Stay mentally engaged with your online courses: ask questions of the professor, TA, other students, or even yourself to make sure your mind is active. The Reading Effectively handout on the Reading page offers some examples of helpful questions to ask.
- Strategies for online discussions
- Review the discussion instructions. Are you posing a question? Critically commenting on one of the readings? Writing a reflection?
- For critical discussions, start by asking key questions about the text. For example:
- What is the central claim or thesis?
- What is the supporting evidence?
- Why is this claim significant in the context of your course/discipline?
- Are there any gaps, shortcomings, or limitations to the argument?
- Is there a counter-argument that can be made?
- How does this text relate to something else you learned about in this course?
- For a critical discussion post, you might aim to engage with just one or two of these questions.
Further suggestions for writing responses and reflections can be found on the Writing page.
Question everything. Be a critical thinker.
Download a two-page PDF handout about critical thinking in the documents box on the right.
Five Intellectual Tools for Critical Thinking
Discover the five intellectual tools that critical thinkers use when considering what to believe or how to behave when faced with a challenging situation.
Students in higher education need to be critical thinkers. We offer you five learning modules to help you gain a deeper understanding of what critical thinking is and when to use it. You will learn how to organize your thoughts, ask constructive questions and develop the strong problem solving skills needed to complete academic work at the University of Toronto.
These modules were developed through a collaboration between the Academic Success Centre at the University of Toronto and The Critical Thinking Consortium.
Use your UTORid and password to login and download the 5 Critical Thinking learning modules.
- Module 1: Introducing Critical Thinking
- Module 2: Introducing the Five Intellectual Tools for Critical Thinking
- Module 3: Evaluating Sources Using the Five Intellectual Tools for Critical Thinking
- Module 4: Developing Research Questions Using the Five Intellectual Tools for Critical Thinking
- Module 5: Integrating Sources Using the Five Intellectual Tools for Critical Thinking