He has also published in all major business disciplines, including finance, accounting, marketing, organizational behavior, and operations research. Professor Bloomfield served as director of the Financial Accounting Standards Research Initiative (FASRI), an activity of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and is an editor of a special issue of Journal of Accounting Research dedicated to Registered Reports of empirical research. Professor Bloomfield has recently taken on editorship of Journal of Financial Reporting, which is pioneering an innovative editorial process intended to broaden the range of research methods used in accounting, improve the quality of research execution, and encourage the honest reporting of findings.

  • Management Accounting for Leaders
  • Management Accounting

Allan Filipowicz

Allan Filipowicz is clinical professor of management and organizations at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Professor Filipowicz’s research focuses on how emotions drive or impede leadership effectiveness, at both the intrapersonal and interpersonal levels. Within this domain, he studies the relationship between emotions and risky decision making; the influence of humor on both leadership and negotiation effectiveness; the impact of emotional transitions in negotiations; and the relationship between genes, chronotype (morningness–eveningness) and performance. His work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Forecasting, Creativity Research Journal, Journal of Circadian Rhythms, and Scientific Reports.

Professor Filipowicz teaches Managing and Leading Organizations (recently winning a Best Core Faculty Award), Negotiations, Executive Leadership and Development, Leading Teams, and Critical and Strategic Thinking. He has taught executives across the globe, from Singapore to Europe to the US, with recent clients including Medtronic, Bayer, Google, Pernod Ricard, and Harley-Davidson. Professor Filipowicz received his PhD from Harvard University. He holds an MBA from The Wharton School, an MA in International Affairs from the University of Pennsylvania, and degrees in electrical engineering (MEng, BS) and economics (BA) from Cornell University. His professional experience includes banking (Bankers Trust, New York) and consulting, including running his own boutique consulting firm and four years with The Boston Consulting Group in Paris.

  • Adaptive Healthcare Strategy
  • Negotiation Mastery
  • Psychology of Leadership

Key Course Takeaways

  • Respond decisively and consistently when faced with situations that require a decision
  • Assess the context of the problem
  • Summarize your analysis of the problem
  • Analyze potential solutions from multiple perspectives
  • Build a compelling business case for your solution
  • Improve your ability to exercise influence in your organization and activate your network to achieve goals
  • Establish responsibilities and accountabilities to ensure effective follow-through on decisions made

critical thinking in online classes

Download a Brochure

critical thinking in online classes

What You'll Earn

  • Critical Thinking Certificate from Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management
  • 60 Professional Development Hours (6 CEUs)
  • 38 Professional Development Units (PDUs) toward PMI recertification
  • 30 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification
  • 30 Credit hours towards HRCI recertification

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Who should enroll.

  • C-level executives, VPs, managers
  • Industry leaders with 2-10+ years experience
  • Mid-level professionals looking to move into leadership roles
  • Engineers and designers leading projects
  • Consultants or analysts
  • Anyone whose work involves devising, proposing, and defending evidence-based solutions

critical thinking in online classes

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critical thinking in online classes

Course details

An introduction to critical thinking.

This is an In-person course which requires your attendance to the weekly meetings which take place in Oxford.

In print, online and in conversation, we frequently encounter conflicting views on important issues: from climate change, vaccinations and current political events to economic policy, healthy lifestyles and parenting. It can be difficult to know how to make up one’s own mind when confronted with such diverse viewpoints.

This course teaches you how to critically engage with different points of view. You are given some guidelines that will help you decide to what extent to trust the person, organisation, website or publication defending a certain position. You are also shown how to assess others’ views and arrive at your own point of view through reasoning. We discuss examples of both reasoning about facts and the reasoning required in making practical decisions. We distinguish risky inferences with probable conclusions from risk-free inferences with certain conclusions. You are shown how to spot and avoid common mistakes in reasoning. 

No previous knowledge of critical thinking or logic is needed. This course will be enjoyed by those who relish the challenge of thinking rationally and learning new skills. The skills and concepts taught will also be useful when studying other areas of philosophy.

Programme details

Term Starts:  23rd April 2024

Week 1: What is critical thinking? What is the difference between reasoning and other ways of forming beliefs?

Week 2: What is a logical argument? How do arguments differ from conditionals, explanations and rhetoric?

Week 3: Certainty versus probability: the distinction between deductive and inductive reasoning.

Week 4: Deductive validity and logical form. 

Week 5: When do arguments rely on hidden premises? A closer look at probability. 

Week 6: Inductive generalisations: Reasoning from samples. 

Week 7: Reasoning about causes and inference to the best explanation.

Week 8: Practical reasoning: Reasoning about what to do.

Week 9: When is it appropriate to believe what others tell you? What is the significance of expertise?

Week 10: Putting it all together: We analyse and assess longer passages of reasoning.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information.

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO , the library catalogue.

Preparatory reading

  • Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic for Complete Beginners / Talbot, M
  • Critical Thinking : An Introduction to Reasoning Well / Watson, J C and Arp R

Recommended Reading List

Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend at least 80% of the classes on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.

