Friday, March 9, 2007

General Systems Theory meets Ecotopia

Thanks to The Oregonian for listing WORLD REMIXED in the Living section today.

I hope you'll consider going back to #1 remix on February 21st, where I took up Steve Woodward's challenge to become a rookie blogger. In any case, Welcome!

As an amazing co-incidence, 30 Years ago this day I sent the following memo.

TO: All faculty and Students
FROM: John Miller, Mathematics Department

The following is a description of a course that I am offering this
spring term at Lewis & Clark:

Math 298 General Systems Theory

The purpose of this course is to have the student momentarily
eschew the role of a specialist to confront real world problems
from a comprehensive viewpoint. Working as an organized team,
the class will define a large scale problem, a set of mutually
agreeable assumptions, and a direction toward some goal. The
course will consist of several lectures, guest speakers, a film
or two, join problem solving sessions subgroup problem solving
sessions, and hopefully much dialog and exchange. The magnitude
of the problem to be viewed in on the order of:

1) A model of a capitol city for Alaska, or
2) A model of a self-sufficient Utopian colony.

The end product of the course cannot be known at this time. However,
a term's worth of thinking should lead to realizations about the
nature of comprehensive problem solving.

Your contribution and/or contributions will be appreciated.
Students from all Majors are encouraged to take the course.
The class will meet Period 10, 7:00-9:30 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
I wish to speak with each prospective student sometime before registration.

I had a reading list prepared, but somebody stopped by my office and told me about Ecotopia, by Earnest Callenbach, so I scratched the list, order copies for the bookstore, and made Ecotopia required reading for the course.

The blog entry on February 23 describes a little more about how the "class" went. We got a good start on a world model.