About the Author

I am William R. Minto, a Canadian philosopher and knowledge management specialist currently living and working in the metro Detroit area of Michigan. I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario in 1997, where I specialized in the philosophy of science. In my academic life, I have taught critical thinking and informal logic for several years, as well as various other courses in philosophy.

For details about my academic background and teaching experience, visit my academic profile on LinkedIn.

For details about my work in enterprise information technology as a knowledge management specialist, visit my IT profile on LinkedIn.

You can follow me on Twitter at @william_minto.

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About the Blog

This blog, Effective Thinking, is dedicated to those who share the Enlightenment vision of a peaceful and prosperous global civilization based on reason and science. In my initial post, I shared a bit of the background of why I started this blog and what readers might expect.

 

About the Effective Thinking Course

My course on Effective Thinking (I’ve nicknamed it ‘ET 101’) has been under development for several years. It has been delayed a couple of times, based on my own concerns about the pedagogical effectiveness of stand-alone critical thinking courses. For now, it is “on hold.” When it is nearing readiness for launch, I will unhide the “Courses” page and invite people to enroll.

Taking a critical thinking course can fail to benefit someone who takes it if they don’t practice what they have learned. That much should be obvious. But even for those who do practice, they may have some residual reluctance to apply what they have learned without reservation, or fall back into old habits after the course is over. Is there a way to design a course to maximize the likelihood of there being a lasting change in a person’s attitude toward critical thinking? I think there is – and it involves the learner doing some work that typical critical thinking classes omit.

What is particularly troubling is that some research suggests that pre- and post-test scores on critical thinking assessments do not reveal the desired “delta.” That is, on average, critical thinking classes don’t raise post-test scores like they should if they are effective. Can a critical thinking class actually be effective? Again, I think this is possible – and again, it involves addressing a lacuna in the conventional critical thinking curriculum.

 

When it is ready, ET 101 will be offered to adult professionals who wish to make a deeper study of critical thinking by taking formal training in an online environment. Having facilitated both online and classroom courses at the university level for adult/continuing education programs based on curricula I (in retrospect) consider weak, I have a good idea of what a truly worthwhile course with a strong curriculum and sound instructional design should look like.