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Dr Patrick O’Callaghan Designs New Digital Badge on Independent Thinking

31 Oct 2019

In the context of UCC’s strategic initiatives to develop a Connected Curriculum and cultivate graduate attributes, Dr Patrick O’Callaghan of the School of Law has designed a new digital badge on independent thinking which will be offered on a university-wide basis next semester.

This innovative digital badge will consist of a series of interdisciplinary workshops that will carve out space for undergraduate students to reflect on what independent thinking means and its value for the individual and society.

In the workshops, participants will discuss, among other things, famous examples of thinkers who staked out independent positions. The workshops will focus on historical examples of thinking which proved to be highly controversial at the time but were later shown to be paradigm-shifting contributions (e.g. the work of Galileo Galilei).

The workshops will also introduce students to readings from the philosophy of science and literary works that throw light on the phenomenon of dogmatic thinking as well as the importance of intellectual humility.

For the assignment, participants will produce either a 1,500 word report or a 10-minute video, in which they will identify an independent thinker in their home discipline and reflect on this person’s impact on the discipline and/or society. Participants will also explain how they can apply what they have learned in the digital badge course in cultivating their own independent thinking.

The badge is aimed primarily at first year students, seeking to help them transition to university study but it also aims to develop skills and aptitudes that will prepare students for employment and civic engagement.

The workshops will run over a 3-week period:

  • 23rd January: Workshop 1 (2-hour workshop)
  • 30th January: Workshop 2 (4-hour workshop)
  • 6th February: Workshop 3 (2-hour workshop)

Dr O’Callaghan will be seeking applications from interested students in the next few weeks. In the meantime, please contact him at if you have any queries about this badge.

School of Law

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Room 1.63, Aras na Laoi, T12 T656