This past week I have been working on the curriculum content for a summer course in general systems science. The course will be open to all students. I'm calling the course "Thinking Systemically: Tackling Global-Scale Problems". I've elected to use the term problem rather than predicament because I'm reasonably sure the majority of students who will look at the title would not grasp the difference, at this point. My thought was to motivate the interest in systems science by looking at a global issue (in this case, global warming) and seeing the systemic nature of it. I have a companion set of slides in which we will take each segment of the course - the principles - and demonstrate how it applies to analyzing the global warming/climate change issue.
The plan is that this course will show students a core of systems "principles" taken from my book. Based on the experience I gain from this summer I will modify the course to be used as a Freshman Core class. All entering freshmen at UWT have to take a few "core" courses which provide an interdisciplinary perspective on one of the major areas of learning in general education. This course will provide some quantitative and natural world credits.
A second course will be derived from this one and will provide much more quantitative work in systems. This course, which will not include the climate change issue, is being proposed as a required course for all majors offered by the UW Institute of Technology. All of our majors include the word "systems" in their titles (e.g. Computer Science and Systems) and there is an intent to push systems thinking further into the curriculum of all our programs.The derived course will focus mostly on the application of systems thinking to information, software, and engineered systems.
The systems engineering track of the Computer Engineering & Systems degree program would then leverage off of this course, expanding on the application of systems thinking to systems analysis and design.
The summer course slides can be viewed via these two links. The slide set has been broken into two parts to reduce latency on downloading (both .pdf files).
I would be interested in comments any of you might have. Bear in mind that the course is targeted to students who might only have algebra and only a high school lab science course. Also note that I have left out much more information in trying to pack the whole concept into a five credit-hour/quarter course. However, if you have any constructive comments regarding things you think should be included, let me know.