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Webinars

Attend webinars with our internationally recognized Fellows and Scholars.

See below for upcoming webinars. Some are free to the general public, while others are exclusive to members of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online. (If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available for this membership website.)

We offer three types of webinars:

1. Webinar Presentations: These are mainly presentations by our Fellows. At the end, attendees have the opportunity to type and submit their questions in text. Webcams are not required.

2. Webinar Q&A's: These are discussions facilitated by our Fellows. They may begin with a brief presentation, but will primarily revolve around participant questions. Webcams are required and must remain on throughout the session.

3. Webinar Workshops: These will involve a mix of presentations, interactive exercises, and time for participant questions. Webcams are required and must remain on throughout the session.

Typically, our webinar announcements provide optional activities for you to complete ahead of time in the Community Online. These will be relevant to the topic at hand; although the activities are not madatory, the new understandings you gain by completing them will help you to ask more refined questions at each webinar.

Please note that these sessions are recorded for later viewing by members of the Community Online, and some clips may be posted on other platforms.

 

 "Thank you for your discussion this evening. It has helped me to see the beauty of the framework you have created."

"Thank you for this sharing session. It is an eye-opening session for me."

"Thank you for your amazing insights!"

"This has been very informative and educational . . . Thank you for all the information."

" . . . thank you for the engaging webinar. It was very well-structured and informative. . . . I am very impressed by your perspectives."

"Thank you very much for your . . . generosity and insight here . . . yet again! Super class."

"Thank you for a wonderful webinar today. It was definitely thought provoking."

"Thank you . . . I appreciate the work you do and answering our questions!"

" . . . always engaging . . . I look forward to learning from you in more sessions. Thank you!"


Upcoming Webinar Q&A Sessions and Videos

Webinar Workshop: How to Foster Critical Thinking in Students on a Typical Day


Dr. Gerald Nosich

Thursday, June 27th, 2024

2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
(11:00 a.m. PDT)




 Duration: 60 Minutes

Open to All!

This is an interactive online workshop in which participants, with Dr. Nosich’s facilitation, will work as a group or in breakout rooms to explore and apply critical thinking concepts and processes. 

Webcams are required and must remain on throughout the session.

We record webinar workshops for later viewing by members of The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, and some clips may also be posted on other platforms. By participating in this webinar, you give your approval for the Foundation for Critical Thinking (“the FCT”) to use these recordings in any of the FCT’s work or on any of the FCT’s online platforms.

In this webinar workshop, we will focus on strategies for engaging students’ intellects as a means of empowering them to internalize course content. These strategies are powerful and useful, because each is a way to routinely engage students in thinking about what they are trying to learn as they learn it. Many of the strategies offer students methods for asking useful questions about the ideas they “receive” in class, as well as for appropriately analyzing and assessing those ideas. These strategies represent a shift of responsibility for learning from the instructor to the students; each suggests at least one way of helping students learn to do the often hard work of learning.

Because this webinar workshop partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar workshop, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. Read the article, “Distinguishing Between Inert Knowledge, Activated Ignorance, and Activated Knowledge.”

2. Complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Profession, Subject, or Discipline” for your own discipline or subject. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

3. Read pages 3-11 and page 29 in the partial copy of How to Improve Student Learning found in the Community Online.


Please note that webcams must remain on throughout the webinar workshop, which will also be recorded for later viewing by members of The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, with clips potentially posted to other platforms.


Open Critical Thinking Q&A: July 2024

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, July 31st, 2024




2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(11:00 a.m. PST)

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

We record webinar Q&A's for later viewing by members of The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, and some clips may also be posted on other platforms. By participating in this webinar, you give your approval for the Foundation for Critical Thinking (“the FCT”) to use these recordings in any of the FCT’s work or on any of the FCT’s online platforms.

In our regular question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can ask deep and probing questions as well as basic questions of clarification on the theory and application of critical thinking. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives.

The quality of the questions you ask and pursue every day - at work or in personal life - largely determines the quality of your life.

Similarly, in instruction, the quality of student learning can be largely captured in the questions students ask in our classes and as they go out into the world (not on how much information they have memorized).

Despite these insights, emphasis on questions in thinking is mainly missing from human conversations, relationships, and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life. Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seem to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

Bring your questions on critical thinking to this session, whatever they may be.




Archived Webinar Q&A Sessions

Webinar Workshop: Creating Study Groups for Intellectual and Personal Development


Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
(11:00 a.m. PDT)


View Recording Here


 Duration: 60 Minutes

Webcams are required and must remain on throughout the session.

