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System Dynamics Summer School

About

We are pleased to present the 8th Annual System Dynamics Summer School.  Held prior to the conference, Summer School provides a unique opportunity to learn (or review) the basics of System Dynamics and get exposed to real-world applications of the method. We will record all preparation sessions for viewing. The first week will be on your own to get exposure to software and systems thinking and to start watching the topic lectures. We will use the second week of Summer School week for a live discussion of topics and assignments. We will have a dedicated website for materials, homework, and Q&A. This year’s Summer School will focus on introductory and intermediate topics.

System Dynamics requires time to learn. Summer School is just the beginning of this rewarding learning experience. At the later of your official enrollment or June 1, you will have access to:

  • System Dynamics software videos on YouTube. Depending on the tool (Stella, Studio, Vensim) there may be up to 27 short videos to watch. You can go into more depth by visiting the vendor sites for more tutorials. Limited software licenses will also be available to all registered students at no cost. 
  • Dedicated websites by track. There you will find readings, models, schedules, assignments, Q&A, etc. You will also be able to connect to your peers by Track via the messaging system.
  • Video recorded lectures. Lectures will be available after registration for viewing before the week of Summer School. The expectation is students are familiar with the content of the videos, but not that the content is fully understood and can be applied to a problem. 
  • Synchronous online sessions and office hours during the week of Summer School to review material, go through exercises, work on problems, answer questions, and get help with individual projects. 
  • System dynamics software (time limited and/or feature limited) will be provided for Macintosh and Windows computers.

 

Pre-Work Requirements

It is important that you watch the pre-recorded lectures before the week of Summer School as we will be busy during the week focusing on reviewing the lectures, exercises, and solutions, demonstrating and practicing skills, and providing opportunities to work on individual projects. In watching the pre-recorded lectures, we don’t expect students to learn or master the material from the videos alone or before the week of Summer School. Instead, we expect students to have watched the videos in order to become familiar with the content so that we can draw on the content during the live sessions, you can ask questions, and when we refer back to the videos, you have a sense of what we are talking about. Based on experiences from last year, if you wait until the week of Summer School to watch the videos, you’ll likely be falling behind and have a less satisfying experience. 

 

Duration of the Pre-Recorded Videos

Overall, we expect that there are approximately 9 hours of pre-recorded lectures (not including software and system dynamics applications videos) to watch before the week of Summer School, with 12 live sessions during the week of Summer School totaling 20 hours interacting online plus at least 20 hours offline to work on problems/exercises and your individual project. 

Topic Time (approximate)
Beginner 8 hours 30 minutes
Intermediate 8 hours 30 minutes
Stella 1 hour
Vensim 14 minutes
Studio 4 hours
Applications 4 hours

July 20-23, 2021 – Online Sessions

Registration Open!

Space is limited.

Join the Introductory Track Waiting List

Registration is not complete until paid in full

Registration Deadline: July 5, 2021

Refunds are available in full only until June 01. 

Join people from all over the world in the biggest conference on System Dynamics and systems thinking!
From novices to experts, participants come from businesses, universities, not-for-profits, government, consulting, the healthcare and sustainability sectors, and beyond. 

The Introductory Track is software neutral. The purpose is to teach the system dynamics methodology and not specific software syntax. There will be models available in Vensim, Studio, and Stella. Free versions of system dynamics modeling software that is limited in capability or limited in duration of use will be made available.

Instructors

David Ford, Texas A&M University (former System Dynamics Society president)
Rod MacDonald, James Madison University
Peter Hovmand, Washington University/Case Western
Birgit Kopainsky, University of Bergen (former System Dynamics Society president)

Tentative Schedule

Tuesday
July 20

Wednesday
July 21

Thursday
July 22

Friday
July 23

Introduction to Summer School

Reflections and Review of Day

Reflections and Review of Day

Reflections and Review of Day

Modeling Steps & Problem Definition

Formal Modeling of Stocks and Flows

Nonlinear Relationships

Model Analysis

Modeling Feedback Mechanisms

Information Delays

Modeling Policies

Model Use

Conceptual Modeling with Stocks and Flows

Workshop:
Accumulation, Feedback, & Information Delays

Model Validation

Workshop:
Common Pitfalls and Best Practices

Workshop: Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling Software

Applications Lecture

Applications Lecture

Applications Lecture

Online Welcome

Closing Reception

The Intermediate track will focus more on software (Studio and Vensim) ; it will present more advanced modeling technique. Free versions of system dynamics modeling software that are limited in capability or limited in duration of use will be made available.

Instructors

David Keith, MIT
Jacob Jacobson, Mindseye Computing
Len Malczynski, University of New Mexico

 

Tentative Schedule

Tuesday
July 20

Wednesday
July 21

Thursday
July 22

Friday
July 23

Introduction

Learning Circles

Learning Circles

Learning Circles

Steps of Modeling: Problem Description

Simulating Nonlinear Relationships

Recognizing and avoiding Common Pitfalls

Selection of models to be improved

Model Building: Stocks and Flows

Simulating the Flow of Information

Validation Testing: for us & our client

Student teams working on model improvements

Checking Results with Equilibrium Diagrams

Checking Results with delays in the flow of information

Topic to be selected based on students’ progress

Student teams continue with model improvements

Diagrams to show feedback loops

Applications Lecture

Applications Lecture

Applications Lecture

Online Welcome

Closing Reception

Testimonials

“It was amazing to come to this experience and be around so many people that I would never met before in my life.”                                                          

Brett Jaeger

Mechanical Engineer, Ambidextrous Labs

“One thing I took home from the Summer School is the understanding that the purpose of using this methodology is not to generate models, but to generate solutions to problems.”

Phyllis Kwenda

PhD Student, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Listen to the audio testimonial of Phyllis Kwenda