If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses

Dr Andrea Lechler

Andrea Lechler holds a degree in Computational Linguistics, an MSc in Artificial Intelligence, and an MA and PhD in Philosophy. She has extensive experience of teaching philosophy for OUDCE and other institutions. Her website is www.andrealechler.com. 

Course aims

To help students improve their critical thinking skills.    

Course Objectives:

  • To help students reflect on how people reason and how they try to persuade others of their views.
  • To make students familiar with the principles underlying different types of good reasoning as well as common mistakes in reasoning.
  • To present some guidelines for identifying trustworthy sources of information.

Teaching methods

The tutor will present the course content in an interactive way using plenty of examples and exercises. Students are encouraged to ask questions and participate in class discussions and group work. To consolidate their understanding of the subject they will be assigned further exercises as homework.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • be able to pick out and analyse passages of reasoning in texts and conversations
  • understand the most important ways of assessing the cogency of such reasoning
  • know how to assess the trustworthiness of possible sources of information.

Assessment methods

Assessment is based on a set of exercises similar to those discussed in class. One set of homework exercises can be submitted as a practice assignment.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form

Application

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an  enrolment form (Word)  or  enrolment form (Pdf) .

Level and demands

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)

Terms & conditions for applicants and students

Information on financial support

critical thinking in online classes

critical thinking in online classes

Looking for something?

Critical Thinking in the Online Classroom

Computer and books

But what exactly is critical thinking? A review of the literature shows that there is no agreed-upon definition. Indeed, “critical thinking” is a vague term, leading many authors to shape their definition based on the needs they identify in their field. Fortunately, many definitions overlap when it comes to essential characteristics of critical thinking. This article provides a succinct, universal definition of critical thinking, followed by two examples of how an instructor can encourage critical thinking in the delivery of an online classroom.

Defining Critical Thinking

Leading scholars on critical thinking Richard Paul and Linda Elder (n.d.) and Denise Halpern (2013) provide a helpful basis for developing a working definition of critical thinking. Incorporating elements from their work, we can define critical thinking as:

Fair-minded thinking that is self-guided and self-disciplined, is purposeful and goal oriented, and performs at the highest level of quality.

This definition encapsulates the idea that critical thinking isn’t something that someone just does ; it also entails one’s attitude . Let’s elaborate on the components that make up critical thinking:

  • Accountability : Being willing to self-correct when needed
  • Flexibility : Looking at new ideas, reconsidering old ideas in a new light, or being willing to suspend judgment until you obtain more information
  • Self-guided and self-disciplined : The idea behind these two words is that no one can make you practice critical thinking. You can learn what critical thinking is and how to practice critical thinking skills; however, you and you alone are responsible for using these skills.
  • Purposeful and goal oriented : Thinking is not an end unto itself. Why are you thinking through a particular issue? What do you seek to accomplish? Critical thinking must have a purpose behind it.
  • High quality : Not every matter requires extensive, deep thinking; there are varying degrees of effort and time put into thinking through matters. However, the point behind “highest level of quality” is that one should seek to do his or her best in every situation and avoid lazy and fallacious thinking.

Critical thinking, then, is more than a collection of skills or how one thinks. To think critically entails one’s attitude, purpose, and effort. In short, it includes one’s approach to ideas and matters.

Encouraging Critical Thinking in the Online Classroom

If critical thinking includes one’s attitude, purpose, and effort, then how can you encourage critical thinking in your online course? The online format is fertile ground for fostering critical thinking because the instructor has various avenues within the LMS to engage students in activities that foster deeper, more substantive thinking. Below are two suggestions to this end.

Create Dialogue on the Discussion Boards

In addition to elaborating on the discussion question, you can engage students by addressing their responses. In doing so, you can ask various types of questions to get students to address problematic argumentation, elaborate on incomplete ideas, or think through the implications of their assertion(s). In other words, you can help students use their initial response as a springboard into deeper and meaningful thinking. Below are various kinds of questions that you can use to stretch students to think critically (Davis as cited in McDonald, 2016):

For more tips on how to develop effective discussion board questions, see our article “ Writing Discussion Forum Questions .”

Include Supplemental Resources

Critical thinking is a hot topic in education today, but oftentimes little is said about what critical thinking is. As an online facilitator, you can help foster within students a substantive approach to critical thinking through the use of discussion board questions and supplemental materials. Instilling critical thinking in your students will not only help them master your course objectives, but also give them skills they can apply far beyond the classroom.

Cothran, M. (2018, January 7). The critical thinking skills hoax. The Classical Teacher , Winter 2018. Retrieved from https://www.memoriapress.com/articles/the-critical-thinking-skills-hoax/

Halpern, D. (2013). Thought and knowledge: An introduction to critical thinking (5th ed.). New York: Psychology Press.

McDonald, D. (2016, October 12). Writing discussion forum questions. Retrieved from http://ctl.wiley.com/writing-discussion-forum-questions/

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (n.d.). The foundation for critical thinking. Retrieved from http://www.criticalthinking.org/

Additional Resources

If you want to read substantive work on what critical thinking is , Richard Paul and Linda Elder have developed a society devoted to understanding the nature of critical thinking and to using critical thinking skills in a wide array of settings. Check out their site: www.criticalthinking.org .

