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Postgraduate Course: Organising for Social Change: Strategy, Governance & Innovation (20 Credit) (CMSE11391)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIf the purpose of government is to protect us, and the purpose of the market economy is to supply us, then the purpose of civil society or the 3rd sector is to engage us ¿ to provide for our social and cultural needs. In recent years, there has been a resurgent interest in social innovation ¿ addressing issues with approaches that are involve new and hybrid approaches led by 3rd sector organizations (e.g., social enterprises, charities, NGOs, trusts, etc.) in collaboration with public and private sector organisations can strengthen and rebuild civil society through innovative approaches to urgent and pressing problems of social inequality and environmental crisis. Effectively responding to these issues requires us to recognise them as complex problems that requiring systemic change. You will an interdisciplinary range concepts including: the capabilities approach, complexity theory, polycentric governance, subsidiarity, ecosystems, antifragility and systems thinking, and apply this theoretical understanding to a variety of case study settings such as: refugee camps, rebuilding from earthquakes, gang rule, universal income and urban traffic congestion. We will apply these concepts the analysis of issues and potential solutions for local problems.
Course description The aim of this course is to develop student knowledge and understanding about hybrid responses to social and environmental challenges through social innovation. In order to effectively respond to these issues, we will develop an understanding of what complex systems are and some tools with which to analyse them. To do so, we will learn a range of interdisciplinary concepts including: the capabilities approach, complexity theory, polycentric governance, subsidiarity, ecosystems, antifragility and systems thinking. We will apply our conceptual understandings to a variety of case study settings, and the group project in which we gather data, analyse and then propose solutions for practical issues in a local Edinburgh neighbourhood.

Introduction to Civil Society - why does it matter?
Social Innovation - new approaches to old problems
Social Inequality - enduring and structural barriers
Complexity Theory - emergence from basic elements
Systems Thinking - causality and points of leverage
Governance - who should decide?
Social Impact and Investment - capital markets as a force for good
Spatial and Structural Inequality - the role of the built environment

Student Learning Experience:
This course is designed around a blended learning experience, with both online and in-person components, consisting of:
a) Podcasts. Rather than using passive lectures to deliver conceptual course content, we have developed a series of podcasts to deliver the content in a more engaging and better curated format.
b) Seminars. Building on the concepts and theories developed in the podcasts, seminars will allow us to practically apply these concepts to a series of case studies and to engage in conversation with expert guest speakers. The seminars will help you better understand and contextualise concepts relevant to issues of social inequality and environmental sustainability.
c) Groupwork. Each student will work in a group to do an analysis of an issue in a local Edinburgh neighbourhood. Themes will change and adapt and might cover issues such as mobility, accessibility, safety for women and cultural spaces. This project will involve actual 'walking around' fieldwork.
d) Reflective Learning. Each student will also write an essay that considers a personal experience and applies reflection through a more conceptual lens. Most students have found this essay to be a rewarding experience, and in some cases, even cathartic

Tutorial/seminar hours represent the minimum total live hours - online or in-person - a student can expect to receive on this course. These hours may be delivered in tutorial/seminar, lecture, workshop or other interactive whole class or small group format. These live hours may be supplemented by pre-recorded lecture material for students to engage with asynchronously.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Seminar/Tutorial hrs are the min total live hrs, online or in-person, students can expect to receive
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 50% coursework (individual) - assesses course Learning Outcomes 1, 3, 4
50% coursework (group) - assesses course Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 4, 5
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of a systems change approach to affecting issues of social inequality and environmental sustainability.
  2. Demonstrate a capacity to work in groups and resolve difficulties.
  3. Display an ability to reflect upon one's experience with social inequality and its significance to personal development and learning.
  4. Critically analyse social and environmental issues through the synthesis of a range of concepts and theories and their relevance to different stakeholder groups.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to gather, synthesise and analyse information to develop a compelling argument for a range of expert and non-expert audiences.
Reading List
Resource List:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research & Enquiry:

An enhanced ability to conduct independent research into social innovation organisations and networks.

Personal & Intellectual Autonomy:

Students will gain some understanding of how to reflect and analyse their experiences in a host organisation and also to synthesise these understandings.

Personal Effectiveness

Students will gain some understanding of techniques for personal effectiveness through engagement with readings in order to complete quizzes, and the need to manage people and process in order to develop the group project.

Communication skills

An ability to communicate through the medium of video, written blogs and between group members through a virtual environment.
KeywordsOFSC 20
Course organiserDr Winston Kwon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5980
Course secretaryMiss Fionna Ogilvie
Tel: (0131 6)51 3028
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