Concluding 3 intensive weeks of content immersion, eight student groups created infographics of the ideas that resonated with them from the “Systems Thinking 2” class in the Creative Sustainability program at Aalto University. Each group had been given 3 weeks in advance to prepare content to lead a learning discussion, staking a position on a list of references. As students participated in the intensive sessions, the broader contexts reshaped those positions into a broader appreciation of the breadth of systems thinking. The initial positions and concluding syntheses were:
The ending infographics represent a synthesis of the content from the course, each group having traced a different path. To rebalance team sizes, a few individuals migrated to a different group. Some anchored more on the content they had led, while others chose to strengthen linkages to other ideas.
1. Appreciative systems, futures → Into the Future with Systems Thinking
Group 1 read through a cluster of references on appreciative systems and futures and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.
The concluding infographic by Fahimeh Foutouhi, Petra Tammisto, Riikka Ikonen, Marta Jaakkola and Anna Muukkonen additionally swept in dialogues, learning, social ecological systems, complex systems and anticipatory systems.
2. Boundary, inquiry, perspectives → Systems thinking — synthesis
Group 2 worked through a cluster of references on boundary, inquiry and perspectives and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.
The concluding infographic by Miguel Fonseca, Annina Lattu and Jennifer Pitkänen put a higher emphasis on learning (a cluster of references led by Group 3), wrapping in ideas of resilience, turbulence, anticipatory systems on top the content for which they were primarily responsible.
3. Learning categories, postnormal science, ignorance → Systems Thinking from learning and knowledge making perspective
Group 3 focused on a cluster of references on learning categories, postnormal science and ignorance and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.
The concluding infographic by Emma Berg, Melanie Wolowiec and Lilli Mäkelä added in participation, judgement and anticipation, with larger contexts of cultural systems and biotic systems. Additionally, they charted a reference timeline of the articles from the course depicting the importance of the content longitudinally.
daviding March 9th, 2016
Posted In: systems
As part of the Master’s Program in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University, I’ll be in Finland for 3 weeks in February, as an instructor. I’m doing this as a favour for Katri Pulkkinen, who has been teaching the course since 2010, and felt that she needed some extra time to work on her Ph.D. dissertation.
Systems Thinking 2 follows in a series of compulsory courses, each with specified learning outcomes:
The official content of the course is delivered in intensive sessions:
On January 12, my colleagues Susu Nousala and Glen Forde launched the course in a 2-hour session with orientation materials. The course content is available on the open Internet at http://coevolving.com/aalto/201602-st2-muo-e8004/, and has been evolving over the past week.
The 25 students have been organized into 8 groups. Each group is preparing to stake a position on a research reference cluster, to lead an hour discussion for the class. The systems concepts have been specified as:
daviding January 18th, 2016
The Creative Sustainability program at Aalto University recorded the two lectures that they hosted on October 7. They’ve done the post-production work to make the videos available on the web. The recordings are HD-quality, so they can be viewed full screen on Vimeo.
The first talk on “Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues”, given at the Aalto University Design Factory, is at https://vimeo.com/76852952. The slides, on the Coevolving Commons, were originally written for a City Sciences meeting at the University of Toronto, about a year ago.
The second talk on “Design Flaws and Service Systems Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking”, given at the Aalto University Media Factory, is at https://vimeo.com/77131431 . The slides, on the Coevolving Commons, were a preview of the presentation for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design 2 2013 meeting at AHO (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design) later that week.
daviding October 27th, 2013
In February, I returned to Finland to teach the Systemic Thinking for Planners and Designers CS0005 course in the master’s program in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University. I had previously blogged about teaching and learning from the Systemic Thinking for Sustainable Communities CS0004 course in October. The February course was again intensive, this time on a Friday-Tuesday-Friday schedule.
The style of the classes again centered on a list of references from which students could select according to personal interests, supplemented by lectures outlined with context maps. The course outline was provided as long form text that evolved online during the week. Written responses from students were most frequently posted on public blogs, with notifications and responses on the Systemicists Forum on the Systems Community of Inquiry, with separate threads for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and the final essays.
The first lecture for CS0005 was a quick review of the first topic for CS0004 in October, foundations for a systems approach. This turned out to be a worthwhile activity, as the students (and my co-instructors!) had mulled over the basic ideas of systems for four months, resulting in more reflection and questions than I was expecting.
This background in the first lecture continued with a discussion of method frameworks.
daviding April 25th, 2011
[Frank] Oppenheimer had a provocative approach to learning, which can be summarized by saying that …
the best way to learn is to teach, the best way to teach is to keep learning, and that what counts in the end is having had a shared, reflected experience. (Delacote, 1998)
At the beginning of October, I had blogged about starting the first of two courses in the master’s program in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University. I’ve been maintaining the content online as open courseware, and have now added an index page. The context map and the course outline have evolved, and should now have mostly stabilized with the conclusion of the lectures.
The course isn’t quite done yet, as the students have to write research papers. I took responsibility for the course content, and Aija Staffans and Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen have taken responsibility for guiding the students through the university practicalities and evaluating their learning.
While I have previously instructed at the master’s and doctoral level before, I don’t claim to be the greatest teacher. I see myself as a researcher who can share content with students, whom may have more or less interest in the topics. Teaching this first class on Systemic Thinking of Sustainable Communities (with a follow on of Systemic Thinking for Planners and Designers scheduled five months later) has led me to some of my own learning, with overall conclusions that include:
Having the course materials available on the Internet allowed me — with sufficient warning to students that they should check revision dates on documents — a luxury to revise materials just before the lectures … and following the lectures. Thus, there are some specific learning on each of the content for each lecture:
My reflections are expanded, below.
daviding October 21st, 2010