The Mathematics Enthusiast


Jon Warwick






This paper describes the application of Soft Systems Methodology as a tool for facilitating the review of a taught mathematics module so that the views of those engaged with the module could be captured and conflicting expectations and views highlighted. Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology is used since it enables the capture of stakeholder views and addresses both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ aspects of the learning experience. Stages in the application of Soft Systems Methodology are illustrated including the development of a rich picture and conceptual models and the work was conducted using a stakeholder group that included students taking the module (surveyed by questionnaire) and discussion with staff involved in the design and delivery of the material. Changes made to the delivery of the module are described particularly in the way that student support is delivered. The benefits derived from the application of this methodology are illustrated together with module monitoring and control mechanisms that help to trace the development of students. The paper argues that the application of this approach can enhance the understanding that faculty members have of student perceptions of a module, allows individual views to be understood and challenged and that this type of learning cycle undertaken periodically can be used to structure the evolution of a taught module.

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