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critical thinking in online classes

Fall 2024 Online Courses

All participants get complimentary semester-long access to the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online !

Courses also count toward certification in our approach .

Page Contents

• Important Deadlines

• CT700 - How to Infuse Critical Thinking Into Your Instruction

• CT800 - Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of You Learning and Your Life

• CT701 - How to Infuse Critical Thinking Into Instruction, Part II: Advanced Course

• Our Instructors

• Testimonials

• Frequently Asked Questions

Important Deadlines

August 19, 2024: Last day to drop with a full registration refund.

August 20, 2024: Instruction begins.

September 1, 2024: Last day to register .

October 15, 2024: Last day to drop with a prorated registration refund ($25 minimum refund deduction once the course begins).

December 10, 2024: Semester ends.

Course Offerings

Ct700 - how to infuse critical thinking into your instruction.

critical thinking in online classes

This course  introduces a substantive conception of critical thinking and how to infuse this concept throughout your instruction. It fosters understanding of how to teach critical thinking skills to students through any subject or discipline, and at any level of instruction. In this course, you will be introduced to the elements of reasoning, universal intellectual standards, and intellectual traits through readings, discussions, and practical application activities. You will redesign lessons and strategies using the concepts and principles of critical thinking. You will practice strategies for Socratic discussions. You will help students learn to consciously use critical thinking concepts and strategies in learning, and in their lives. You will redesign and teach lessons you develop for your own classes - and receive course credit for doing so! 

While applying your mind in this course, you will:

  • deepen your understanding of the foundations of critical thinking;

critical thinking in online classes

  • develop skills and abilities in placing fairminded critical thinking at the heart of teaching and learning, including explicitly emphasizing the development of Intellectual Virtues among your students;
  • design instruction that fosters explicit critical thinking throughout your course(s);
  • help your students learn the tools they need for developing as ethical critical thinkers;
  • come to understand the role that native pathologies of human thought play in impeding intellectual development;
  • explicitly use the Elements of Reasoning and Intellectual Standards to create critical thinking lessons in your subject area(s);
  • help students cultivate their ability to think within key concepts in your subject(s) and discipline(s); and
  • create lessons and assessment processes that dovetail with fostering critical thinking at every moment of teaching and learning.

CT800 - Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life

critical thinking in online classes

Since few people realize the powerful role that thinking plays in their lives, few gain significant command of it. Most people are frequently victims of their thinking; that is, they are hurt  rather than helped   by it. Most people are their own worst enemies. Their thinking is a continual source of problems, preventing them from recognizing opportunities, keeping them from exerting energy where it will do the most good, poisoning relationships, and leading them down blind alleys.

This course will introduce you to the tools the best thinkers use and will exemplify the activities and practices you can use to begin emulating them. Here are some of the qualities of the best thinkers:

  • The best thinkers think about their thinking.    They do not take thinking for granted. They do not trust to fate to make them good in thinking. They    notice  their thinking. They    reflect   on their thinking. They   act  upon their thinking. 
  • The best thinkers are highly purposeful.    They do not simply act. They know why they act. They know what they are about. They have clear goals and clear priorities. They continually check their activities for alignment with their goals. 

critical thinking in online classes

  • The best thinkers distinguish their thoughts from their feelings and desires.    They know that wanting something to be so does not make it so. They know that one can be unjustifiably angry, afraid, or insecure. They do not let unexamined emotions determine their decisions. They have “discovered” their minds, and they examine the way their minds operate as a result. They take deliberate charge of those operations.
  • The best thinkers routinely take thinking apart.    They “analyze” thinking. They do not trust the mind to analyze itself automatically. They realize that analyzing thinking is an art one must consciously learn. They realize that it takes knowledge of the parts of thinking, and practice in exercising control over them.
  • The best thinkers routinely evaluate thinking, determining its strengths and weaknesses.    They do not trust the mind to evaluate itself automatically. They realize that the automatic ways in which the mind evaluates itself are inherently flawed. They realize that evaluating thinking is an art one must consciously learn. They realize that it takes knowledge of the universal standards for thinking, and practice in exercising control over them. 

This course, as a whole, will introduce you to the tools of mind that will help you reason well through the problems and issues you face - whether in the classroom, in your personal life, or in your professional life. If you take these ideas seriously, and practice using them, you can take command of the thinking that ultimately will command the quality of your life. 

As you apply your mind in this course, you can expect to do the following:

  • understand what critical thinking is, how it differs from other forms of human thought, and its foundational principles and concepts;
  • become explicitly aware of the barriers to critical thinking development (egocentricity and sociocentricity), as well as how to recognize and overcome their many manifestations in daily life;
  • analyze thinking by breaking it down into its fundamental components (the Elements of Thought), and learn how those components work together in reasoning;

critical thinking in online classes

  • develop Intellectual Virtues, or desirable traits of mind, through practice over time;
  • formulate clear, important, relevant questions;
  • differentiate between questions of fact, of preference, and of reasoned judgment, and understand the best approaches to take for each of those categories;
  • read critically and writing substantively;
  • recognize the problem of media bias and propaganda as barriers to critical thought in individuals and human societies;
  • develop a clear framework for ethical reasoning and understand how it differs from other modes of thought, such as religious, ideological, political, and legal thinking;
  • learn the importance of fairminded critical thinking in self-actualization and the cultivation of fairminded critical homes, workplaces, classrooms, and societies; and
  • understand the stages of critical thinking development, as well as determine your current such stage and what is required to ascend to higher stages.

