OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

For discussions of the Open University's T214 Systems course.

OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Stephen Lewis on Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:14 pm

I am interested in studying these courses, but I have been told by the OU that they are coming to an end.

The last change is 2011 for T214.

I have been told that they are attracting too few student.

Does anyone know what's going on?

It it that the courses have been poorly received?
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby jim_lewis1 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:27 am

Hi stephen, nice to hear from a new person. Welcome to the Systems-Place.

I think the main problem for the OU has been explaining to potential students the value of systems courses.

most people understand subjects with clearly defined boundarys, such as history, phyiscs, french or whatever.

By its very nature systems thinking does not easily fit these classifications, so people ar not neccessarily aware of how systems will be relevant to them.

It is the very recuctionist approach of western education that causes the problem that systems thinking tries to address.

In fact there is growing emphasis on the need for and value of interdisciplanary studies, which systems thinking can support, but the traditional subject specialisation of education means that it is still difficult to achieve this. (Funding for research may be available for environmental economics for example, but even this is a limited and delinieated field), wider integration is even harder as there is no box to put it in.

As to the future of systems at the OU, I don't know, but I would be very surprised and disappointed to learn they are abandoning systems teaching. I hope that if T214 is withdrawn it will be replaced with something else.

That being said, get your skates on and do T214 as soon as possible, studying systems with the OU changed my outlook completely. I already have a degree in Geology, but the tools that systems thinking provides you with will greatly empower you in the future. The only regret I have is that I didn't do it sooner.
Current OU study: A230
Studying towards: BA Humanities
Past OU Study: MBA (Tech Man), BEng/MEng (incl T214, T306) PG Dip EDM (incl T863, TU812), AA100, AXR272
(OU Systems courses)
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Stephen Lewis on Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:42 am

The OU's note about the course appears in response to my question here:

http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=63979
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Stephen Lewis on Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:46 am

Thank you, Jim.

I am very tempted to study T214 next year. It is the broad nature of the subject matter that draws me into the course.

I think that I had failed to spot it beforehand because it comes under the technology umbrella.

The problem now is that a time cap applies to this study and it would be essential to complete within two years.

Do other universities cover this subject matter?

Kind regards --- Stephen
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby jim_lewis1 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:02 pm

that link seems not to be accessible to me. I don't know about other University offerings. Hopefully Andrea will hve some ideas.
Current OU study: A230
Studying towards: BA Humanities
Past OU Study: MBA (Tech Man), BEng/MEng (incl T214, T306) PG Dip EDM (incl T863, TU812), AA100, AXR272
(OU Systems courses)
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Neill on Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:32 pm

Hello Stephen,

I am sure Andrea will be along soon to update us on the status of T214 and T306.
I just wanted to agree with Jim that they are great courses and change the way you think and work.
I find myself using the concepts almost daily and am considering taking some of them further at Postgraduate level.

It looks like T214 and T306 will run until a last start in Feb 2012
So you could do T214 next year and T306 a year later.

I hope that if you do the courses you will stick around here and keep us updated on how they are.
Some things have certainly changed.

Neill
Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Stephen Lewis on Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:07 pm

Thank you, Neill.

The OU has told me today that the two course will be available in both 2011 and 2012 and will both be withdrawn thereafter.

I can take the second level course in 2011 and the third level course the year after. But if I were to defer either I would miss out on the Diploma.

I'm of the mood now to get cracking while the going's good.

The course sounds too good to avoid (-:

Kind regards --- Stephen
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Ercesuzan on Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:32 pm

Hi all

Had to join in on this one even though I have a broken wrist and typing is very painful. Just had an email from the OU teling me about the demise of the courses. T214 is an amazing course and like Neill I use something from it most days. It is the course I will remember long after I receive my degree (should be an hons just finishing T455).

I hope something will be announced to replace it but think that is wishful thinking.

By the way anyone looking for another really good course I recommend T455. You select your own subject and I am doing a project on the Smart Grid. Take a look Neill I think its one for you!

Sue
All for now, take care
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Neill on Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:35 am

Hi Sue,

What have you been up to?
Hope the wrist heals soon.

You wrote
I recommend T455. You select your own subject and I am doing a project on the Smart Grid. Take a look Neill I think its one for you!

Thanks for the recommendation. It looks interesting. A bit like T307 which I am currently doing.
However I also hope to achieve my honours degree this year so am not looking for new courses.
Instead I am looking at a research degree which should include a heavy dose of systems thinking.

Neill
Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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Re: OU Systems courses --- nearly the end

Postby Andrea on Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:05 pm

Okay, so it looks like somebody from high up is allowing this change to be made public, so I can finally talk about it openly! I think it's quite an achievement for me to bite my tongue for so long. :shock:

2012 will indeed be the last time that 60 point systems courses will be taught at the Open University at undergraduate level. This comes after almost 30 years of teaching systems and introducing over 10,000 people to this incredible discipline.

But it's not all doom and gloom:

-- a lot of our systems teaching has now been "liberated" and is now available for free at http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/ e.g. http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=1289

-- systems thinking and practice has now permeated a good range of courses at the OU, from design to geology to business studies, so although it won't be studied in as great depth, many courses do introduce people to its groundbreaking concepts.

-- we now have a brand-new (and incredibly successful) masters program in systems thinking and practice ( http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/postgradua ... on/f47.htm ).

-- there is the strong possibility of providing 30 point courses around the theme of "systems for sustainability" starting from 2013. Watch this space ;)
Last edited by Andrea on Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
esse sequitur operari
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