Junior Seminars to be offered in Semester 1 AY2017/2018
GEM1918/UTC1702A Thinking in Systems: Ecosystems and Natural Resources
This module will serve to prepare systems citizens with thinking and quantitative skills that thought leaders across the world consider critical for functioning in the 21st century. Comprising qualitative and quantitative elements, this module will hone students’ ability to engage in Systems Thinking: understanding parts of a system, seeing interconnections, asking ‘what-if’ questions, quantifying the effects of specific interventions and using such understanding to propose operational/structural policies courageously and creatively. Interactive discussions and hands-on computer modelling using examples from several ecological and natural resource systems will serve as the primary learning mechanisms.
GEM1919/UTC1702B Thinking in Systems: Diseases and Healthcare
Does a virus attack any individual? Or, does an individual create conditions for infection? How should hospitals plan treatment strategies and patient-staff movements during an outbreak? Should government allocate more resources to prevent onset of chronic diseases rather than managing the complications arising out of chronic diseases? Students will approach such questions from a systems perspective, which involves: understanding behaviours of subsystems and stakeholders such as disease/ infection, patients, providers, payers and society. They will also learn how the interdependencies and interactions between the different actors of the system can be integrated into a holistic system that enables better understanding.
UTC1702C Thinking in Systems: Sustainability and Us
How does our day-to-day actions and living habits affect our environment? How effectively can we engage the public, government and other stakeholders to shape a sustainable environment for humanity? Students will analyze these questions from a systems perspective by developing qualitative and quantitative models that can map the interconnections and interdependencies between stakeholders involved in current sustainability challenges facing humanity (examples: energy consumption, zero waste and recycling). In this module, students will not only develop a good understanding on sustainability challenges, but also on how actions of individuals can add up to cause such challenges.
UTC1702D Thinking in Systems: Population Dynamics
Many of the world’s problems are linked to population changes: rapidly aging population, immigration woes, and the threat of environmental degradation to human existence. In this module, students will be introduced to population trends and be equipped to better understand fertility, mortality and migration and how they cause changes in population size, composition and distribution. It incorporates basic concepts, data sources and tools used in demography into a systems approach to modelling population dynamics. Students will build models of increasing complexity, covering a variety of generic structures and classic system dynamics modelling scenarios.
UTC1702E Thinking in Systems: Energy Systems
Are energy sources infinite? Do energy policies lead to a sustainable energy development? Would renewables solve our future energy needs, mitigate emissions and protect our environment? Students deal with such energy challenges by learning to understand ‘energy systems’ as a ‘complex whole’. This module provides a platform for students to understand the complex behavior arising from interdependent interactions of different actors of energy systems with other economic, political, social, technological and environmental factors. To achieve this, it engages students to learn and apply systems thinking tools to such aforementioned challenges through relevant models, case studies and real-world energy policy/problem scenarios.
UTC1702F Thinking in Systems: Disaster Resilience
Disasters like floods, storms, new disease outbreaks are increasing in the world. Climate change adds new hazards and uncertainties to existing risks. But are disasters a result of increasing hazards or are we becoming more vulnerable to them? Will they remain as hazards if we plan for resilience? Is resilience built or managed? Students will critically analyse these questions through a systems approach developing qualitative and quantitative models to understand relations between hazards, vulnerability, policy interventions and development practices. The module will encourage students to analyse case studies and grasp the dynamic complexity between risks, social vulnerability and resilience.