Systems Place Wiki?

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

Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Andrea on Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:00 am

Dave H wrote:Like Neil the earthscape link does not work for me and apparently a user name and password are required.

You're right! The link seems to require a password -- how odd! The way I always get to Dave's stuff is through entering the following in Google: "David Bice Earth System". It should be the first thing that pops up and hopefully you will be able to get in without a password.
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby jim_lewis1 on Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:14 pm

I can't quite believe your comment about studying History, (you MUST be playing Devil's avocado), but I'll come back to that.


I watched an episode of grand designs last night in which a couple wanted to build a 'low-impact eco-home', which was buried into the hillside on the site of an old quarry.

Due to the pressure exerted by the backfilled earth around the home it was constructed almost entirely out of 'traditional' concrete.

Whilst they recognised that concrete uses large amounts of energy to produce, (in the drying of the portland cement used to bond it together), they argued that the reduction in energy use by the house as a dwelling would eventually offset this, (15 years was suggested).

But the construction of this house did use finite resources and occupies land in a rural area that had reverted to a natural state after quarrying had ended.

How does one accurately calculate the impact of such a development?

By which I mean, clearly if EVERYONE decided to build such a house the impact on the rural environment would be devastating.


As to Dave's suggestion that error factors are somehow incorporated into any model, I think that the compounded errors of two or three interacting factors would mean that the end value varied by such a large amount it would essentially be meaningless.


And to return to History, history is not a static thing that is exmained once, agreed upon and then filed away. It is constantly being re-interpreted in light of better understanding of certain factors, new information coming to light, or the changing relevance that certain, (often overlooked), events have on events today. If nothing else it can help to highlight why certain actions failed to achieve desired results, indeed, if examined from a systems perspective, I'm sure there are plenty of worthwhile lessons to be learned about why a systemic approach would have been more effective.

I feel bound to offer the line: 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.', George Santayana

There are so many areas of academic research that seem to achieve little more than, for example, differentiating between two essentially identical bugs, delivering incremental advances in our understanding, (and frankly that is why I am probably not cut out for research, I lack the patience), but through such tiny steps eventually strides are made, in History as in any other subject.
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Teiana on Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:44 pm

<sighs>

look it's not teaching 'history' that is the problem, it's people teaching it as if it is an object instead of as if it is a process.

<face of someone who can't see why other people can't see this is obvious>
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Dave H on Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:28 pm

On the error factors I think my situation is that we are modelling a natural system where we do not fully understand all the processes involved, the interaction between them, and the resulting emergent behaviour. Also within the natural system the values are constantly changing and different values are changing at different rates. We then produce a simplified model to obtain results that we believe are correct based on observed data. I am surprised that with so many uncertainities we are producing apparent valid results and I would like to have some means of confirming the results are valid or knowing what the error of margin is or how this could affect the outcome. I know that I am not explaining this very well as I am struggling with my ideas. However I consider that I now understand my problem much better than during Block 2. It could be something like Neil's situation where he requires a detailed specification and my worldview or the techy in me wants some sort of defined error margin.

On the history issue I used to consider myself an archaeologist rather than a historian but now I consider the term incorrect and tend to refer to exploring the foreign country we call the past. I have not applied my ECA framework to any points but I have applied some of the techniques from T214 to understanding the past and obtained several new interesting insights. Also there have been various postings in this forum that have made me want to explore the historical background in more detail. and it is convincing me that to understand the present you need to understand the past.
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Teiana on Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:20 pm

<sighs again>
<mutters to self>
<thinks: everyone is just waffling about the technical side and whether all the numbers add up but really people just want a place to go, where everybody knows your name, <cue 'cheers' music> having an earth wiki mightn't be about whether the numbers add up but more about whether there is a feeling of 'teamwork and cohesion' or a feeling of 'uncertainty and doom' about the future and the planet and all that. I doubt if at the end of the day anyone is really going to care about the footprint scores more than the football scores, i think more importantly - have we got cake for tea tonight? and such questions will be important, but between the day to day coping with life stuff perhaps some certain people just want to be able to stick their heads round a certain door ( virtual eco door that it might be) and see that they aren't alone out there. perhaps some people are trying to justify the reasoning behind doing things a certain way by using statistics and science when really we just want to belong, a bit. maybe the science bit is all very well but isn't the idea that we could achieve amazing things by just joining up our thinking etc really what's at the bottom of this? Maybe it's the joins and the joining that counts and not so much the maths parts. Maybe ... mutters something about sychronicity.. >
<shuffles off again, muttering>
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Andrea on Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:02 pm

