Overview of the
Let's face it. There are three kinds of
people in the world: the kind who are good at a course like
this, and the kind who are not.
Throughout your day, you will want to
keep your critical eye on the situation around you, and not
blindly accept everything you see, hear or read, even if
it's from your professor, who was joking in that last
Our course is designed to develop your
critical thinking skills, the basic skills of good reasoning
that you need for the intelligent and responsible conduct of
your life. The goal is to improve your ability to think and
act reflectively, creatively and responsibly. Critical
thinking skills involve the ability to reason, to assemble
evidence in order to develop a position, and to communicate
When you are using the yellow pages of the telephone
book to locate a gorilla costume for Halloween, you don't look up
"gorilla," do you? You already have that critical thinking skill.
Our course will improve your higher level skills.
The major topics in our course
- thinking logically
- identifying argument
- assessing the strength of
- generating arguments and
- avoiding fallacies of
- demonstrating the principles of fair
play in argumentation.
The course is also designed to improve
your writing by demonstrating that writing is a kind of
problem-solving design process.
3 units of semester credit.
There are no prerequisite courses, but to
enroll in this course, you must be directly descended from
two homo sapiens. If you weren't, then click
You should enroll in this course the same way you would
enroll in any other CSUS course, through standard
registration procedures with CMS. If you are not a CSUS
student, you may enroll to take this course through the
Continuing Education (phone 278-4433). If you are still in
high school, you may take this course through the
Not only will this course help to make
you more logical and smarter and better prepared for all
your other college courses, the material covered in this
course should be especially helpful in improving your
performance on tests you may take later to get into law
school, business school, or graduate school such as the LSAT
(Law School Admissions Test), the GMAT (Graduate Management
Admissions Test), or the GRE (Graduate Record
The textbook you will need for the course is available free online. It is discussed in the syllabus. See below.
requirements for our course:
The course is 100% on the Internet, so you
will need computer access to the Internet. You will take
this course wholly on some computer or other and won't
attend in a regular classroom setting.
You can use either your home computer or
a campus computer or both. You can work on the weekly
assignments for our course at any time that is convenient
for you during the week, but you can't work ahead beyond the
current week. You never need to work at the time of the week mentioned
in the class schedule.
For computer help you can ask the student assistant in a
computer lab at
- Mendocino Hall Rooms 2004/2008
- Mendocino Hall 2003/2007
- Library 2000
- Solano Hall 2001/2003
- Tahoe Hall 1006/1007
If you don't own a computer, then you can
use one in the campus computer labs.
To take our course, you will need a SacLink account and password. You also will get a university email account. If your Saclink account is, say, sac12345, then your e-mail address will become
For more help with the computer details,
call the Saclink helpline at 278-7337.
A final thought: Think of the glow of
your computer monitor as being indoor sunshine.
To contact me about the course, send
e-mail to me (Professor Dowden) at
To read the syllabus and start working in the course, click on the highlighted word
of Arts and Letters
The web address of this overview page is