A great deal of excitement and trepidation was in the air yesterday – all of my Open University study books arrived.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am starting on the path to a MSc Systems Thinking in Practice. – and now that I am on the verge of starting it, I thought I would take a little time to blog the thought processes and initial impressions behind why I chose this particular path, as opposed to one of the may others I could have taken.
I figure it will be an interesting exercise to look back over the next few (no doubt extremely busy) years to remind myself of my original plans and motivations, and to see how these change over time.
Why am I taking a Masters?
This is a good question. I do not really need it for my job – though I have no doubt that it will be useful. The overly competitive sibling part of me admits some base jealousy of my sister who passed her Masters a few years ago (thought that is certainly in no way a over-riding factor – even I am not that crazy!) I would say my primary motivation is curiosity and challenge. My background is in Art (believe it or not), and this piece of higher education sits squarely within the Technology and Innovation sector.
I have heard – and at times even been nominally part of – various slightly ambiguous exercises at work which I now realise were loosely related to various methodologies and forms of Systems Thinking. I always approached such things with a degree of cynicism – which leads me to now recognise that I was actually part of the problem. And – at the end of the day – I also think you can never be too old to learn something new.
How is the Open University course structured?
The main reason I chose the Open University is because this isn’t something I can do full time. I work, I have a family and I have commitments. The OU Postgraduate courses are fully modular, and like building blocks, you can customise your route to the finish line. I also should end up ticking off Post-graduate Certificates and Diplomas along the way – which is nice.
The current plan is (note that later optional modules may change once I get a better grip on the complexity of study):
- TU811: Thinking Strategically: Systems Tools for managing change (mandatory module).
- M816: Data Management (optional module)
- TU812: Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (mandatory module)
- T889: Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (optional module)
I’m still deciding whether this one will be a 3rd optional module (possibly Information Security or Creative Management) and a Professional Project, or a full Research Project – only time will tell on that one!
I will go into a bit more detail about the first module in a future post.