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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Getting 'messy’ with problems : the challenges of teaching ‘soft’ OR

Ackermann, Fran (2011) Getting 'messy’ with problems : the challenges of teaching ‘soft’ OR. INFORMS Transactions on Education, 12 (1). pp. 55-64.

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Abstract

For many, teaching soft "OR" or problem structuring methods (PSMs) within the constraints of a degree program can be a challenge. For example, effort is needed in managing student expectations—particularly as problem structuring methods typically do not give "a single right answer." Then there is the requirement of working interactively with groups—a daunting task to many! Finally, adding the extra consideration of teaching distance-learning students just exacerbates the situation—or does it? However, despite these challenges PSMs clearly provide benefit to many and are a valuable part of an operational researcher's armoury. This paper reflects on a selection of the challenges faced by those teaching such methods, and provides some insights into their management.