The latest issue of the Journal of Political Science Education 13, 3 (2017) contains several simulations-related articles:
Pursuing Ideology with Statecraft
Hayden Smith and Niall Michelsen
Utilizing a web-based simulation Statecraft, we explore the relative influence of ideology (realism and idealism) on student behavior and learning. By placing students into ideologically cohesive groups, we are able to demonstrate the effect of their ideology on the goals they pursue and identify the constraints imposed on the system by the behavior of groups as well.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Methods? Methodological Games and Role Play
Nina Kollars and Amanda M. Rosen
In terms of gamification within political science, some fields—particularly international relations and American politics—have received more attention than others. One of the most underserved parts of the discipline is research methods; a course that, coincidentally, is frequently cited as one that instructors hate to teach and students hate to take. Given the well-documented merits of games in promoting student engagement and the key role of methods as a building block to student understanding of political science, this article attempts to rectify this oversight by introducing three games—Zendo, Murder Mystery, and the Archeologist’s Quandary— geared at teaching key concepts and approaches in research methods.
There is No Debriefing Without Prior Briefing: Writing a Briefing Memo as a Preparatory Activity to Make the Most of the Pedagogical Potential of Simulations
Simulations are traditionally divided into three phases, namely preparation, interaction, and debriefing. This article argues that the first phase has been neglected. The preparation phase is indeed widely seen as necessary but merely instrumental to the interaction phase of simulations rather than as a self-contained activity that may also provide an opportunity to make the most of their pedagogical potential. This article explains how writing a briefing memo to prepare a simulation challenges this taken-for-granted view. After outlining the reasons why I asked the students of my Introduction to International Relations module to write a briefing memo about the conflict in South Sudan in preparation for a simulation of the negotiation of a peace agreement, the article explains how it can be used to generate a stimulating class discussion. It then emphasizes how the three phases of the simulation fruitfully complement each other and allow teachers to go beyond the instrumentalist conception of the preparatory phase. Finally, the conclusion reflects about the “portability” (Kollars and Rosen 2016) of the briefing-negotiation-debriefing format outlined in this article.