We record webinar workshops for later viewing by members of The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, and some clips may also be posted on other platforms. By participating in this webinar, you give your approval for the Foundation for Critical Thinking (“the FCT”) to use these recordings in any of the FCT’s work or on any of the FCT’s online platforms.

Studying critical thinking alone is limiting due to its complexities, and due to the likelihood of misunderstanding its theory and application. Even the highest-level critical thinking theoreticians need to regularly discuss important ideas with other serious critical thinking scholars or students. This is true for serious thinkers in any field of legitimate study and growth, and it is true for every profession. Without thoughtful others to discuss and practice with, learners are far more likely to, for example, make unrecognized errors that go on to mar many or all their efforts thereafter; struggle slowly through concepts where interaction with others could provide time-saving clarity; and give up on their efforts, temporarily or permanently, in the face of difficulties and frustrations. Studying alone also limits your potential exposure to others’ enlightened thinking.

In contrast, studying in community on a regular basis can considerably broaden your perspective. It can help you better identify and correct for mistakes and problems in your thinking. It introduces you to literature you would likely never have considered before. When conducted well, it offers an ongoing supportive community where everyone in the group aspires to committedly embody intellectual virtues, including one rarely mentioned: intellectual civility. It also offers a rare place in human life where you are allowed to speak any and all of your thoughts – always, of course, in a spirit of responsibility, intellectual discipline, and confidence in reason.

All of this naturally presumes that the focus of one’s study is deep, broad, and significant. It also presupposes a skilled facilitator well-versed in critical thinking foundations. Thirdly, it assumes deep and broad content beyond critical thinking theory on which to focus your studies.

In this webinar workshop, Dr. Elder will discuss the methodologies she has developed in the two long-term study groups she leads for members of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, one of which has now lasted five years, the other, two. These are in the tradition of those rare classical study groups, such as those led by Benjamin Franklin and John Stuart Mill, but with emphasis on learning critical thinking and applying it to core classical texts that have clear connections to our living experiences today. Our primary goal in these groups is to achieve self-development at the highest level by internalizing and using critical thinking. Accordingly, we become increasingly self-actualized over time, with important implications for all parts of our lives.

Participants in this webinar will be invited to join our next study group to be held through our Community Online.

Because the workshop partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar workshop, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. In writing, paraphrase the first three prompts in the activity “Paraphrasing Short Quotes With Specimen Answers.”

2. Find a partner – any person willing to perform a critical thinking exercise with you. Then, separately paraphrase the remaining four prompts in the activity “Paraphrasing Short Quotes With Specimen Answers.” Do this in writing.

3. When you and your partner are finished writing your paraphrases, compare them one at a time. Look for differences as well as similarities: where did one of you detect meaning that the other did not? Were there cases where your interpretations were largely or entirely different? Did one of you articulate the same meaning in a more insightful way than the other?

4. Compare your experience with completing the activity alone to that of completing and discussing it with a partner. Write down any benefits and challenges that were specific to your work with your partner.




Webinar Workshop: How Critical and Creative Thinking Depend on One Another


Dr. Gerald Nosich

Tuesday, May 7th, 2024


View Recording


2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
(11:00 a.m. PDT)

 Duration: 60 Minutes

To the untutored, creative and critical thinking may seem to be opposite forms of thought — the first based on irrational or unconscious forces, the second based on rational and conscious processes; the first non-directable and unteachable, the second directable and teachable. In truth, when we understand critical and creative thought truly and deeply – comprehending how they overlap and interact with one another – we recognize them as inseparable and integrated.

That minds create meanings is not in doubt. Whether they create meanings that are useful, insightful, or profound is another matter. To critically assess our thinking, we must internalize and use universal intellectual standards. At the same time, generating the thinking to be assessed requires creative acts of the mind. Hence, imagination and reason are a coordinate team. They function in tandem, like the right and left legs in walking or running. Studying either one separately only ensures that both remain mysterious and puzzling, or that they are reduced to stereotype and caricature.

In this webinar workshop, Dr. Nosich will help participants understand and explicate some of the most important connections between critical and creative thinking. Participants will together explore ways of learning and teaching for both types of thinking simultaneously.

Because the webinar partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. Read pages 4-10 in The Thinker’s Guide to Critical & Creative Thinking.

2. Consider a work of fiction you have read. Look at the template for analyzing a book of non-fiction at the top of this page. Note that while the template deals with a work of non-fiction, the questions are adaptable to a work of fiction.

