Introduction to Systems Thinking: Game Design and Learning

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 27, 2020 - August 07, 20207/27 - 8/07M-F 8:30A-11:20AOpenTheodore Kalaitzidis

Course Description

Technological advances in automation, data collection, and artificial intelligence are redefining the requirements for people to achieve successful futures. To be effective, teams will need to solve complex problems using a creative, critical methodology called Systems Thinking- the “art of seeing the forest and the trees.” In this workshop-based course, we will use the fields of game design and learning theories as entry points to Systems Thinking so that students leave with an applied understanding of how to approach problem-solving in creative, critical, and collaborative ways.

This course follows two basic themes. First, we will investigate and apply Systems Thinking to identify and analyse real-world systems. Second, we will explore how games can creatively and dynamically model systems in a way that affords the analysis and design of functional solutions. We'll discuss theory and research from the fields of Systems Thinking, Activity Theory, Distributed Cognition, Game-based Learning, and Design. We’ll use these readings to better understand how games are "designed experiences" that can aid understanding, solicit problem finding, and promote values. Finally, we will apply these ideas throughout the course as we collaboratively create, reflect upon, and critique our own games that model real-world phenomena or issues.

NOTE: This course does not involve computer programming. Design projects involve analog games.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CECS0906
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2020.

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