  

CT701 - How to Infuse Critical Thinking Into Instruction, Part II: Advanced Course

Registration Closed

critical thinking in online classes

  • Developing effective strategies for fostering fairminded critical thinking in instruction.
  • Leading more advanced Socratic dialog.
  • Deepening your understanding of the foundations of critical thinking. 

critical thinking in online classes

  • Beginning to outline a Thinker's Guide to Critical Thinking within your field of study (showing proficiency in understanding the relationship between critical thinking and your field of study).
  • Understanding more deeply the concepts of close reading and substantive writing, in order to better foster these understandings in student thought. 
  • Placing the concept of fairminded critical thinking at the heart of teaching and learning, including an explicit emphasis on the development of Intellectual Virtues. 
  • Understanding the roles played by native human pathologies of thought in impeding intellectual development. 
  • Redesigning lessons with critical thinking at the heart of teaching and learning processes.
  • Designing instructional assessment processes that dovetail with fostering critical thinking at every moment in teaching and learning. 

General Information

Our instructors.

critical thinking in online classes

Testimonials

  • 'I told my boss this week during a faculty meeting that this has been the best university course I've ever taken.'
  • 'The instruction and course content was phenomenal. . . . this course has added significant value to my life.'
  • 'I have really enjoyed this course. . . meetings were engaging and very informative. I plan to attend additional offerings this academic year.'

critical thinking in online classes

  • "I would like to express my deepest appreciation to you [Dr. Linda Elder] and Richard Paul. You both created a system for life guidance through your very arduous work on critical thinking. Thank you for adding the intellectual virtues to critical thinking. Critical thinking without the intellectual virtues is still narrow-minded thinking. Thanks to [instructor] Paul Bankes [CT700], we could get familiar with fairminded critical thinking this semester in the class. Since I have also attended a couple of courses in psychology, I could better understand what majestic guidance you have created to help us have better lives by improving our way of thinking. I just wanted to say "THANK YOU" for each second you have devoted in this way. I will try to internalize fairminded critical thinking in my life and help to develop this idea as much as I possibly can. I hope one day I can claim that I am from the community of Fairminded Critical Thinking."
  • "I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for allowing me to complete the CT700 Course. It has been the most humbling and enlightening experience of my academic life. . . . I will now embark on my vision to make a difference in the South African Education System. Once, again, my gratitude goes out to you . . . "
  • "CT700 was an excellent course that changed my thinking and life. It was painful at times and I found it took time for me to meaningfully complete the assignments. As I worked through the first few weeks, I also wondered if I would be able to change my thinking process. By the end of the course, I grew personally and professionally in ways that I wasn’t sure were possible."

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the courses work.

Before the course begins, we email each registrant with the web address of the course and his or her login information. Everything is done through the web: viewing and submitting assignments, communication with the instructor and classmates, etc.

How long do the courses last?

How much time do the courses require each week?

The assignments, if done well, will take an average of 3-4 hours per week for most participants.

Who teaches the courses?

Each course is facilitated by an instructor educated in the Paul-Elder conception of critical thinking, under the direction of the Foundation's Senior Fellows. In recent years, some courses have been instructed by  Dr. Paul Bankes , while others have been instructed by Dr. Brian Barnes .

Our registration fee covers the cost of tuition and all course materials. This fee is $942.

Will I receive a certificate of completion?

critical thinking in online classes

How will I receive my materials after I register for a course?

The course materials will be available online in a digital format.

What if I need to drop the course?

Please see the 'Important Dates' section at the top of this page.

______________________________________________________________________

critical thinking in online classes

Explained: Importance of critical thinking, problem-solving skills in curriculum

F uture careers are no longer about domain expertise or technical skills. Rather, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in employees are on the wish list of every big organization today. Even curriculums and pedagogies across the globe and within India are now requiring skilled workers who are able to think critically and are analytical.

The reason for this shift in perspective is very simple.

These skills provide a staunch foundation for comprehensive learning that extends beyond books or the four walls of the classroom. In a nutshell, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are a part of '21st Century Skills' that can help unlock valuable learning for life.

Over the years, the education system has been moving away from the system of rote and other conventional teaching and learning parameters.

They are aligning their curriculums to the changing scenario which is becoming more tech-driven and demands a fusion of critical skills, life skills, values, and domain expertise. There's no set formula for success.

Rather, there's a defined need for humans to be more creative, innovative, adaptive, agile, risk-taking, and have a problem-solving mindset.

In today's scenario, critical thinking and problem-solving skills have become more important because they open the human mind to multiple possibilities, solutions, and a mindset that is interdisciplinary in nature.

Therefore, many schools and educational institutions are deploying AI and immersive learning experiences via gaming, and AR-VR technologies to give a more realistic and hands-on learning experience to their students that hone these abilities and help them overcome any doubt or fear.

