Papers on Use of Simulation in Political Science

Simulating Conflict and Democracy in Action in Venezuela
This paper reflects on a two-time experiment in online learning: a web-based Role Play Simulation (RPS) on Venezuela, run during a two-week Masters Foundation course, and soon to be used as part of a new Masters on Human Rights, Development and Social Justice at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague. Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote is an acknowledged favourite of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (as well as Castro and Sub-Commandante Marcos). Chavez warns his enemies that “they will not be able to do away with the dreams of this people, who are defending (the Republic)…with their souls…even with their own lives”(Chavez, 2003: 19). Given the abortive 2002 coup against Chavez, backed by the US, it is easy to understand how the tiniest, apparently frivolous issues might become symbolically important. Character, script and actions of mistrust emerged as powerful vectors of agency for students engaged in the RBS, finding expression in a range of cooperative and conflictual strategies adopted by players with great creativity. The parallels between the unreality in Don Quixote and the powerful constructed realities of the simulation are brought out in the paper, which is a think-piece that does not seek to come to any hard and fast conclusions.

Predictive Power of Role-play Simulations in Political Science: Experience of an e-Learning tool
The paper argues that role-play simulations, viewed as collaborative thought experiments, enable analysts to examine scenarios that may not seem realistic at the time but which later prove otherwise. It provides examples that seem to predict future events and situations from 9 simulations run between 2000 and 2002, it raises questions about these results and attempts to provide a tentative explanation for them. The paper concludes by suggesting that only when relinquishing the quest for realism in the analysis of the political that one begins to catch a glimpse of political reality.

Evaluation of a Role-Play Simulation in Political Science HTML local copy
Although simulations often are used in teaching political science, they rarely are used as forms of assessment. Over the last few years, however, Peter Shearman and Roni Linser have offered simulations to University of Melbourne students in a second- and third-year course entitled “World Politics in Transition” as an alternative assessment of their learning in this course. The decision to offer such an alternative arose out of a need to demonstrate to students the strengths and weaknesses of international relations theories that were the focus of the course and to enliven what might otherwise seem “dry theory.” This decision was predicated on a pedagogy that asserts that long-term retention and ability to use learning are better achieved through experiential learning.
Dynamic Goal-Based Role-Play Simulationon the Web: A Case Study. HTML PDF local pre-publish copy This paper outlines and discusses the pedagogical approach and the technical design architecture of an innovative collaborative role-play simulation technology (called the Role-Play Simulation Generator). It also includes summative evaluation data derived from a case study application of this technology. The pedagogical approach of this collaborative learning technology is based on the principles of goal-based learning, and learning by doing in authentic environments where students are allowed the opportunity to acquire the intended learning outcomes by making mistakes in safe environments. The technology used to support this environment is Web-based simulation, which has been custom-designed for generating similar learning environments. This work is the continuing effort of a multidisciplinary team comprising subject matter experts, learning design architects and Web-based tools developers at the University of Melbourne and Digital Learning Systems P/L in Australia. Evaluation data from a case study application of this collaborative learning design has revealed a heightened and a positive disposition among students towards the subject matter content.
Pedagogical Foundations of Web-based Simulations in Political Science. This paper outlines and discusses some of the pedagogical foundations of an innovative “learning architecture” which combines the power of goal-based learning, role playing, the capabilities of the World Wide Web and the traditional method of lectures and tutorials. It outlines the continuing effort of a multidisciplinary team at the University of Melbourne and Digital Learning Systems P/L in designing a learning architecture to facilitate learning and teaching in political science and beyond – especially for study domains that involve learning about the organizational and communicative life in and between societies.
What this paper aims to demonstrate is the way this learning architecture is used to achieve pedagogical goals in Political Science using the example of a World Politics course and the potential it has for other social science courses.

Web-based simulations as a teaching tool in Political Science: The “World Politics in Transition” experience at The University of Melbourne
This is written before the full integration using Role Play Simulation Generator. This paper explores some of the inherent potentialities in CMC via the Internet and the WWW, for application in educational practices. It will seek to understand how these potentialities differ from the traditional oral and print mediums used in teaching practices and how they influence the learning process. More specifically, the paper will evaluate simulations as a teaching tool, particularly in political science, by reporting on and assessing the simulation used in the ‘World Politics in Transition’ course in the Political Science Department at Melbourne University.

Experiences in Teaching Middle East Politics via Internet-based Role-Play Simulations by Andrew Vincent & John Shepherd
In this article we describe how the Internet and the World Wide Web have been used to add a new dimension to the teaching of Middle East Politics. Students carry out extended role-play simulations, via the mechanisms of email and chat-rooms, to conduct Middle East diplomacy. In the process, they learn about both the specifics of Middle East politics and international relations in general. Student evaluation of the simulation has indicated that they provide an effective learning environment, providing both motivation to study and “hands-on experience” in the practice of international relations.
Web-based Simulations As Teaching And Learning Media In Political Science
Simulating the Art of the Possible by Robyn Maher
In this article is recovered via the WayBack Machine. Through a creative partnership between a political scientist and a computer scientist, Middle East politics are now brought to life for students at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, and for their counterparts at other universities by harnessing the power of the Internet to conduct role-play simulations.

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