Course composition

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Course composition

The course is divided into six topics. These topics are designed in such a way as to provide the opportunity to focus on realistic approaches to solving real-world problems. The Readings, Resources and Activities that comprise the course act as coach or mentor and will stress the interrelatedness of the skills acquired in this course with the skills needed in everyday life. Together with other course participants, students should take great care to look at the world from multiple perspectives instead of looking at it through only a personal set of biased lenses.
Students of the course will often have to do self-analysis and self-evaluation.

Below is a brief overview of the different topics that will be covered. Although these topics are interrelated, they are also autonomous and each one stands on its own feet, so to speak. This means that it is possible to start with any topic.

Topic 1: Introduction to critical reasoning
Topic 1 provides the opportunity to explore what critical reasoning is and what it means to think for oneself. This topic sets the foundation for everything that follows and should take about 10 hours to complete.

Topic 2: Obstacles to clear thinking
Topic 2 provides the opportunity to gain insight into a number of common faults (fallacies) in reasoning; students will begin to understand what they are and why they should be avoided. The opportunity is provided to reflect on own thinking and to develop a critical attitude towards all kinds of stereotypes and biases. Topic 2 should take about 20 hours to complete.

Topic 3: Analysing arguments
Topic 3 is designed as an active space where students can try out newly acquired skills in identifying and analysing arguments. The opportunity is provided to deconstruct the components of an argument, discuss the structure of an argument and analyse simple and complex arguments. Topic 3 should take about 25 hours to complete.

Topic 4: Evaluating arguments
Topic 4 looks at different types of arguments and provides ample opportunity to practise competence at evaluating different kinds of arguments. Topic 4 should take about 25 hours to complete.

Topic 5: The use of arguments in different kinds of writing
Topic 5 considers how arguments are constructed. Students will construct their own arguments and will also explore key aspects of writing good critical essays. The competencies acquired here can be used across all studies. Topic 5 should take about 20 hours to complete.

Topic 6: Preparing for formal recognition at Unisa (optional)
Topic 6 is optional. Having worked through Topics 1 to 5 students will have acquired knowledge and skills that they could use in a variety of situations. Topic 6 is targeted at students interested in further studies with Unisa. It provides guidelines on how to prepare for formal recognition of their critical reasoning studies for credit towards a Unisa qualification. It will take about 20 hours to complete.