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Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age

Apply basic concepts from statistics, probability, scientific methodology and cognitive psychology into your way of thinking.

2,187 enrolled on this course

Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age

Learn how to think critically and analytically

This four-week critical thinking course presents basic concepts from statistics, probability, scientific methodology, cognitive psychology and cost-benefit theory and shows how they can be applied to everything from picking one product over another to critiquing media accounts of scientific research.

Apply concepts of probability theory, the scientific method and microeconomics to judgments

Most careers and professions these days require more than general intelligence. In addition, they require the ability to collect, analyse and think about data.

This course will teach you how the basic concepts of statistics and probability - including the concepts of variables, normal distribution, standard deviation, correlation, reliability, validity, and effect size - and how these can be applied into your daily life.

You’ll also learn how to conduct a cost benefit analysis, and will learn how to accurately assess whether two variables are related to one another, and how to avoid false or illusory correlations.

Evaluate and critique reports of scientific findings within the media as well as cognitive biases

You’ll then decipher why experiments provide far better evidence about causality than correlations, and will evaluate and critique reports of scientific findings within the media.

You’ll also reflect on the most pervasive and important cognitive biases (or inference procedures) that are both rapid and automatic, but which usually produce incorrect results. Ultimately, the end result of this course will help you to develop a broad understanding of how to make good decisions.

Learn from critical thinking experts at the University of Michigan

You’ll be learning from leaders within the critical thinking field at the University of Michigan and will be given expert advice throughout.

What topics will you cover?

  • Basic concepts of statistics and probability including the concepts of variable, normal distribution, standard deviation, correlation, reliability, validity, and effect size
  • How to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, and why you should throw the analysis away after doing it if the decision is personal and very important
  • How to accurately assess whether two variables are related to one another, and how to avoid false or illusory correlations
  • Why experiments provide far better evidence about causality than correlations
  • Compare logical and dialectical reasoning and gain an understanding of what conclusions may be drawn when one form of thinking is used over the other

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply basic concepts of statistics, probability theory, the scientific method, psychology and microeconomics to the sorts of judgments and decisions we have to make in everyday life.
  • Evaluate and critique reports of scientific findings in the media.
  • Reflect on the most pervasive and important cognitive biases – inference procedures that are rapid and automatic but which usually produce erroneous judgments.
  • Develop a broad understanding of how to make good decisions, including the logical reasoning and errors that lead to inaccurate assessments or poor decisions.

Who is the course for?

This beginner’s course is suitable for anyone who wants to be able to reason better, understand logic and logical errors, and develop a better understanding of how to make good decisions.

Who developed the course?

University of Michigan

As the #1 public research university in the United States, U-M has been a leader in research, learning, and teaching for more than 200 years, with 102 Grad programs in the top 10 — U.S. News & World Report (2019).

  • Established

    1817
  • Location

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  • World ranking

    Top 30Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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