ADVANTAGES OF CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM-SOLVING IN CURRICULUM

Ability to relate to the real world:  Instead of theoretical knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills encourage students to look at their immediate and extended environment through a spirit of questioning, curiosity, and learning. When the curriculum presents students with real-world problems, the learning is immense.

Confidence, agility & collaboration : Critical thinking and problem-solving skills boost self-belief and confidence as students examine, re-examine, and sometimes fail or succeed while attempting to do something.

They are able to understand where they may have gone wrong, attempt new approaches, ask their peers for feedback and even seek their opinion, work together as a team, and learn to face any challenge by responding to it.

Willingness to try new things: When problem-solving skills and critical thinking are encouraged by teachers, they set a robust foundation for young learners to experiment, think out of the box, and be more innovative and creative besides looking for new ways to upskill.

It's important to understand that merely introducing these skills into the curriculum is not enough. Schools and educational institutions must have upskilling workshops and conduct special training for teachers so as to ensure that they are skilled and familiarized with new teaching and learning techniques and new-age concepts that can be used in the classrooms via assignments and projects.

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are two of the most sought-after skills. Hence, schools should emphasise the upskilling of students as a part of the academic curriculum.

The article is authored by Dr Tassos Anastasiades, Principal- IB, Genesis Global School, Noida. 

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A case study of online discussion boards for first year college students: a qualitative case study.

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Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)

first-year students, online learning, higher education, sociocultural theory, community of inquiry

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Cummings, Eric, "A Case Study of Online Discussion Boards for First Year College Students: A Qualitative Case Study" (2024). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects . 5646. https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/doctoral/5646

The purpose of this case study was to understand first-year college students’ perspectives on online discussion boards in the context of learning, via the community of inquiry framework. The theory guiding this study is Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, which identifies how learners create their own learning experiences in the classroom. The theory’s value comes from it being used to understand student thought in discussion boards, which is the study’s focus. A case study was the design, and the goal was to gather empirical data from discussion board experiences from students. The central research question was What are the experiences of a group of first-year nontraditional students engaged in a discussion board for a virtual English composition course? Fourteen students, 13 females and one male, made up the sample. Their discussion board responses, individual interviews, and group study recordings represent the qualitative data. All data were collected in a virtual setting via the online classroom, as well as Zoom. Interpretational phenomenological analysis was employed to analyze student interview responses, the group study, and discussion board responses to uncover themes in the data. The study found four significant themes during the analysis phase. First, the participants took little satisfaction in the social presence in the discussion board due to a lack of social opportunities. However, the participants did enjoy instructor presence, thanks to quick, encouraging, and critical responses. In addition, the participants did not exhibit a sense of critical thinking and seemed to participate with mostly the minimum requirement. It is hoped this research will act as a foundation for additional exploration into the community of inquiry’s relationship with online learning by providing starting points for answers to the issue of online student engagement.

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NCERT Class 12 Syllabus Changes for 2025!

NCERT-books-2025

The NCERT syllabus for class 12 students has undergone a few alterations for the academic session 2024-25. These changes were prominently mentioned in the most recent publication of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Board. 

The concise new syllabi for students learning in classes 9-12 will allow more time for revision. Therefore, everyone will naturally develop more critical thinking skills and their education will be aligned to the demands of the modern world. 

Overview of the New CBSE Class 12 Syllabus

The CBSE Board aims to provide Class 12 students with more comprehensive education modules. Their main agenda is to promote essential skills and values which eventually help learners succeed in higher education. 

Below you can check the subjects whose syllabi have been modified to nurture the students in the long run:

  • Accountancy
  • Business Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
  • Geography, etc.

In the upcoming sections, you can learn about the changes made in the syllabuses of some of the subjects.

NCERT Syllabus for Class 12 English

The class 12 core syllabus for English now comprises three distinct sections – Sections A, B, and C. Here are the specifics:

  • Section A will include a reading comprehension activity. Every student must go through two passages under this segment – one seen and one unseen. After analysing the facts, they have to solve either MCQs or short answer type questions, the word limit for which may vary between 40-50 words.
  • Next, Section B brings up creative writing tasks where you need to complete a report/ article writing followed by a notice, then finally letter and formal/ informal invitation writing. 
  • In the end, Section C is all about the core Literature textbook and supplementary reading examination. Here, the teacher evaluates a student’s proficiency in framing long answer-type questions. Also, there are a few short answer type questions and tricky MCQs that test a candidate’s interpretation and analytical skills beyond the text. 

List of Chapters Dropped From Maths NCERT Syllabus 2025-24

A vast portion of the old maths syllabus has been reduced by the 35-member panel of NCERT. Here you can check out some chapterwise changes:

  • Relations and Functions

Topics Dropped: Composition of functions and invertible functions, Examples 24 and 25, Summary points 11-13 and 15-19, some specific questions: 1-3, 6-7, 9, 11-14, 18-19

Topics Dropped: Elementary operations (Transformation) of a matrix 3.8.1, all questions except question number 18 under inverse of matrices by elementary operations, selective questions from miscellaneous exercise (ques. 1-3 and 12)

Topics Dropped: Comparison between differentiation and integration, Type of integral, Interpretation of indefinite integral, Points (xi)-(xiii) in the list of derivatives, Geometrical, Questions 19, 32, 40 and 44.

