Amazing facts you would know now if you were enrolled in Think101x: The Science of Everyday Thinking

1 May 2014

Well, now you do, as do more than 80,000 people who are now in week eight of UQ’s first edX course The Science of Everyday Thinking.

The 12-week course explores everyday thinking and looks at why people believe weird things, how opinions are formed and changed, why expectations can skew judgement, and how people can make better decisions.

An incredible amount of hard work went into developing this extremely popular edX course. The UQ team travelled the globe to film conversations with some very clever people including Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize in economic science, Elizabeth Loftus who pioneered the study of false memories, Ian Frazer who developed a cervical cancer vaccine, and even the guys from MythBusters.

Content for the 12-week course includes interviews from 22 leading thinkers from across the world, demonstrations, and assessment. All this has been condensed into short, highly-polished episodes – and it’s all online and free for anyone looking to simply learn more.

Jason Tangen, a senior lecturer in cognition at UQ, is one half of the teaching team for The Science of Everyday Thinking. We asked him what he has learnt from teaching 200 on campus students alongside the thousands who log on each week from every corner of the globe.

“Surprisingly, we've learned a lot about documentary film making. It's a real challenge to capture and hold the interest of tens of thousands of busy people in a course on thinking.

We've tried to strike a balance so we keep people interested, but make sure that they learn and remember the course material.

We're trying to give people a vocabulary for thinking about thinking, and inspire them to be more curious.”

Matthew Thompson, a cognitive scientist and Fulbright Scholar is the Yin to Jason’s edX Yang. He describes some of the behind the scenes highlights from filming the 12 episodes with Jason and producer Emma MacKenzie.

“It has been an amazing opportunity to meet and talk with these exceptional thinkers—it’s certainly taking the course to another level.

“Our goal with Think101x, was not to replace the live experience but to complement and improve it. We worked hard to offer the best of both worlds: to figure out what we could do online that would be impossible to do on campus, and what we could do on campus that would be impossible to do online.

We want our students to realise that knowing how to think is far more important than knowing what to think.”

It’s not too late to sign up to this course or any of UQ’s edX courses currently on offer. And the best news is Think101x will remain as an archived course, so you can revisit content or start when you’re good and ready!

Here’s what some of the participants had to say about Think101x: The Science of Everyday Thinking so far; 

“Just keeps on getting better and better! … Loving this course and everything involved!” Wade81

“I particularly like listening to the range of people they've interviewed, and the intelligent and usually deep discussion that they provide.” NickH

“Mind = Open (This course keeps getting better!)” lloydlister

“This is a fantastic course, really loving it! … It is unique and superb” DhanvantVyas

“Completely blown away by episode 3! The more I see, the greater my enjoyment of this class, wow! I am still thinking more and more about how we as humans think about everything. Mind opening." valeriewheeler

“I am 75 years old and still trying to learn to think more deeply, more clearly, and more completely. I truly believe that the brain is a muscle; 'use it or lose it!' My body is slowly becoming a rusty hulk, but my brain does not have to.” oldtrey

“As an alumni of UQ (2001), I am thrilled to be able to participate in this interesting course to learn more about the thought process.” mianbao