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The Iraq War Simulation: An Experiment in Progress
Unformatted Document Text:  As one can see, I have “frozen in time” some of the aspects of the simulation to choose Actors that have taken strong, clear and consistent stands on Iraq, and which have plenty of material already on them (in some cases years of it). There are advantages to using current actors (say, the new president of France or new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq) but overall, my method seemed to allow the students to use clearer archetypes with less subtlety in the simulations, which seemed to me more crucial than being totally up to date. Finally, if I have more students per class I can readily add other important actors as needed (Russian President Vladimir Putin, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, American General David H. Petraeus, American Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, etc.). As others have argued, assigning the students randomly to the various actors seems best. (Smith & Boyer, 1996) This has the obvious advantage of forcing students to take on possibly unfamiliar and different political and/or ideological positions, which is partially what these simulations are all about. Plus, the one disadvantage of this method, that students strong in one area or another will not be able to utilize said knowledge, is minimized in my specific situation since most of my political science students have very little, detailed information on Iraq or 10

Authors: Kolasa, Thomas.
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As one can see, I have “frozen in time” some of the aspects
of the simulation to choose Actors that have taken strong,
clear and consistent stands on Iraq, and which have plenty
of material already on them (in some cases years of it).
There are advantages to using current actors (say, the new
president of France or new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq) but
overall, my method seemed to allow the students to use
clearer archetypes with less subtlety in the simulations,
which seemed to me more crucial than being totally up to
date. Finally, if I have more students per class I can
readily add other important actors as needed (Russian
President Vladimir Putin, Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, American General David H. Petraeus, American
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, etc.).
As others have argued, assigning the students randomly
to the various actors seems best. (Smith & Boyer, 1996)
This has the obvious advantage of forcing students to take
on possibly unfamiliar and different political and/or
ideological positions, which is partially what these
simulations are all about. Plus, the one disadvantage of
this method, that students strong in one area or another
will not be able to utilize said knowledge, is minimized in
my specific situation since most of my political science
students have very little, detailed information on Iraq or
10


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