New Reduced NCERT Syllabus for Business Studies 

For Business Studies I & II, the NCERT panel has altered the syllabus too as per the NEP 2020 format. Here you can see the chapter-wise changes:

  • Business Environment

Topics Dropped: Impact of Government Policy Changes on Business and Industry, with Special Reference to Adoption of the Policies of Liberalisation, 

Topic Dropped: Qualities of a Good Leader

  • Controlling

Topic Dropped: Techniques of Controlling

Besides these partial changes, the whole chapter of the Financial Market has been omitted from the new syllabus.

To get the detailed syllabus for the CBSE class 12 Board Exam 2024 , you can visit cbse.gov.in and find the datasheet for class 12. You can download the PDF for later use.

Possible Impact of the New NCERT Syllabus on Students

The revised syllabus will enhance the growth mindset of students. As the new teaching methods will usher in, everyone will get to implement their knowledge practically.

The schools will focus more towards developing digital literacy. Thus, one gets the scope to nurture skills like data analysis, coding, online research, etc. 

Also, the updated syllabus prioritises health and well-being. Hence, all the students become aware of nutrition, hygiene, and physical and mental wellness. 

All in all, the new NCERT syllabus aims to gradually develop a standardised framework that encourages education among students from different parts of the country. Everyone will learn how to utilise the available resources and develop a deeper understanding of the subjects of their choice. 

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The Pros and Cons of AI in Special Education

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Special education teachers fill out mountains of paperwork, customize lessons for students with a wide range of learning differences, and attend hours of bureaucratic meetings.

It’s easy to see why it would be tempting to outsource parts of that job to a robot.

While there may never be a special educator version of “Star Wars”’ protocol droid C-3PO, generative artificial tools—including ChatGPT and others developed with the large language models created by its founder, Open AI—can help special education teachers perform parts of their job more efficiently, allowing them to spend more time with their students, experts and educators say.

But those shortcuts come with plenty of cautions, they add.

Teachers need to review artificial intelligence’s suggestions carefully to ensure that they are right for specific students. Student data—including diagnoses of learning differences or cognitive disorders—need to be kept private.

Even special educators who have embraced the technology urge to proceed with care.

“I’m concerned about how AI is being presented right now to educators, that it’s this magical tool,” said Julie Tarasi, who teaches special education at Lakeview Middle School in the Park Hill school district near Kansas City, Mo. She recently completed a course in AI sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education. “And I don’t think that the AI literacy aspect of it is necessarily being [shared] to the magnitude that it should be with teachers.”

Park Hill is cautiously experimenting with AI’s potential as a paperwork partner for educators and an assistive technology for some students in special education.

The district is on the vanguard. Only about 1 in 6 principals and district leaders—16 percent—said their schools or districts were piloting AI tools or using them in a limited manner with students in special education, according to a nationally representative EdWeek Research Center survey conducted in March and April.

AI tools may work best for teachers who already have a deep understanding of what works for students in special education, and of the tech itself, said Amanda Morin, a member of the advisory board for the learner-variability project at Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization that works on equity and technology issues in schools.

“If you feel really confident in your special education knowledge and experience and you have explored AI [in depth], I think those two can combine in a way that can really accelerate the way you serve students,” Morin said.

But “if you are a novice at either, it’s not going to serve your students well because you don’t know what you don’t know yet,” she added. “You may not even know if the tool is giving you a good answer.”

Here are some of the areas where Park Hill educators and other school and district leaders see AI’s promise for special education—and what caveats to look out for:

Promise: Reducing the paperwork burden.

Some special education teachers spend as many as eight hours a week writing student-behavior plans, progress reports, and other documentation.

“Inevitably, we’re gonna get stuck, we’re gonna struggle to word things,” Tarasi said. AI can be great for busting through writer’s block or finding a clearer, more objective way to describe a student’s behavior, she said.

What’s more, tools such as Magic School—an AI platform created for K-12 education—can help special education teachers craft the student learning goals that must be included in an individualized education program, or IEP.

“I can say ‘I need a reading goal to teach vowels and consonants to a student,’ and it will generate a goal,” said Tara Bachmann, Park Hill’s assistive-technology facilitator. “You can put the criteria you want in, but it makes it measurable, then my teachers can go in and insert the specifics about the student” without involving AI, Bachmann said.

These workarounds can cut the process of writing an IEP by up to 30 minutes, Bachmann said—giving teachers more time with students.

AI can also come to the rescue when a teacher needs to craft a polite, professional email to a parent after a stress-inducing encounter with their child.

Some Park Hill special education teachers use “Goblin,” a free tool aimed at helping neurodivergent people organize tasks, to take the “spice” out of those messages, Tarasi said.

A teacher could write “the most emotionally charged email. Then you hit a button called ‘formalize.’ And it makes it like incredibly professional,” Bachmann said. “Our teachers like it because they have a way to release the emotion but still communicate the message to the families.”

