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22nd February: Andy Lane's Farewell lecture

Professor Andy Lane retires from The Open University at the end of February 2022 after nearly 40 years of service. To mark his retirement, Andy will present a special lecture hosted by the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice (ASTiP) Group scheduled for 22nd February 2022 at 12 noon (UK time).  Andy’s talk is entitled “Systems diagramming: art or craft?” Four decades of teaching and use of diagrams in systems praxis at the Open University.

A brief profile and outline of Andy's presentation is given below.

To receive the live links for the talk, please register on Eventbrite. Through the Eventbrite link, you will have the option of watching Andy on YouTube or Facebook Live if your preferred not to join through the Open University Zoom platform. We hope you will join us online for the talk, and/or on social media for the conversation using #OUSTiP. Please feel free to circulate details to friends and colleagues who may not be on this email listing.

Andy is Professor of Environmental Systems and has been at The Open University since 1983. He has held various offices including being Dean of the former Technology Faculty from 2000-06 and the founding Director of The Open University’s multi-award winning OpenLearn Initiative from 2006-09. He has been involved in a number of international projects dealing with open educational resources and online and distance education and was awarded a 2021 ICDE Prize of Excellence for his lifetime contribution to open, flexible and distance education.

His research and scholarship covers (i) the management of complex environmental situations and (ii) systems of open education. He uses systems approaches to frame the research and scholarship in both domains coupled with an action research philosophy; both use visual methods (normally diagramming) as a means to engage participants and to elicit and sometimes analyse data and evidence provided by the participants.

His teaching mirrors his research interests: systems thinking, environmental management and the use of diagramming to aid studying and professional practice. Some of his teaching material features on OpenLearn.

Systems diagramming: art or craft?

Diagrams play a role in systems thinking in practice but how significant is their role and how are, and should they be, used, if at all? And if they are significant how is such practice best taught, particularly at a distance? In this talk Andy will reflect upon his own experiences and involvements in the teaching and use of diagrams in systems praxis through nearly 40 years at The Open University.

Andy will be introduced by Professor Nick Braithwaite, Executive Dean, STEM Faculty and Vice Chancellor Executive (VCE) Sponsor for Sustainability.  Some closing reflections will be provided by past colleagues Dr Sue Oreszczyn and Professor Simon Bell.

The lecture will be recorded and we will feature it on the new STiP Hub on OpenLearn (see The site has a host of open access resources on systems thinking built up by the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice group at the OU; resources including short courses and videos.  There is a page designated to the STiP@50 celebrations from 2021 where you can access recordings of  the series of eight webinars presented last year as well as the 10 podcasts with alumni and 'friends of STiP'.