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Using Current Events to Develop Classroom Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  4. How did it feel to represent the “bad guys”? 5. What do you think the actual outcome of the Juba round of negotiations will be? What do you think it should be? 6. How might we be able to change the actors’ utilities in order to change the outcome here? Using approach 1 requires that the instructor either be engaged in research that has some bearing on current events, or is willing to undertake research for the course that will not have additional research applicability. However, this does not mean that current events must be the main focus of the research agenda. Take, for instance, a research agenda focused on nuclear deterrence. There are a number of excellent readings on the theoretical and actual history of nuclear deterrence that students could read as background material. The instructor could then present the class with a simulation that allows them to act out the role of a state contemplating developing a nuclear weapons program, or a rogue state that possesses nuclear weapons, or a state attempting to deter others with its own nuclear weapons. Recent news stories about North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan, could easily provide the current information to carry out the simulation and developing it will not take the instructor too far afield. Approach 2: Use Student Research to Design a Simulation This approach requires making the simulation a much more central part of the course and it is best used in upper division courses. Although many would agree that in-class simulations are an extremely valuable learning tool in the classroom, they are also very time consuming and require a great deal of effort to pull them off successfully . Thus, the heart of the second approach is utilizing the time you have in the classroom, as well as the skills of the students and the course assignments, in order to research and design the simulation. This approach has the additional benefit of helping students develop research skills and it provides the continuity of 6

Authors: Glazier, Rebecca.
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4. How did it feel to represent the “bad guys”?
5. What do you think the actual outcome of the Juba round of negotiations will be? What do
you think it should be?
6. How might we be able to change the actors’ utilities in order to change the outcome here?
Using approach 1 requires that the instructor either be engaged in research that has some
bearing on current events, or is willing to undertake research for the course that will not have
additional research applicability. However, this does not mean that current events must be the
main focus of the research agenda. Take, for instance, a research agenda focused on nuclear
deterrence. There are a number of excellent readings on the theoretical and actual history of
nuclear deterrence that students could read as background material. The instructor could then
present the class with a simulation that allows them to act out the role of a state contemplating
developing a nuclear weapons program, or a rogue state that possesses nuclear weapons, or a
state attempting to deter others with its own nuclear weapons. Recent news stories about North
Korea, Iran, and Pakistan, could easily provide the current information to carry out the
simulation and developing it will not take the instructor too far afield.
Approach 2: Use Student Research to Design a Simulation
This approach requires making the simulation a much more central part of the course and
it is best used in upper division courses. Although many would agree that in-class simulations
are an extremely valuable learning tool in the classroom, they are also very time consuming and
require a great deal of effort to pull them off successfully . Thus, the heart of the second
approach is utilizing the time you have in the classroom, as well as the skills of the students and
the course assignments, in order to research and design the simulation. This approach has the
additional benefit of helping students develop research skills and it provides the continuity of
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