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What Activities and Assignments Promote Critical Thinking?

Presenters: Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., Director of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University

This course is worth 1 hour (0.1 CEU) of professional development. A certificate of completion can be printed once the program has been completed.


About this Course


Critical thinking skills are important components of learning in nearly every discipline. College students expect to hone these skills so they’re ready for the workforce or graduate school.

Yet instructors often find it difficult to figure out how to teach critical thinking. They might think they are teaching it when, in reality, they are not. The fragmented literature compounds the challenge by failing to explain how to teach it—what activities to do in class and what types of assignments to give.

What Activities and Assignments Promote Critical Thinking? distills from the literature principles for teaching critical thinking, and identifies the type of content that is suitable, possible critical thinking learning outcomes, and specific activities and assignments that foster critical thinking.

This program is also available in the Critical Thinking Skills 4 Pack.


The program presenter provides questions designed to help you create a core strategy to grow your students’ critical thinking skills, identify critical thinking content, and adapt your courses accordingly.

After viewing this 20-Minute Mentor, you will be able to:

  • Explain what critical thinking is (and is not) for practical teaching purposes
  • Identify the course content suitable for teaching critical thinking
  • Write assessable critical thinking student learning outcomes appropriate to your discipline
  • Select and adapt strategies for teaching your students how to develop their critical thinking skills
  • Create discipline-related and effective content, assignments, and activities related to critical thinking
  • Use the presenter’s questions and sample documents to self-assess course content and adapt discipline-related learning outcomes for your courses
  • Identify and avoid the mistakes commonly made by instructors trying to teach critical thinking

"Loved this. I can't wait to go rewrite my course discussion questions." - Dr. Shelley Safian, Berkeley College


What Activities and Assignments Promote Critical Thinking? clarifies which course content is best for developing your students’ critical thinking skills. This Magna 20-Minute Mentor gives you both strategic and practical advice on how to adjust new or existing courses to encompass critical thinking. You will learn:

  • Which courses are best for teaching critical thinking
  • The different critical thinking perspectives and the common threads among them
  • Characteristics of good student learning outcomes
  • Discipline-specific critical thinking skills and outcomes
  • Why you should focus your teaching on those outcomes
  • Five basic principles for teaching critical thinking

The presentation covers specific critical thinking content, activities, and assignments, as well as two strategies for advancing critical thinking skills.