University of Technology Sydney

41189 Introduction to Human-centred Complex Systems

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Information Technology: Information, Systems and Modelling
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:

Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

Description

This subject introduces students to relevance and criticality of information systems to the study of complex systems in general and human-centred complex systems in particular. Students develop the necessary skills to enable them to observe an information system in any context as a human-centred, socio-technical complex system with consequences for different stakeholders (beyond the users of these systems). They also learn about system behaviour emergence, adaptive systems, holism, and other systems concepts in the context of information systems. Students acquire the mindset and skills to identify and cope with system complexity, underlying assumptions and consequences of these assumptions. Through collaborative classwork, they learn different systems modelling techniques (such as participatory modelling and agent-based modelling) with a clear understanding of the limitations and strengths of these modelling techniques in IS.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Analyse cultural, social, economic, institutional and technical perspectives, and the opportunities and constraints they present in human-centred complex environments, from an information systems perspective.
2. Demonstrate ability to design simple information systems for complex systems.
3. Identify and use methodologies, tools and techniques to cope with the uncertainty inherent in human-centred complex systems.
4. Communicate understanding of systems and their management.
5. Demonstrate personal engagement in complex systems, their information representations, and in collaboration within a team.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

  • Socially Responsible: FEIT graduates identify, engage, interpret and analyse stakeholder needs and cultural perspectives, establish priorities and goals, and identify constraints, uncertainties and risks (social, ethical, cultural, legislative, environmental, economics etc.) to define the system requirements. (B.1)
  • Design Oriented: FEIT graduates apply problem solving, design and decision-making methodologies to develop components, systems and processes to meet specified requirements. (C.1)
  • Technically Proficient: FEIT graduates apply abstraction, mathematics and discipline fundamentals, software, tools and techniques to evaluate, implement and operate systems. (D.1)
  • Collaborative and Communicative: FEIT graduates work as an effective member or leader of diverse teams, communicating effectively and operating within cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural contexts in the workplace. (E.1)
  • Reflective: FEIT graduates critically self-review their performance to improve themselves, their teams, and the broader community and society. (F.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Students will engage in pre-class preparation for workshops where they will work collaboratively on issues with real systems and apply their acquired knowledge in dealing with complex systems in the group assignment.

Students will work in groups to tease out the systemic characteristics and complexity in the systems they work with and to assess the impacts of the decisions made in such environments.

Students will develop a reflective portfolio in which they will deliberate about what they are learning and its implications, and of the feedback they receive from peers and academics. Students will relate their learning to life and career experiences.

They will use online discussion boards and blogs to post and discuss any issues about systems that raise concerns. Students find many items of current interest where systems concepts are essential.

Content (topics)

  • Concept of systems
  • Complex systems characteristics
  • Human-centred complex systems and IS
  • Human-centred design of complex systems
  • Modelling and analysing complex systems
  • Application areas

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Group assignment

Intent:

Allow students to collaboratively engage with complex systems and develop and demonstrate their understanding of such systems.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1 and D.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 50%
Length:

4000 words maximum (not including cover page, table of contents, diagrams and references)

Assessment task 2: Reflective portfolio

Intent:

To demonstrate evidence of enquiry and reflection on complex systems.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1, D.1, E.1 and F.1

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

Assessment task 3: Online engagement

Intent:

To use peer communication tools to improve knowledge of key complex systems aspects.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1, D.1, E.1 and F.1

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%

Minimum requirements

To pass this subject, students must achieve an overall mark of 50% or greater.

Required texts

Any required readings will be available via the library DRR system.

Recommended texts

Miller J. and Page S. Complex Adaptive Systems, PUP (to be confirmed, may be used as primary text)