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Systems Thinking, Design Thinking - Two New Online Courses

December 22, 2016 by Kelly Paul |

colorful-markers-2.jpgUNCG Online has developed two new undergraduate online courses that teach students to think critically, interpret data, and solve problems—skills that students can use in the workplace right away. 

Both courses are taught entirely online and are shorter than the traditional semester—each course lasts just seven weeks.

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking examines interrelations and interactions in the world as influenced by our perspective.

Systems Thinking – IPS 302-01D 
January 17, 2017 – March 6, 2017
Erika Rauer, MM

In this course, we will examine the impact that thoughts, models, patterns and perceptions have on the world. This course will provide students with hands-on tools to examine both familiar and unfamiliar systems, so they can begin to see aspects of experience and the world as truly connected. This methodology is used for problem solving by corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and entrepreneurs. Through applied practice and a shift in perception, students will be able to use systems thinking tools to leverage change in their world and the world around them.

During this 7-week course, students will read books and resources that provide context for the specific tools and techniques of Systems Thinking. Once students start to understand how these tools work, they will apply them to case studies in a small group, choosing to focus on a case study in the arts or health and wellness. The group will work through the case study using Daniel Stroh’s 4 Stage Change Process, which applies systems thinking to social problems. During this process, students will be asked for group assignments that apply the tools of Systems Thinking. One week later, students will apply these same tools to an individual system found in their lives. As they apply the 4 Stage Change Process to their individual project, they will gather the perspectives of others through stakeholder interviews, recognize mental models and perceptions, map existing systems, and ultimately, propose a new model that uses leverage to effect positive change.
Design Thinking

Design Thinking is an innovative, human-centered approach to problem solving and promoting change.

Design Thinking – IPS 301-01D 
March 7, 2017 – May 2, 2017
Courtney Harrington, PhD

This course will teach students to apply Design Thinking to real world problems and situations including those in their everyday lives. Design Thinking is a set of attitudes; it’s a positive way of approaching complex problems. Thus it embraces ambiguity and learns from failure. It practices empathy for the user, client, or customer. In fact, this is its distinguishing characteristic. The Design Thinking methodology is used for problem solving by corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and entrepreneurs.

This course relies on frequent feedback and interaction with classmates, the professor, and an external support team. In the course, students will use case studies to learn the tools and processes of Design Thinking and then apply those tools and processes to a project of their choosing.

Interested in taking one of these courses? Contact your advisor.



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