Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ A Primer for Design and Systems Thinkers: A First-Year Engineering Course for Mindset Development

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

"Teaching students to think in complex systems and design is presumably intricate, creative, and nonlinear," write the authors. True enough. But as I have followed Doug Belshaw's course notes in systems thinking I've had this thought as well: "due to the overwhelming number of standardized tools and frameworks, the process sometimes ends up being procedural and deductive. Conformity to rigid procedures loses the intention of creative problem-solving towards tackling wicked problems." Quite so. But how to teach systems thinking in a way that doesn't just replicate the teaching of any other logic or deductive framework. This paper (17 page PDF) describes a partially successful  project-based approach with integration for real-world applications. But the workload! I don't think you can just do it in a single course; it's an approach that needs to inform the whole of learning. (P.S. one of my earliest experiences of self-directed learning was my disassembly of a Christmas present, specifically the Big Bruiser, to see how it worked.)

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 21, 2024 09:45 a.m.

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