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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.
- 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
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?
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).
LocationAnn Arbor, Michigan, USA
World rankingTop 30Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020
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