Exploring Complexity

The Complexity Explorer course is a free course offered by the Santa Fe institute, providing a thorough presentation of the concept of Complexity. I just finished this course and thought I would post a link to my notes here. I also have two quick thoughts about the course.

  • I think it is interesting to note how I participated in this course, I engaged with the course content (readings, videos, tutorials) over 2 or 3 offerings of the course. This is an example of maybe one of the less talked about, but very useful attributes of Open Online Course. Learning about complexity and game theory is a hobby of mine – I’ve read several books, participated in several courses, however I simply don’t have enough time in my life, nor is the subject matter directly relevant to my work enough to make it a higher priority. (In the long-run, I feel that learning about complexity is important). Open-courses like these are invaluable to me. Without the open nature of this course, I wouldn’t really have the option to learn from this fantastic resource. Flexibility of access is a characteristic of open learning that doesn’t get much mention in critiques (at least not as much as the topic of drop-out rates, which I probably would have skewed).
  • Melanie (the course’s host) asks each of the guest speakers (Guest Speakers for each unit are one of the best features of Complexity Explorer) a series of set questions about their work with Complexity. One of the last questions is always What advice would you give to someone wanting to get involved in the field of Complexity? Several times (if not most of the time?) the guest speaker included in their answer the advice that such a person should specialize and base them self in a separate field first, before applying and researching concepts of complexity to that field. I thought this was great advice (like I would know…but seems like great advice) and I actually think this is useful advice for the field of educational technology, as well. To me, it just makes more sense that someone have an area of application before applying edtech practices- since, much like complexity, the questions and answers of application are so heavily reliant on subject matter.

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