About this Course
4.6
100 ratings
23 reviews
Systems science has been instrumental in breaking new scientific ground in diverse fields such as meteorology, engineering and decision analysis. However, it is just beginning to impact public health. This seminar is designed to introduce students to basic tools of theory building and data analysis in systems science and to apply those tools to better understand the obesity epidemic in human populations. There will also be a lab in which students will use a simple demonstration model of food acquisition behavior using agent-based modeling on standard (free) software (netlogo). The central organizing idea of the course is to examine the obesity epidemic at a population level as an emergent properties of complex, nested systems, with attention to feedback processes, multilevel interactions, and the phenomenon of emergence. While the emphasis will be on obesity, the goal will be to explore ways in which the systems approach can be applied to other non-communicable diseases both nationally and internationally. Topics will include: a) the epidemiology of obesity across time and place, b) theories to explain population obesity, c) the role of environments and economic resources in obesity c) basic concepts and tools of systems science, d) modeling energy-balance related behaviors in context, e) agent-based models, systems dynamic models, and social network models...
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-3 hours/week

Approx. 11 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-3 hours/week

Approx. 11 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Module 1

Obesity, the facts of the case, and human populations through a systems science lens....
Reading
7 videos (Total 112 min), 1 quiz
Video7 videos
Obesity, The Facts of the Case (Or Why Obesity Pushes Our Buttons) - Tom Glass17m
Beyond the Usual Suspect: Why This Case Is Hard To Crack12m
Explanations: The Food Supply, A System of Interest18m
Obesity in Human Populations Through a Systems Science Lens - Tom Glass11m
Taking a Systems Perspective: 5 Key Features25m
What is so "Systemy" About Obesity?23m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module 120m

2

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Module 2

Complex systems, system dynamic models, and developing a stock and flow. This module includes a lab lesson....
Reading
6 videos (Total 89 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
Nuts and Bolts of System Dynamics Models12m
Developing a Stock and Flow Model12m
Policy Resistance10m
Coding tutorial for systems dynamics model22m
From stock and flow diagram to developing a SD model in Vensim20m
Reading1 reading
Important: Models for Lab Assessment10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Module 2 Quiz20m
Lab 1 Quiz8m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Module 3

Social networks and obesity, neighborhoods and noshing, and prices and poverty....
Reading
9 videos (Total 123 min), 1 quiz
Video9 videos
Social Network Analysis13m
Obesity & Social Networks13m
Neighborhoods and Noshing: Foraging and the Food Environment14m
Why Should We Care About Neighborhoods for a Systems Science of Obesity15m
Foraging Theory: A Unifying Framework?26m
Lecture 6: What's price (and income) got to do with it?11m
Less money, more problems?11m
Taxman: Can Price Manipulations Be Used to Promote Healthful Eating9m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module 3 Quiz18m

4

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Module 4

Agent based modeling and conceptual motivation for agent based modeling. This module includes a lab lesson....
Reading
8 videos (Total 125 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Video8 videos
Why agent-based modeling?24m
Development of a Simple Model with Environment, Peer Networks, and Agent Behaviors19m
Food Foraging ABM:Embedded in a GIS-Based Environment8m
Lab 2 Part 1: Tutorial on building ABMs in Netlogo environment34m
Lab 2 Part 2: ABM for Food Store; Food Foraging ABM8m
Lab 2 Part 3: Income-Diet model example with extensions15m
Congratulations!m
Reading2 readings
Important: Models For Lab Assessment 210m
Learn more about the Global Obesity Prevention Center10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Module 4 Quiz20m
Lab Quiz 210m
4.6

Top Reviews

By PVSep 12th 2017

This course was surprisingly challenging and educational. I had little background in system science, and very much enjoyed the learning process!

By HHSep 12th 2017

Very interesting and useful tools for analyzing complex networks and designing interventions.

Instructors

Jessica Jones-Smith

Assistant Professor
Human Nutrition

Rahmatollah Beheshti

Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Civil Engineering

Daniel Taber

Assistant Professor
School of Public Health (UT Health)

Kayla de la Haye

Assistant Professor of Preventative Medicine
Keck School of Medicine (USC)

Thomas Glass

Professor
Epidemiology

About Johns Hopkins University

The mission of The Johns Hopkins University is to educate its students and cultivate their capacity for life-long learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world....

Frequently Asked Questions

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