Systems Thinking, Systems Design

Day 1

Time and place:
  • Wednesday,  January 10, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Bissell 417

1.1 Preparation

None.  Presumably, students won't have had time to read in advance for this class.

1.2 Classroom activities

1:00 - 1:30 Set class expectations on the syllabus and activities
1:30 - 2:00 Group organization
  • Self-introductions and organizing (in an attempt to increase variety)
  • Initial group organizing into 8 groups
  • Confirm a mutually convenient meeting time (or look for a group member swap)
2:00 - 2:15 Break
2:15 - 3:30 Lecture on "Systems Thinking, Systems Design -- Course Introduction", slides at
3:30 - 4:00

Prepare for group work:

  • Choose a topic cluster (first come, first served)
  • Converge on a presentation collaboration platform (e.g. Google Slides, with Google Drive)
  • Converge on a infographic drawing platform that exports SVG and PNG (e.g. Google Drawings)

Prepare for individual work:

  • Ensure that your browser is configured so that DOI links connect to the library.
  • Keep track of articles that interest you with citation manager (e.g. Zotero, Mendeley, RefWorks, EndNote).
  • If you don't already blog, register for a blog with a real name or a pseudonym (e.g. on
  • Choose a platform for notifying when you have released a blog post for reading, either ....
    • ... to the world, on the Systems Community of Interest, as described at; or
    • ... or to the class, on the Discussion Board on Blackboard.

1.3 Assignments

  • Please add your name, and a headshot, to the Contacts list on Blackboard.
  • Optionally, review some of the ideas covered in today's lecture:
  • Write an personal appreciation diary log as a blog post, trying to spend no more than 45 minutes.
    • Which 2 or 3 system ideas from today are resonating to change the way you think (and which ones might remain a mystery)?
    • Why are those systems ideas significant in your research, your work and/or your life?
    • Where could you see applying (or avoiding) using these systems approaches?
    • Include 2 or 3 references at the end of your blog post, and use a proper citation style.
  • Post a notification on the Google+ Systems Sciences Community, or on a Blackboard Discussion Board thread.
    • The deadline for posting is the Monday morning, 9 a.m., January 15