Modes of Thinking (1 CU)



At the end of the courses, students will demonstrate an understanding of how argument, broadly understood works, what constitutes a good argument, and what makes a problem solvable or unsolvable. 


Students will be able to use a set of thinking skills and/or problem-solving techniques to answer or solve a range of real-world questions and problems. 


In the 21st century job market you need the ability to think clearly and intelligently about a diverse range of issues. Recent surveys show that critical thinking and problem solving skills are the most important attributes employers are looking for in employees. Cognitive psychology has shown that our thinking is easily distorted by systematic blindspots, and that we often overestimate our reasoning abilities. In this course we will teach you how to be a better thinker, a skill that can be applied to whatever topic you choose or any issue you need to think clearly about.

Topics covered include identifying different types of reasoning, distinguishing good from bad reasoning, constructing arguments, identifying logical fallacies, and expressing yourself with clarity. This course is specifically designed to improve writing, thinking and oral presentation skills that are applicable to all areas of academic study and relevant to working life. Careful application of the content taught in this course will not only benefit your performance in subsequent university courses, but also deepen your capacity to critically evaluate everyday practical scenarios and will help you ‘think outside the box.


At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Improve their effectiveness in arguing for and developing a position on any issue.
  • Strengthen their ability to clarify confusing ideas, texts, and situations.
  • Acquire several formal tools useful for effective decision-making.
  • Increase their ability to plan ahead and exercise reliable judgment.
  • Increase their mental agility and adaptability.
  • Develop their ability to present ideas clearly and persuasively.

Computational Thinking and Programming equips students to tackle complex computational problems; it trains students to design solutions to solve those problems using a computer program. It draws upon concepts from mathematics and computer science – more precisely, discrete mathematics, data structures and algorithm design.

This course will hone students’ analytical skills as they are challenged to think abstractly and computationally. Their minds will be open to the wonders of computing, as they go behind the scene to unravel the fundamental analytics that empower social networking sites, consulting agencies and service companies.

NOTE: To facilitate learning in this course, you are required to know and use programming. You are advised to pick up the Python programming language before the course, for instance by practising with online tutorials such as


At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Discover the science of computing (or How to think like a Computer Scientist).
  • Model problems and learn practical problem-solving techniques to tackle complex computational problems (beyond what a spreadsheet is capable of solving).
  • Apply problem-solving techniques to develop more elegant and efficient programs.
  • Learn to write programs to represent and manipulate with complex data objects.
  • Understand the challenge of scale, not only in dealing with large data sets, but also in appreciating the nature of computing and computability.

The dynamic and fast changing nature of our world today is best described by VUCA, a term coined by the US Army War College. VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The Arab Spring saw a change of government in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Once powerful countries in Europe are now fighting bankruptcy. The growth of the developing world which was taken for granted has begun to slow down. Even companies that were synonymous with their product categories just a few years ago are now no longer in existence. Kodak, the inventor of the digital camera had to wind up its operations, Borders, once the second largest US bookstore, has shut down due to their inability to evolve their business models with the changing times.

With such momentous changes happening in the world today, this course prepares the students to better understand the complexity and difficulties in reacting to the ambiguity inherent in those changes. This course helps students to understand the tensions in a given situation and how they need to think through a problem from multiple dimensions. The course aims to give students an insight into the mega trends and forces that are impacting their world. We ask what are some of the causes of these trends and their business implications? What can future managers like themselves do about understanding these changing trends, and why they need to address, appreciate, adapt and attempt to manage these changes in their ecosystem?

The course aims to introduce some basic VUCA concepts, in order to broaden their world view of management and nature of managing complex problems.

The first half of the course introduces some of these trends, while the second half provides tools and possible frameworks to deal with the VUCA aspects that they will face in the future.


At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Describe and interpret some of the trends impacting our world and explore their ramifications for the world of business.
  • Explain the factors that underlie these increasingly complex problems.
  • Understand the larger context of a problem, while examining some of the details in a more focused way.
  • Learn the ability to identify and analyse a problem from various perspectives and develop a mind-set to appreciate the complex, uncertain and ambiguous nature of problems.
  • Developing your own problem-solving mind-set and building future oriented capabilities.