For the third consecutive year whatIf? Technologies Inc. has provided the Global Systems Simulator (GSS) to a graduate-level course in Environmental Management at Royal Roads University. The GSS course component comprises two weeks of a Systems Methods course delivered online to the Masters of Environmental Management class, and for many students it is a highlight of the program. Comments such as "I learned just how strongly interconnected our systems are," and, "I found my policies in one area affected outcomes in other areas," are often made by participants after using the simulator.
The Systems Methods course is the final online course which students take in the two year Master's program that attracts 45-50 mid-career managers each year. The course is delivered via a web-based collaboration platform and students work in teams of 5-8 people.
Interesting views of the Royal Roads campus, Victoria, B.C.
For the GSS component, each student completes an online tutorial (http://tinyurl.com/global-sim-sys). Support is provided by whatIf? - each team receives an hour-long tutorial via web-conference from one of the GSS architects, Dr. Bert McInnis. The simulator interface is open and wiki-like: team members can view and build upon scenarios created by their teammates; teams discuss alternatives; and each team submits a "livable" future scenario. Finally, teams compare their various futures and report which theoretically sustainable future they prefer, and why. This brings up philosophical and ethical issues as well as practical issues associated with the feasibility of implementing the proposed policies. As a whole, the GSS component is an excellent forum for not only learning about the management of complex systems and the application of simulation models, but also for developing a deeper understanding of global issues.
whatIf? Technologies Inc. and the course instructor, Dr. Pille Bunnell, have collaborated to produce and deliver the course materials. The materials can be expanded to form a substantive high-school or university level course, or a brief overview can be delivered as a one or two-day workshop. Educators interested in learning more about the Global Systems Simulator and associated course materials should contact us.