This page focuses on the course 15.871 Introduction to System Dynamics as it was taught by John Sterman and Hazhir Rahmandad in Fall 2013.
15.871 Introduction to System Dynamics is a half-semester introductory course. Students can take 15.871 alone, or combine it with 15.872 System Dynamics II. Taken in sequence the courses constitute the introductory sequence in system dynamics. Successful completion of both 15.871 and 15.872 is a prerequisite for advanced courses in system dynamics, work as a research or teaching assistant in the field, or careers using system dynamics.
During this first half of the semester, 2 class sections were taught by John Sterman and Hazhir Rahmandad, and 2 additional sections for Sloan Fellows were taught simultaneously by Nelson Repenning. 6 teaching assistants worked as a team to cover all 4 sections over the semester.
Course Goals for Students
15.871 and 15.872 introduce students to system dynamics modeling for the analysis of business policy and strategy. Students will learn to visualize a business organization in terms of the structures and policies that create dynamics and regulate performance. The course uses simulation models, case studies, and management flight simulators to develop principles of policy design for successful management of complex strategies, and to improve our understanding of the ways in which an organization’s performance is related to its internal structure and operating policies as well as those of customers, competitors, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
In this video, John Sterman gives an in-depth introduction to the field of system dynamics and describes various aspects of the course.
Permission of the instructor
H-Level Graduate Credit
Every fall and spring semester
The students' grades were based on the following assessment elements:
A total of about 300 students were split among 4 sections for this course.
Breakdown by Year
Mostly graduate students, a few undergrads.
Breakdown by Major
During an average week, students were expected to spend 7-10 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
- Course met 2 times per week for 90 minutes per session; mandatory attendance.
- Recitation for review, where TAs fielded questions about the materials; optional attendance.
Out of Class
This half-term course ran during the first half of the fall semester.