I was able to improve and refine my critical writing skills by doing the Academic Writing and Critical Thinking courses via Academy of Distance Learning. I advanced these skills by doing the assignment, where I had to write summaries of texts read and then relay this to my tutor. From there, I was told if there where areas where I needed to improve in order to better understand the text. I was using these courses as a way to prepare for University and start to train myself to think the way I would need to at university, that is by thoughtfully sifting through information and not taking everything at face-value.
Even though Critical Thinking is not something you're typically exposed to unless you're in a university context, I think the ability to reason with oneself can help create a better final product or increase understanding of a topic. So now, I try to be my ''own worst critic'' when thinking through problems. Because university is a prime time for using Critical Thinking, I found the course helped prepare me for that.
Firstly, I learned about critical reading. This has helped sift through my sources when I'm doing university assignments. It's been really important in helping me understand what a reliable source is and what a biased one is.
Secondly, approaching my assignments with Critical Thinking at the forefront has helped me to write better quality material. I have been able to explain my ideas better and also back them up with robust evidence.
I now try to apply Critical Thinking to all areas of my life so that I can be sharper about what it is media, advertisement, politicians or even my own university lecturers are really saying. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to give themselves a boost pre-university. I would also recommend this course for those who want to learn how to be less easily manipulated by media, politicians and so on.