This course has some interesting points which differ it from other critical thinking courses. First, it is aimed at educators, not at regular folks who want to learn critical thinking. Second, it focuses on art related disciplines and studying art pieces. Quite an unusual combination is here.
The course is brought to you by the Smithsonian Institution, but the initial idea was developed in the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The academic load isn’t very heavy, the course requires three or four hours per week. The overall course is 12 weeks long so you need to spend from 36 to 48 hours. And probably some more, if you want to practice ideas from the course in a classroom.
You can learn three useful thinking disposition on the course: observing and describing, thinking with evidence, questioning and investigating. These dispositions are also related to different thinking strategies which can help you improve your reasoning. You can also find examples how to apply these dispositions and skill to different situations.
You may wonder how can you critically analyse a work of art. But it is actually not very different from analysing written or spoken texts. Each work of art has a creator, an idea, a historical and cultural context. You can approach it from different directions, for example start with an idea to analyse its influence on people. Or you can check which forces led an artist to create something like this. There are many ways how society influence an appearance of art and how art influence society. All these ways can be analysed critically or used to learn and teach critical thinking on examples.
While it is aimed on educators I think regular people can also learn something from it. It may be especially useful if you aren’t very good at STEM disciplines and tend to like social sciences and art. In the same time if you like hard sciences you can try this course. Still I believe even if you don’t think you are very scientific person you can learn from more hard-science oriented courses. But please have in mind that it is an introductory course I review here and if you want to improve your critical thinking after it you should find more learning resources.
You can also check additional resources about the Artful Thinking concept: http://pzartfulthinking.org/?page_id=171