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RUCD 180

Systems Thinking

The way people experience design is critical to the success of any creation, and “user-centered thinking” seeks to produce technologies that adapt to the user.  It’s a rare technology creation that exists in isolation, however. Systems thinking helps us understand the interactions between system elements in an ecosystem so that we can critically analyze cause-and- effect relationships as we change and improve each element. This course introduces the language of systems theory, enabling students to describe and model systems and to communicate them to others. The course requires no prior knowledge of mathematical modeling or science. Topics include identifying system goals and boundaries; mapping form to function; analyzing complexity, efficiency, and methods of integration; modeling the system’s environment and its boundaries, interactions, and hierarchical structures; analyzing how systems change over time (dynamics) through feedback loops.

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