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Topic: Re: Australia's Chief Scientist - ‘STEM in the national interest'
Replies: 1   Last Post: Aug 3, 2013 10:40 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Australia's Chief Scientist - ‘STEM in the national interest'
Posted: Aug 3, 2013 11:28 AM
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Attached herewith:


B) What is modeling? (Brief note on the scientific basis and the 'philosophy' underlying this kind of modeling).
Further my last dt. Aug 1, 2013 4:37 PM (Aug 1, 2013 4:37 PM), I've started development of an Interpretive Structural Model (ISM) with a few of the 'elements' listed at that post. The model at its current level of development is shown at the attachment to this post, as it has been progressively developed starting with 2 elements; 3 elements; 4 elements; .... up to 11 elements.

Some notes about the construction of this model:
1. The underlying idea is to develop a 'structure' showing the "CONTRIBUTIONS" of various 'THINGS TO DO' in the STEM-education system (as an important constituuent of the general education system).

As it is developed (by stakeholders in the specific 'system' under consideration), such a structural model would become a 'consensus Action Plan' for the specific 'Mission' taken up. In general, the 'Mission' appears as the top-level element in the model.

2. In this particular case, the 'elements' have been generated (as GSC had perceived them) from the Address given by the Australian Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb tot he Oz Press Club and from his Paper "Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the National Interest: A Strategic Approach July 2013". The Address and the Paper are available from links provided by Jonathan Crabtree at his message dt. 30-July-2013 (

The elements have been generated from Professor Chubb's ideas as filtered through GSC's mental model on the issue. No specific validity is claimed for the elements (or for the model developed from them).

Properly to represent elements of a consensus model for STEM-education, the elements should of course be properly edited for meaning, context, content and wording by real stakeholders of the 'system(s)' under consideration. Of course, the 'consensus model' must involve the ideas of many more stakeholders of the specific system under consideration.

Likewise, the model which at this point represents only GSC's perceptions, should be developed by the stakeholders.

3. As Professor Chubb wrote his Address and his Paper from the specific point of view of the Oz STEM-education system (as he perceived it), the elements represent the underlying reality of the Australian system. In order to develop a model for, say, the USA, all elements should be generated by the stakeholders in US education, specifically those involved in STEM-education in the USA.

4. The model appears to look a bit like the 'PERT Charts' of which Robert Hansen (RH) here appears to be enamored.

However, this appearance of likeness with PERT is entirely illusory, as would be understood when you check out relationship providing structure: here the relationship in question is "CONTRIBUTES TO", while in PERT the relationship is "PRECEDES". "PRECEDENCE" is (almost) entirely useless to enable us arrive at an understanding of ANY underlying system; "CONTRIBUTION", effectively understood and applied, can help us arrive at a usable, 'working understanding' of the system.

Interesting Note about PERT Charts: At one stage, RH had fallen so much in love with PERT Charts that he filled up all the walls of all the corridors and conference rooms - and the roofs as well for all I know - of the office where he was working at the time.

I note that this IS indeed the kind of thing foolish young men who happen fall in love are quite likely to do more often than not. (I've been there and done that kind of thing myself, though not with PERT Charts).

I observe only that PERT Charts are predicated on the transitive relationship "PRECEDES", which is, in general, not very useful to help us understand any system whatsoever.

In order to help stakeholders to understand ANY system. the recommended transitive 'system relationship' is "CONTRIBUTES TO".

By using this relationship, it is indeed possible to develop, progressively, one's understanding of how ANY system, regardless how complex it may be, develops and functions.

To convince oneself that the above argument holds in real systems, one needs only to construct a few models using "CONTRIBUTES TO" in the specific context of ANY system of current interest to you as a user.

i) Choose ANY Mission of current interest.

ii) Articulate a few 'elements' of the THINGS TO DO (as you perceive them) to accomplish the Mission.

iii) Construct an Interpretive Structural Model predicated on the relationship "CONTRIBUTES TO" (to begin with, in the strength "MAY CONTRIBUTE TO"). As you develop the model, you will find that your understanding of the 'system' underlying that Mission has significantly improved. Continue developing and constructing the model, and it will be found that your confidence that you truly *know* the model has significantly improved.


Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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