"If [the student] cannot devise his own solutions (not of course in isolation, but in correspondence with the teacher and other pupils) and find his own way out he will not learn, not even if he can recite some correct answer with one hundred per cent accuracy."

John Dewey, 1916

2007-2008 Teaching Excellence Award Recipient

I am honored to have been recognized by the students in the Weatherhead School of Management's graduate programs as the recipient of their annual award for outstanding teaching.

Managing Visually

As managers deal increasingly with ill-structured problems, they often find themselves needing to think more like designers. One of the things that characterizes designers and design thinkers is their reliance on sketches. Sketching can be used to explore complex situations, solve problems, or sell ideas. Even if you don't think of yourself as a visual person, you can quickly learn to use simple techniques to look, see, imagine and show more clearly.

On Wednesday May 20, Mark Pinto and I taught a one day seminar at Weatherhead Executive Education on Managing Visually. Some useful resources are listed on the page we created to support that session.

Learning About & Keeping Up with Technology

Jon Gordon’s Future Tense produces four minute audio pieces on current issues in technology for radio. In addition to his own pieces his web site provide links to technology stories that he considers important.

Designer Bruce Mau’s Massive Change, an attempt to catalogue the forces governing change on a global scale, includes many items about information technology.

How stuff works gives simple overviews of lots of common items, many of them information technologies.

Hitmil’s History of Computers provides links to lots of interesting sites related to the history of computers and those who created them.

Luigi M. Bianchi’s History of Computing and Information Technology course at York Univeristy contains a detailed and rich set of lecture outlines. This will be of particular value to those who want to understand how computing got to be the particular way it is and what alternatives were passed-over on the journey here.

The Internet Society site provides annotated links to many Internet histories.

InetDaemon’s site contains hundreds of tutorials on computers, communications systems, and the internet. It was developed over the past ten years by an individual.

I have provided answers for over 100 questions about technology that students have asked in previous semesters of related courses.

Studying, Getting Work Done & Completing Projects

Paul Edwards, of the University of Michigan’s School of Information has written a very good essay on How to Read a Book (pdf file). His ideas apply to the articles you will encounter in this and other courses as well. Many students feel it is important to read these things like fiction from beginning to end. Paul explains why this is not so and provides an alternative approach. He also has a nice essay on How to Give a Talk (web page, but with a link to a pdf file available there).

The Georgetown Univeristy Library has a good piece on Effective Internet Search Strategies.

Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, collaborated with Jessica Abel to produce the comic book Radio an Illustrated Guide, a nice introduction to producing compelling radio.

Transom.org provides access to both interesting radio and the tools used to make it. It is a good place to learn how to do basic interviewing, editing and mixing.

An alternative view on audio blogging (more recently known as podcasting) is presented in An Audioblogging Manifesto.

Systems Thinking Resources

The BBC’s Open University has an excellent section on systems thinking titled Systems Practice Managing Complexity. It includes interviews, examples and exercises.

The Economics Web Institute has a detailed representation of the Keynesian IS/LM model done as a system map. In addition to providing an excellent and detailed example of a system map, it may prove useful to you in your study of economics.

The Web Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems is a useful starting place when you encounter a word or phrase that is unfamiliar. An interface to this and a lot of other online dictionaries is provided by OneLook Dictionaries.

Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Doubleday Currency, 1990 and the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategy and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, Doubleday Currency, 1994. These books do a good job of describing systems thinking in very practical terms and putting it in a larger context. Pages 87-190 of the Fieldbook are especially useful. If you are lost this is a good place to go for help.

Peter Checkland and Sue Holwell, Information, Systems and Information Systems: Making Sense of the Field, Wiley, 1998. This book covers a particular approach to systems thinking known as the soft systems method. This book contanis a fascinating case study on the use of radar to win the Battle of Britain. (Another version of that material is available in An Information System Won the War (you can download this pdf file only when you are logged into Case’s network). The book as a whole is a bit opague, but the application of these ideas directly to information systems may interest some of you.

Russell L. Ackoff, Creating the Corporate Future, Wiley, 1981. This book applies some of the same ideas specifically to the design of business organizations. Ackoff introduces a process he calls idealized design which is especially useful in dealing with unanticipated futures.

The Airline industry slides.

The System Archtypes slides.

Copyright 2009 Fred Collopy. This document is located at collopy.case.edu.