In an email exchange with Jeff Ricker, who is putting together a good resource site on critical thinking for faculty at Scottsdale Community College, I sketched the following scenario:

“I teach business studies, but my students are depressingly bad at basic critical thinking activities – for example they have trouble producing a piece of written work that presents a position backed up with coherent arguments. I’d like to help them with this but I have to cover the business studies material in my subject. Besides, I don’t know that much about critical thinking myself – I think I can do it, but what exactly it is, and what the most effective way to do it is, I don’t really know. To make matters worse, I’m overloaded! I don’t have time to go researching this. What can I do?”

To which Jeff said “Yes, this is it precisely.”

Austhink is putting together a package to assist college instructors in this sort of position. The goal is an “off the shelf” solution for incorporating a short module of argument-mapping-based critical thinking instruction into just about any college subject. We want to make it as easy as possible for the instructor to get good results. The package is built around Rationale, of course, but includes

  • Instructor’s guide
  • Powerpoint overheads for use by the instructor
  • A short textbook for students
  • Lots of practice exercises

Although we have much of this worked up already, it will be a few months until the package is ready.  If you’d like to hear about it send us an email (we’ll add you to our general email notification list) or join the Rationale Google Group, an email discussion forum.