I’ve signed up for a range of courses through Coursera, and the first to kick off has been Critical Thinking in Global Challenges. The course is convened by Dr Celine Caquineau and Professor Mayank Dutia of Edinburgh University. It aims to develop and enhance one’s abilities to think critically, assess information from a variety of sources, and develop reasoned arguments in context.
Distinguishing between facts, assertions and opinions particularly resonates with me because of my background as a public sector policy officer. I’m used to evaluating the credibility of evidence from my work in market research. It’s especially interesting in terms of the vanity metrics that Eric Ries talks about in The Lean Startup (and in this post on Tim Ferriss’s blog): does this evidence really show what it claims to show? Critical thinking is essential for designing services and products. It is a skill best developed through constant doing and practice; this course is a great opportunity for me to keep my mind in shape.