Caveat: Don’t share personally identifiable student information. Don’t blindly embrace AI’s suggestions.

Teachers must be extremely careful about privacy issues when using AI tools to write documents—from IEPs to emails—that contain sensitive student information, Tarasi said.

“If you wouldn’t put it on a billboard outside of the school, you should not be putting it into any sort of AI,” Tarasi said. “There’s no sense of guaranteed privacy.”

Tarasi advises her colleagues to “absolutely not put in names” when using generative AI to craft documents, she said. While including students’ approximate grade level may be OK in certain circumstances, inputting their exact age or mentioning a unique diagnosis is a no-no.

To be sure, if the information teachers put into AI is too vague, educators might not get accurate suggestions for their reports. That requires a balance.

“You need to be specific without being, without being pinpoint,” Tarasi said.

Caveat: AI works best for teachers who already understand special education

Another caution: Although AI tools can help teachers craft a report or customize a general education lesson for students in special education, teachers need to already have a deep understanding of their students to know whether to adopt its recommendations.

Relying solely on AI tools for lesson planning or writing reports “takes the individualized out of individualized education,” Morin said. “Because what [the technology] is doing is spitting out things that come up a lot” as opposed to carefully considering what’s best for a specific student, like a good teacher can.

Educators can tweak their prompts—the questions they ask AI—to get better, more specific advice, she added.

“A seasoned special educator would be able to say ‘So I have a student with ADHD, and they’re fidgety’ and get more individualized recommendations,” Morin said.

Promise: Making lessons more accessible.

Ensuring students in special education master the same course content as their peers can require teachers to spend hours simplifying the language of a text to an appropriate reading level.

Generative AI tools can accomplish that same task—often called “leveling a text"—in just minutes, said Josh Clark, the leader of the Landmark School , a private school in Massachusetts serving children with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences.

“If you have a class of 30 kids in 9th grade, and they’re all reading about photosynthesis, then for one particular child, you can customize [the] reading level without calling them out and without anybody else knowing and without you, the teacher, spending hours,” Clark said. “I think that’s a super powerful way of allowing kids to access information they may not be able to otherwise.”

Similarly, in Park Hill, Bachmann has used Canva—a design tool with a version specifically geared toward K-12 schools and therefore age-appropriate for many students—to help a student with cerebral palsy create the same kind of black-and-white art his classmates were making.

Kristen Ponce, the district’s speech and language pathologist, has used Canva to provide visuals for students in special education as they work to be more specific in their communication.

Case-in-point: One of Ponce’s students loves to learn about animals, but he has a very clear idea of what he’s looking for, she said. If the student just says “bear,” Canva will pull up a picture of, for instance, a brown grizzly. But the student may have been thinking of a polar bear.

That gives Ponce the opportunity to tell him, “We need to use more words to explain what you’re trying to say here,” she said. “We were able to move from ‘bear’ to ‘white bear on ice.’”

Caveat: It’s not always appropriate to use AI as an accessibility tool.

Not every AI tool can be used with every student. For instance, there are age restrictions for tools like ChatGPT, which isn’t for children under 13 or those under 18 without parent permission, Bachmann said. (ChatGPT does not independently verify a user’s age.)

“I caution my staff about introducing it to children who are too young and remembering that and that we try to focus on what therapists and teachers can do collectively to make life easier for [students],” she said.

“Accessibility is great,” she said. But when a teacher is thinking about “unleashing a child freely on AI, there is caution to it.”

Promise: Using AI tools to help students in special education communicate.

Park Hill is just beginning to use AI tools to help students in special education express their ideas.

One recent example: A student with a traumatic brain injury that affected her language abilities made thank you cards for several of her teachers using Canva.

“She was able to generate personal messages to people like the school nurses,” Bachmann said. “To her physical therapist who has taken her to all kinds of events outside in the community. She said, ‘You are my favorite therapist.’ She got very personal.”

There may be similar opportunities for AI to help students in special education write more effectively.

Some students with learning and thinking differences have trouble organizing their thoughts or getting their point across.

“When we ask a child to write, we’re actually asking them to do a whole lot of tasks at once,” Clark said. Aspects of writing that might seem relatively simple to a traditional learner—word retrieval, grammar, punctuation, spelling—can be a real roadblock for some students in special education, he said.

“It’s a huge distraction,” Clark said. The student may “have great ideas, but they have difficulty coming through.”

Caveat: Students may miss out on the critical-thinking skills writing builds.

Having students with language-processing differences use AI tools to better express themselves holds potential, but if it is not done carefully, students may miss developing key skills, said Digital Promise’s Morin.

AI “can be a really positive adaptive tool, but I think you have to be really structured about how you’re doing it,” she said.

ChatGPT or a similar tool may be able to help a student with dyslexia or a similar learning difference “create better writing, which I think is different than writing better,” Morin said.

Since it’s likely that students will be able to use those tools in the professional world, it makes sense that they begin using them in school, she said.

But the tools available now may not adequately explain the rationale behind the changes they make to a student’s work or help students express themselves more clearly in the future.

“The process is just as important as the outcome, especially with kids who learn differently, right?” Morin said. “Your process matters.”