After reviewing the template, apply the eight elements of reasoning to the work of fiction you have chosen. You may have to be flexible as you do so. Notice which elements apply straightforwardly in your view and which seem more elusive. In the work of fiction you have chosen, you may apply the elements to the author’s reasoning as you understand it, or to the reasoning of an important character. (For example, in Moby Dick, you might analyze Herman Melville’s reasoning or Captain Ahab’s reasoning.)

Be aware that analyzing an author’s reasoning requires a great degree of intellectual humility. Fictional works may not represent the author’s own reasoning (for example, an author might intentionally write the book from a biased point of view.)

3. Reflecting on exercise #2 above, choose any three elements of the novel’s reasoning and evaluate them using one or more universal intellectual standards. For example, did the author or character appear to hold accurate or inaccurate assumptions? Did the author or character seem to form logical or illogical conclusions? Does the novel suggest that the author or character possessed, or lacked, sufficient relevant information?


Why a Thriving Democracy Requires Critical Thinking


Free Webinar Presentation by Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024


View Recording


7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
(4:00 p.m. PDT)

 Duration: 60 Minutes

 

In this webinar, Dr. Linda Elder will begin to explore how and why critical thinking is essential to flourishing democracies and will discuss some of the intrinsic barriers to cultivating and maintaining democracies.
 
Democracy (government of the people, by the people, and for the people) contrasts with other forms of government such as oligarchy (government of the few, by the few, and for the few) and plutocracy (government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy). As such, democracy presupposes institutions and laws which prevent “the few,” and that includes “the wealthy,” from controlling the decision-making apparatus of the government. Yet it is clear that big money does play a significant, and some say a decisive, role in elections and decision-making in government. Should we then conclude that the government of the United States is, in fact, a democratic plutocracy or, if you prefer, a plutocratic democracy? Can a case be made that the people at large are significantly manipulated by powerful vested interests in society?  
 
Democracy also requires that the people be educated, which means they have command of their mental capacities through critical reasoning. But are the people becoming educated so that they can make reasonable decisions through the democratic process? Where are the failures in our educational systems in terms of helping students develop as critical-minded citizens who can and do make logical, ethical political decisions? What societal failures more generally impede thriving democracies? How can critical thinking concepts and principles help humans advance and support thriving democracies? These and related questions will be explored in this webinar.

Because the webinar partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. Watch the video “Using the Tools of Critical Thinking for Effective Decision-Making.”

2. Read the article “Complex Interdisciplinary Questions Exemplified: Ecological Sustainability.”

3. Complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue.” Instead of using a personal problem or issue for this activity, select one that applies to society more broadly – for example, “How can we best ensure that all citizens have access to proper nutrition?”

Note: For the prompt “The key question that emerges from the problem is . . . ,” you will almost certainly need to list numerous questions across many domains of thinking as seen in the article above.


How Your Thinking Can Imprison You or Free You

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Wednesday, March 13th, 2024


View Recording Here


2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(11:00 a.m. PDT)

 

Whatever you are doing right now is strongly influenced by the way you are thinking. Whatever emotions you feel are strongly influenced by your thinking. Whatever you want – all your desires – are strongly influenced by your thinking. If your thinking is unrealistic, it will lead you to many disappointments. If your thinking is overly pessimistic, it will deny you due recognition of the many things in which you should rejoice.

Since few people realize the powerful role that thinking plays in their lives, few gain significant command of it. Many people are frequently victims of their thinking; that is, they are hurt rather than helped by it. On the other hand, those who have cultivated the tools of critical thinking within themselves have learned to leverage their minds as a means of creating opportunities, managing their emotional states, and clearing obstacles where others feel discouraged, upset, and stymied.

This Webinar Q&A will discuss how you can use the tools of critical thinking to enhance your freedom by generating important questions, revealing useful possibilities, maintaining appropriate emotions, and determining reasonable solutions. Because the webinar partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. Read pages 4-13 in The Thinker’s Guide to the Human Mind.

2. Complete the activity “Understanding the Relationships Between Thinking, Feeling, and Emotions.”

3. Read pages 8-9 in The Thinker’s Guide to Asking Essential Questions.

4. Read pages 12, 14, and 19-21 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.


Open Critical Thinking Q&A: March 2024

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Friday, March 8th, 2024

Recording Unavailable

1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(10:00 a.m. PST)

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

In our regular question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can ask deep and probing questions as well as basic questions of clarification on the theory and application of critical thinking. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives.

The quality of the questions you ask and pursue every day - at work or in personal life - largely determines the quality of your life.

