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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences : Health Information

Postgraduate Course: Systems thinking (HEIN11054)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will introduce students to systems thinking and systems engineering using real-world examples and how they are used to understand and successfully deliver new and improved products and services within and across health and social care organisations. This course aims to equip students with the tools and frameworks to analyse health and social care systems, enabling them to deliver effective solutions for integrated care.

The course is ideal for students from health, social and care services or computational backgrounds who would like to learn about the fundamentals of systems thinking and systems engineering applied in the health and social care context.

Students taking this course do not require any prior knowledge of systems thinking or systems engineering. However, evidence of prior learning of data science and health, social and care service systems is required.
Course description The situations and events that health and social care professionals deal with in their daily practice are complex. Therefore, understanding and approaching problems from a systems perspective in organisations are essential for care professionals. Systems thinking is a powerful approach for focusing on how systems operate and how system components interact and work together within the system as a whole. Systems thinking tools are used to analyse and understand complex and uncertain real-world problems. These tools are used alongside systems engineering approaches to take this understanding and successfully deliver new and improved products and services.

This course is designed to teach students how to apply systems thinking tools and systems engineering approaches to analyse and develop solutions for complex problems in health and social care systems.

This course will first introduce systems thinking and data-driven systems thinking, the tools used to solve complex problems and provide solutions to challenges in health and social care systems. The course will then introduce system modelling and how system modelling can be used to better understand system dynamics, identify and formulate solutions to complex problems and support decision-making in health and social care systems. Next, the course will explore and apply the systems engineering approaches that are used to support systems decomposition, requirement management, verification and validation and stakeholder analysis associated with the development of complex systems. Finally, the course will focus on selecting and implementing change, including multi-stakeholder involvement, implementing change, and evaluating systems development projects using real-world examples from health, social, and care services.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students will be responsible for their computer equipment and internet access.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Course Start Date 23/10/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 5, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 1, Online Activities 35, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 5, Formative Assessment Hours 5, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 46 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback A balance of formative feedback and feedforward will be provided throughout the course, for example, during live question and answer sessions and on discussion boards. Formative tasks will be offered before the student submit their summative assessed coursework. All components of summative assessment will be marked, and feedback will be provided.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and tools of systems thinking and systems engineering.
  2. Apply holistic thinking and the appropriate techniques and tools to better understand systems and systems dynamics to provide solutions to complex problems.
  3. Recognise the attributes of different systems, and use a variety of perspectives to critically analyse relationships and dynamics to resolve complex problems by applying appropriate judgement.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate about systems, emergence, interactions and uncertainty of systems with peers, more senior colleagues, stakeholders and active partners and understand different perspectives both within the local team and broader health, social and care services sector.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Mindsets:
Enquiry and lifelong learning
Students on this course will be encouraged to seek out ways to develop their driven systems thinking and systems engineering expertise. They will also be encouraged to strive for excellence in their professional practice and to use established and developed approaches to resolve implementation issues as they arise in their practice.

Aspiration and personal development
Students will be encouraged to draw on the quality, depth and breadth of their experiences to expand their potential and identify areas they wish to develop and grow. Students will also be encouraged to understand their responsibility within and contribute positively, ethically and respectfully to the academic community while acknowledging that different students and community members will have other priorities and goals.

Outlook and engagement
Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning. Students will be asked to use their initiative and experience, often explicitly relating to their professional, educational, geographical or cultural context to engage with and enhance the learning of students from the diverse communities on the programme. Students will also be asked to reflect on the experience of their peers and identify opportunities to enhance their learning.

Research and enquiry
Students will use self-reflection to seek out learning opportunities. Students will also use the newly acquired knowledge and critical assessment to identify and creatively tackle problems and assimilate the findings of primary research and peer knowledge in their arguments, discussions and assessments.

Personal and intellectual autonomy
Students will be encouraged to use their personal and intellectual autonomy to critically evaluate learning materials and exercises. Students will be supported through their active participation in self-directed learning, discussion boards and collaborative activities to critically evaluate concepts, evidence and experiences of peers and superiors from an open-minded and reasoned perspective.

Personal effectiveness
Students will need to be effective and proactive learners that can articulate what they have learned, and have an awareness of their strengths and limitations, and a commitment to learning and reflection to complete this course successfully.

Effective systems thinkers require excellent oral and written communication, presentation and interpersonal skills. The structure of the interactive (problem-based learning examples, discussion boards and collaborative activities) and assessment elements incorporate constant reinforcement and development of these skills.
Keywordssystems thinking,systems engineering,care systems,data-driven approaches
Course organiser Tim Kerby
Course secretaryMr Matthew Newlands
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