Clark agreed on the need for moving cautiously. His own school is trying what he described as “isolated experiments” in using AI to help students with language-processing differences express themselves better.

The school is concentrating, for now, on older students preparing to enter college. Presumably, many will be able to use AI to complete some postsecondary assignments. “How do we make sure it’s an equal playing field?” Clark said.

A version of this article appeared in the May 22, 2024 edition of Education Week as The Pros and Cons of AI in Special Education

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Explore the world of artificial intelligence with online courses from MIT

Explore the world of artificial intelligence with online courses from MIT

Through mit opencourseware, mitx, and mit xpro learn about machine learning, computational thinking, deepfakes, and more..

With the rise of artificial intelligence, the job landscape is changing — rapidly. MIT Open Learning offers online courses and resources straight from the MIT classroom that are designed to empower learners and professionals across industries with the competencies essential for succeeding in an increasingly AI-powered world.

Elevate your skills, unlock new opportunities, and advance your career with the following courses and materials available through MIT OpenCourseWare, MITx , and MIT xPRO — all part of MIT Open Learning.

Free MIT courses and resources

  • AI 101 : Get an introduction to artificial intelligence that’s designed for those with little to no background in the subject.
  • Artificial Intelligence : Examine the power of AI with MIT’s foundational course about the basic knowledge representation, problem solving, and learning methods of artificial intelligence.
  • Introduction to Algorithms : Explore mathematical modeling of computational problems, common algorithms, algorithmic paradigms, and data structures used to solve these problems.
  • Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science : Learn how to use computation to understand real-world phenomena.
  • Introduction to Machine Learning : Get to know the principles, algorithms, and applications of machine learning from the point of view of modeling and prediction.
  • Machine Learning with Python: From Linear Models to Deep Learning : Get an in-depth introduction to the field of machine learning, from linear models to deep learning and reinforcement learning, through hands-on Python projects.
  • Machine Vision : Understand the process of generating a symbolic description of the environment from an image, by exploring the physics of image formation, image analysis, binary image processing, and filtering.
  • Matrix Calculus for Machine Learning and Beyond : Learn a coherent approach to matrix calculus showing techniques that allow you to think of a matrix holistically — not just as an array of scalars — generalize and compute derivatives of important matrix factorizations, and understand how differentiation formulas must be reimagined in large-scale computing.
  • Matrix Methods in Data Analysis, Signal Processing, and Machine Learning : Review linear algebra with applications to probability and statistics and optimization, and get a full explanation of deep learning.
  • Generative Artificial Intelligence in K-12 Education : Get an introduction to the foundations of generative AI technology and the new opportunities it enables for K-12 education.
  • Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes : Gain critical skills to better understand the past and contemporary threat of misinformation.
  • Sorting Truth from Fiction: Civic Online Reasoning : Master quick and effective practices for evaluating online information that you can bring back to your classroom.
  • Ethics of Technology : Discover the tools of philosophical ethics through application to contemporary issues concerning technology, including topics such as privacy and surveillance, algorithmic bias, the promise and peril of artificial intelligence, automation and the future of work, and threats to democracy in the digital age.
  • Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing: AI and Algorithms : Learn how to practice responsible technology development through insights and methods from the humanities and social sciences, including an emphasis on social responsibility.
  • Exploring Fairness In Machine Learning For International Development : Discover how and why machine learning is used in international development, explore the ethical challenges of machine learning bias and fairness in this context, and consider guiding principles for its use.
  • Understanding the World through Data : Become a data explorer by learning how to leverage data and basic machine learning algorithms to understand the world.

Paid MIT courses for working professionals

  • Machine Learning, Modeling, and Simulation: Engineering Problem-Solving in the Age of AI : Demystify machine learning through computational engineering principles and applications in this two-course program specifically designed for engineers, scientists, and researchers. Course 1: Machine Learning, Modeling, and Simulation Principles Course 2: Applying Machine Learning to Engineering and Science
  • Deep Learning: Mastering Neural Networks : Explore the core mathematical and conceptual ideas underlying deep neural networks; experiment with deep learning models and algorithms using available machine learning toolkits; and examine application approaches and case studies where deep learning is being used.
  • Designing and Building AI Products and Services : Learn the four stages of AI product design; identify applicable AI technologies to improve organizational processes; and analyze technical and operational requirements to build AI models.
  • Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Fundamentals and Applications : Discover the AI design process model through its various stages; understand different machine learning algorithms and how they can be applied in varying scenarios; and examine neural network NLP algorithms and their widespread application.
  • AI for Senior Executives : Strategically harness AI tools to improve efficiencies, cut costs, provide customer insights, and generate new product ideas; develop a strong foundation in generative AI; and understand the benefits, challenges, and ethical considerations of implementing generative AI and prompt engineering in an organization.

MIT OpenCourseWare offers free, online, open educational resources from more than 2,500 courses that span the MIT undergraduate and graduate curriculum. MITx offers hundreds of high-quality massive open online courses adapted from the MIT classroom for learners worldwide. MIT xPRO offers paid courses designed using cutting-edge research in the neuroscience of learning; its online learning programs leverage vetted content from world-renowned experts to make learning accessible anytime, anywhere.

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