Abstract for: Using Archetypes to Teach Systems Thinking in an Engineering Master’s Course

Systems Thinking can help to solve complex problems in different domains including engineering. For an engineering master’s program, we designed a seminar course to teach Systems Thinking based on qualitative models known as system archetypes. The seminar is a follow-up to a System Dynamics lecture course. For the seminar we use archetypes as conceptual models and the Covid-19 pandemic as problem context. In this paper we describe the context of the course and its design, and we report findings from running it. Based on students’ evaluation and the materials they produced throughout the course, our findings (1) support our design assumptions regarding student motivation, (2) give insights on students’ struggling with understanding and applying archetypes, and (3) suggest further development of course design. With this we want to provide a course blueprint and contribute to the discussion of how to teach Systems Thinking in Higher Education.