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In Media

Select content published in academic journals and in social media.

Interview on Reflective Teaching in A Digital Age podcast

October 28, 2022

Introducing engineering students to systems thinking early in their education is critical for their development and learning success. In this episode Dr. Rea Lavi talks to us about the System Architecture-Function-Outcome (SAFO) framework he developed to help foster systems thinking in undergraduate students. He explains how this framework can be integrated in engineering teaching and used to assess systems thinking in first year engineering students.

Listen to the podcast episode

Addressing Ill-Defined Problems: A Case Study

May 25, 2022

The DIMES-FIRST methodology for structured problem-solving integrates concepts, methods, and techniques from systems engineering, marketing planning, social sciences, and cognitive psychology.

While it is a streamlined methodology, specific stages of DIMES-FIRST can and have been implemented in a standalone fashion to good effect. 

In spring 2022, MIT undergraduate students applied this methodology in my course, 'Tackling Challenges in Climate and Sustainability with Ways of Thinking'. 

Read my LinkedIn article

Teaching and Assessing Systems Thinking Workshop Hones Teaching Skills

Mar 22, 2022

Grasping the complexity of nearly any discipline increasingly requires thinking from a systems perspective. Whether in engineering, biology, or social sciences, understanding how components of a system interact to produce desirable and undesirable outcomes, which in turn impact the system itself, is necessary for solving challenges and developing innovations. For two days this March, participants from J-WEL member organizations gathered online to explore the challenge of teaching this skill with the guidance of members of MIT’s New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) program.

Read the MIT J-WEL newsletter article

Applying Systems Thinking to Food Sustainability on MIT Campus

Jan 21, 2022

I ran a two-day virtual workshop titled ‘Applying Systems Thinking to Food Sustainability on MIT Campus’. During this workshop, MIT students expanded and refined a hierarchical conceptual model of MIT’s food system (focusing on student life) in, identified leverage points (high impact-to-cost ratio) deep within the model, and presented their suggestions to an expert panel, including a world-renowned scholar in food systems and a representative from MIT Office of Sustainability.

Read my LinkedIn post

Three Ways of Thinking for Tackling Open-Ended Problems

Dec 19, 2021

I would like to present you with a quick (30 minutes) method for generating a wide variety of ideas for solving an open-ended problem. I adapted this example, with some changes for anonymity and clarity, from a first-year class I teach on ways of thinking for tackling open-ended challenges.

Read my LinkedIn article

Fresh Perspectives: Dr. Rea Lavi

Oct 5, 2021

1) What class did you teach during the pandemic and how was it structured?

2) How did you plan your remote class sessions?

3) How did you assess student learning?

Watch my interview on the MIT TLL YouTube channel

The NEET Ways of Thinking: Implementing them at MIT and Assessing their Efficacy

Sep 1, 2021

In Fall 2016, the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) chartered the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) initiative. NEET aims to educate young engineers to build the new machines and systems that will address societal needs of the 21st century. Students enter NEET in their sophomore year and join one of five threads, namely Advanced Materials Machines, Autonomous Machines, Digital Cities, Living Machines, and Renewable Energy Machines. Threads are cross-departmental pathways of subjects and projects in interdisciplinary areas. NEET students earn an SB degree in their declared major as well as a NEET Certificate in their thread, within the usual four-year duration. Enrollment in the program has increased from 28 students in Fall 2017 to 187 in Fall 2020. NEET students practice the 12 NEET Ways of Thinking, which are cognitive approaches for tackling complex challenges.

Read my open access article in Advances in Engineering Education

Perceptions of STEM alumni and students on developing 21st century skills through methods of teaching and learning

Sep 1, 2021

21st century skills are essential for career readiness. We investigated the development of students’ 21st century skills at a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research university: Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

Read my open access article in Studies in Educational Evaluation

Are creative thinking and systems thinking related?

May 4, 2021

Do you think these two cognitive abilities are related? If so, in what way/s? If not, why?

Read my discussion on ResearchGate

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