Skip to main content
Presentation
Work in Progress: How Do We Teach and Measure Systems Thinking?
Proceedings from the 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference: Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Linda Vanasupa, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
  • Erika Rogers, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
  • Katherine Chen, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
Publication Date
10-22-2008
Abstract

Since the 1990's blue-ribbon commissions on engineering education have called for educators to graduate engineers who are capable of systems thinking. However, there is sparse information on how to cultivate this type of cognitive development. How do we develop and measure systems thinking? In this paper, we present the first of a series of methods that we are piloting to initiate the systems thinking process. This exercise, developed by Checkland and Scholes and called "Rich Pictures," requires the participant to express a reality in terms of images and connections between these images. We utilized the Rich Pictures exercise in combination with an appreciative inquiry strategy in pursuit of an initial research hypothesis regarding the impact of project-based learning on female students. We only partially answered our initial question, but the exercise unexpected yielded enthusiastic participation by the students and a rich set of data regarding unanticipated factors that influenced students' learning. The value of the activity is that it initiates the process of thinking non-linearly, an important first step in students' cognitive development for systems thinking.

Disciplines
Number of Pages
2
Publisher statement
Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Citation Information
Linda Vanasupa, Erika Rogers and Katherine Chen. "Work in Progress: How Do We Teach and Measure Systems Thinking?" Proceedings from the 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference: Saratoga Springs, NY (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kcchen/38/