Okay, let me explain my comment about "teaching as if it was just history". I guess you are all familiar with my particular version of the learning cycle (plan, act, observe, evaluate). Well, the way teaching is done is mostly by the "experts" applying the learning cycle, and students just observing this application. Students are then supposed to take these observations and apply them in their own "real world" learning cycle after the course. Wouldn't it be nice if teaching/learning was about:

1_to_1 learning cycle.JPG
1_to_1 learning cycle.JPG (7.3 KiB) Viewed 817 times
Attachments
Fractal learning cycle.JPG
Fractal learning cycle.JPG (19.46 KiB) Viewed 817 times
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Neill on Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:19 pm

Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby jim_lewis1 on Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:30 pm

Is your diagram trying to show that we should all be moving through the cycle together observing each other's acts, planning and evaluating as one harmonious unit on a voyage of mutual self-discovery?

Which would obviously be nice.


I'm sure the opportunity for that to occur is greater with the mature student population that the OU has than a 'normal' university.

Although we are still somewhat hampered by the 'tyranny of distance', to coin a phrase, (that someone used in describing Australia).

And, as much as we are mature adult learners, you are much better versed in the subject than we are, so it is inevitable that for the most part we are recipients more than active particpants in the knowledge sharing.
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Andrea on Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:09 pm

jim_lewis1 wrote:And, as much as we are mature adult learners, you are much better versed in the subject than we are, so it is inevitable that for the most part we are recipients more than active particpants in the knowledge sharing.


Not sure I agree :-). First of all, there are lots of different kinds of learning taking place. For example:
-- learning about the subject matter
-- learning how to learn/teach
-- learning how to use new information and communication technologies

Even with regards to the subject matter, a lot of what I "know" is highly theoretical and which has not all been put to practice (I should read fewer books and get out a bit more often! :-( ). So you guys have a major advantage in that you are right on the coalface... it's good to have a reality check!

Every single one of my postings/resource units/activities is part of a learning cycle for me -- an "action" whose effects I observe, and evaluate in order to reformulate my plans. That is why a I cannot conceive of teaching material which does not evolve in every single presentation. Unless, that is, you refuse to "observe" the impacts.... then you do not have to change anything for 30 years :-)

Okay, that is a slight exaggeration -- teaching material has changed, but usually the conversations taking place are amongst academics (through informal discussions, meetings, seminars, peer-reviewed publications, books etc). I have several problems with this model:

-- academia is a self selected sub-group of society principally composed of individuals who are masters at playing the analytical/logical game. Great if you want to progress with mathematics, physics or English literature, but pretty lousy if you want to deal with real-world complex issues;
-- the whole process is very top-down and hierarchical -- vice-chancellor/deans/professors/senior lecturers/lecturers/support staff/students. People get very upset if "low ranking individuals " raise troubling issues with the way things are done.

It basically boils down to two distinct approaches. The one favoured by most of my colleagues is differentiating between "the goats and the sheep" -- basically maintaining this nice hierarchical structure of winners and losers in society. People at the top set the rules of the game and the winners only emerge if they mimic and support those at the top. The approach I favour is quite different. I am more than happy to spend my time with the "great unwashed" in order to develop a shared understanding -- not my view, but the view that eventually emerges through open dialogue :mrgreen:
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Teiana on Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:16 pm

ah! but there! look!

I am more than happy to spend my time with the "great unwashed" in order to develop a shared understanding -- not my view, but the view that eventually emerges through open dialogue


either i am completely mis-reading this, or you do see yourself as separate from 'the great unwashed'...
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