Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Where "we contemplate our own navels" to decide how this forum should evolve. What features do we need? Who decides what we need?

Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Andrea on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:12 pm

Karen wrote:it would be good to keep this going. Especially if next year's courses could use it but i don't know how they would know it is here!?

My Feb business course has a block on systems thinking - so i will no doubt be back


there is certainly a lot more scope for involving students and alumni from other courses within the OU. We now have the Masters in Systems Thinking In Practice (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/postgradua ... on/f47.htm) starting in February. The Masters in Information Systems (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/postgradua ... on/f37.htm) is heavily into systems (it was written by colleagues in the Systems Department). Even Earth Sciences are getting in on the act with S808 -- Earth science: a systems approach (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/postgradua ... e/s808.htm). Just yesterday I advertised The Systems Place to T863 students (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/postgradua ... e/t863.htm).

So one possibility is to break out of the exclusive T214/T306 focus (maybe by placing the course specific forums into a single "OU Courses" forum which would then also have the capacity to include a vast range of other courses).

But I also have a dream of Systemsplace taking on a life of its own in terms of systems teaching. After all the criticisms that we have had with regards to how we could have done better with our courses, I'm very curious to see how you guys would teach it -- especially since most of you now have T214 and T306 under your belts :-). I think we all agree that it would be nice to have an introductory course on systems thinking and practice (level 1). Are you guys confident enough to write it? :-)

with regards to the practical matters of how Systemsplace is going to pay for itself just in case Neill decides he's had enough, I would be more than happy to chip in.
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Teiana on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:25 pm

I also have a dream of Systemsplace taking on a life of its own in terms of systems teaching. After all the criticisms that we have had with regards to how we could have done better with our courses, I'm very curious to see how you guys would teach it -- especially since most of you now have T214 and T306 under your belts . I think we all agree that it would be nice to have an introductory course on systems thinking and practice (level 1). Are you guys confident enough to write it?


yup. we can BE it.

the biggest snag i have with the idea is the whole idea of trying to teach systems to fit with 'levels' of course.

Because really people need to start by learning 'all of it' and then gradually get into more 'depth'. Which means that really the level 1 needs to have all the important stuff in, and then the others develop it.. it was clear last year that T214 felt like a level 3 to some people and that this years T306 has felt a bit repetitive in places...

i'm not saying writing a level 1 version can't be done i'm just struggling with the ideas of how to make the courses sit logically together, (or systemically).. so they don't feel repetitive to people doing them..
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Teiana on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:27 pm

trying to separate 'systems teaching' into three neat levels is like trying to teach someone to dance one leg at a time.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Andrea on Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:11 pm

Teiana wrote:i'm not saying writing a level 1 version can't be done i'm just struggling with the ideas of how to make the courses sit logically together, (or systemically).. so they don't feel repetitive to people doing them..


a colleague, Tony Wright, captured the 'levels' of systems teaching in an internal paper circulated back in 1997 (I have inserted the levels in square brackets):

working systemically i.e. using a systems approach to bring about some change or other, involves four different (but interrelated) aspects, namely systems concepts, techniques, methodologies and action. Systems concepts provide the basic language of systems thinking [level 1], while systems techniques enable us to think creatively in systems terms, and make that explicit [level 2]. Together these make up the activity which we call systems thinking (and which we believe makes systems thinking distinct from any other kind of thinking). Systems methodologies provide structured ways of employing systems thinking to deal with planning change from a systemic point of view [level 3]. Having planned some change in this way we can then take whatever action is deemed to be systemically appropriate [level 4].


this description leaves out all the epistemological stuff -- which is also crucially important and which many people believe "systems thinking" can't occur without making the epistemological shift. Hence why things get a bit confusing since we're all trying to encourage epistemological shifts at all levels.

Anyway, systems teaching at level 1 will just be about defining and explaining (with examples) a whole range of systems concepts.
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Teiana on Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:32 pm

hmm but isn't the epistemological stuff really at the heart of that?

i agree that the basic concepts ( like boundaries and purposes and links and feedback) need to be understood in order to use the techniques like diagramming and modelling and that these need to be understood in order to use methodologies and stuff and that possibly, you can leave 'reflecting on my position in all this' to be the next bit... but i'm not sure.. i feel as if some of the epistemological stuff needs to be in at the beginning..

and.. i still feel a bit uncomfortable about breaking it into chunks that way.. (though maybe it has to be) i think i'd feel more comfortable with the idea of teaching it all at once, but just having the 'assessment' working on levels.. ( but then i'm back to the problem of it feeling repetitive... .. argh!) ie, the assessment at each stage just gets more detailed expectations...
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Neill on Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:37 pm

how Systemsplace is going to pay for itself

That is not a problem.
It is hosted by a company who owe me a few favours
(and who I am thinking of buying in to)

My problem was more - "what is it all going to be about when the current members don't do OU courses in systems?"
Will they still "pop in". because otherwise it will become a ghost town - like tutor group forums.
Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Teiana on Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:39 pm

well i'm going to be working out how to join the dots between systems thinking and music learning.... watch this space.

we could run quizzes? or, erm, something? :-)

it just needs people to 'be' here...

are any of this years T214 batch going on to T306?
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby llamagirl on Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:40 pm

Teiana wrote:are any of this years T214 batch going on to T306?


There are a few people who posted on the T214 forum to say they were.
I'm planning on taking the T306 replacement the following year, so I would like to be able to use systemsplace to stay in touch with systems thinking while I have a year off, so i really hope it keeps going.
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Andrea on Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:21 am

Neill wrote:My problem was more - "what is it all going to be about when the current members don't do OU courses in systems?"
Will they still "pop in". because otherwise it will become a ghost town - like tutor group forums.


I'd like to think that once people finished any Systems course, they would then go on to apply their learning to all sorts of problems in their day-to-day lives. It is certainly already happening with a lot of you -- I had a fantastic conversation over several pints of Guinness with Jim on Monday (we both went to the 2012 Teach-in), his company has lots of wicked problems ('wicked' in all senses of the word) and it's been amazing to hear how he's using his Systems skills (and the reactions from colleagues).

Teiana mentioned her interest in exploring the interface between music and systems thinking. I know that others, such as Tom Short, are pursuing research ideas in the systems field. And I'm sure that you're all applying the concepts, techniques etc to all sorts of things. Maybe there could be an area where people could have their individual "Systems practice blogs" -- a bit like Teiana's "diary" in the social forum or people's individual T306 project diaries. You wouldn't necessarily have an obligation to read every single posting or respond.

For example, I'm currently writing a paper on my T214 block 2 teaching experiences (to be published in the journal Learning and Teaching in Higher Education next year). I'm using a "systems approach" to help me engage with the context, analyse the data, and write-up the discussion. I wouldn't mind keeping a blog of the evolving paper here. I also have two Ph.D. students who might feel less isolated if they had a blog on Systemsplace.

I wouldn't want the above to take over from the extremely useful stuff that's going on in terms of study support -- indeed, I think there's a lot of cross-fertilisation that can happen.
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Let's celebrate Systemsplace first birthday!

Postby Teiana on Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:12 am

hmm , my diary has never understood why it was the only one. It would like a few friends in there.
H.R.H. 8-)
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