Similarly, in instruction, the quality of student learning can be largely captured in the questions students ask in our classes and as they go out into the world (not on how much information they have memorized).

Despite these insights, emphasis on questions in thinking is mainly missing from human conversations, relationships, and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life. Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seem to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

Bring your questions on critical thinking to this session, whatever they may be.


Strategies for Intervening in Your Own Worst Thinking and Behavior

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024


View Recording


1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(10:00 a.m. PST)

 

Most people have little sense that within each of us are significant self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors, and that many of these are habitual. We therefore tend to have limited understanding of how these pitfalls affect our learning, work and lives.

It is important to deeply explore and probe the patterns of thinking and acting that impede our functionality. For instance, it is important to see that all people tend towards intellectual arrogance, and that this tendency impedes learning, working, teaching, and living. It is important to see that all people frequently fail to persevere through difficulties when learning complex ideas or solving difficult problems – and that this tendency can have drastic implications for not only us as individuals, but for the wellbeing of society and earth at large. It is important, in short, to understand the often-unconscious problems in thinking experienced by all humans that lead to self-defeating attitudes and behaviors. We can then use these understandings to uncover and actively intervene in our own dysfunctional patterns of thought to live more happy and free lives.

This Webinar Q&A will focus on practical ways of intervening in our flawed thoughts and behaviors. Because it partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. On pages 23 & 24 of A Glossary to Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry for egocentricity.

2. On page 67 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on sociocentricity.

3. Read the one-page article, “Natural Egocentric Dispositions.”

4. Read about intellectual virtues on pages 24-26 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

5. Complete the activity, “Distinguish Intellectual Humility from Intellectual Arrogance.” (Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.)

When completing this activity, use examples from your own thinking, rather than hypothetical thinking or thinking by other people.

6. Complete the activity, “When Have You Been Intellectually Autonomous? When Have You Lacked Intellectual Autonomy?” (Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.)


Critical Thinking in Everyday Life

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Thursday, January 25th, 2024


View Recording


2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(11:00 a.m. PST)

 Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Gaining command of your life requires, first and foremost, gaining command of the thinking that commands your life. Using explicit concepts in critical thinking helps you gain control of your reasoning, emotions, and desires, and realize all of which you are capable as a unique person.

When it comes to effectiveness in daily life, we cannot overstate the importance of 1) learning the explicit tools of critical thinking; 2) using them to understand your immediate circumstances, the trajectory of your life, and the complex and rapidly-changing world we live in; and 3) forging the best path forward for self-fulfillment and achievement at the highest level of which you are capable.

This webinar will discuss practical ways of leveraging critical thinking insights and tools in day-to-day pursuits. Dr. Nosich will then respond to your questions on the topic.

Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. Read pages 10-13 in The Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind.

2. Read pages 12, 14, 30, and 19-21 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

3. Watch “Using the Tools of Critical Thinking for Effective Decision-Making.”

For those who wish to delve deeper into the concepts discussed in this webinar, we recommend the following activities:

3. Complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue,” focusing on a challenge you are currently facing. Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.

4. Complete the activity, “Target Significance in Thinking.” Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.


How Society Determines or Influences Most of What We Do

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024


View Recording Here


1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(10:00 a.m. PST)

 

Human life entails membership in multiple human groups, such as one’s family, peer group, profession, and religion. We begin participating in at least some of these groups before we are even aware of ourselves as living beings, with each group imposing some level of conformity on us as a condition of acceptance. For most people, compliance with group rules is largely automatic and unreflective. Conformity of thought and behavior is the rule in humans, with independence the rare exception.

Society can be conceptualized as a sort of “super-group” under whose umbrella other groups exist. As such, regardless of your family, friends, subculture, and so forth, you are influenced in nearly all of your behaviors by the society in which you live. This webinar will explore the extent of said influence, illuminate important examples thereof, and discuss how you can begin recognizing and relieving this societal pressure so as to act more independently – wherever doing so makes sense.

Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar, but doing so can be highly useful for your and others’ learning.

1. On page 67 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on sociocentricity.

2. Watch the video, “Human Sociocentricity & Critical Thinking – Part 1.”

3. Watch the video, “Human Sociocentricity & Critical Thinking – Part 2.”

For those who wish to delve deeper into the concepts discussed in this webinar, we recommend the following activities:

4. Complete the activity, “Identify the Impact of Group Influence.”

5. Complete the activity, “Distinguish Between Reasonable and Unreasonable Ideas Within a Group.”


Webinar Q&A Archives from Previous Years