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Information Technology and International Relations: Using On Line, Interactive Simulations to Transcend Time, Space, and Attitudes
Unformatted Document Text:  To further encourage realistic activity, several representatives in the Middle East served as “international journalists.” They commented on the moves and the overall progress of the simulation by posting short, four to five paragraph editorials on the web site, using the perspectives and styles of influential Arab and Israeli media. At the completion of the simulation, students again completed the survey, responded in an open-ended essay, and joined in an enthusiastic in-class debriefing of their experience. Preliminary Findings and Suggestions The survey used a scale of opposites constructed to indicate trends in changed affect toward the ethno-national groups that students simulated. (1) Student responses were tabulated and examined to see if they reflected any trend. Table 3.1 The resulting descriptive data is merely suggestive of trends in a very limited way. Only 90 students were involved. Of this number only 12 represented Israel and 60 the Arab states. (2) Their responses represent an aggregate group of 72 students surveyed over three quarters, further clouding the survey. To reach any meaningful quantitative conclusions about changing participant affect and increased empathy, the study would require a more complex and extensive research design with a greater number of participants and a control group that did not experience the simulation; a more detailed survey instrument; and statistical analysis showing the changes to be significant. Despite these difficulties in research design and data collection, however, the results suggest that there was a trend in which the participants changed their views toward the countries or ethno-national groups they represented, as table 2 indicates: Table 3.2 The averaged responses of these students representing Arab countries seem to show that the participants viewed the Arabs as less aggressive, hostile, and warlike after the simulation. Table 3.3 Many fewer in numbers, the participants representing Israel also show a trend in attitude change toward Israel’s behavior in the Middle East. After the simulation, students saw Israelis as less hostile and expansionist, more peace loving and defensive. Two qualitative measures helped overcome the shortcomings of quantitative analysis, and both show similar trends toward greater affect and empathy. First, participants discussed their experience and reactions to the simulation during an in-class debriefing session. These were lively, inclusive discussions in each of the three classes where students reported increased empathy for their simulated countries as well as better understanding of all states in the region. The only negative feedback was a few students’ complaints

Authors: Stover, William.
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To further encourage realistic activity, several representatives in the Middle East served
as “international journalists.” They commented on the moves and the overall progress of
the simulation by posting short, four to five paragraph editorials on the web site, using
the perspectives and styles of influential Arab and Israeli media. At the completion of the
simulation, students again completed the survey, responded in an open-ended essay, and
joined in an enthusiastic in-class debriefing of their experience.
Preliminary Findings and Suggestions
The survey used a scale of opposites constructed to indicate trends in changed affect
toward the ethno-national groups that students simulated. (1) Student responses were
tabulated and examined to see if they reflected any trend.
Table 3.1

The resulting descriptive data is merely suggestive of trends in a very limited way. Only
90 students were involved. Of this number only 12 represented Israel and 60 the Arab
states. (2) Their responses represent an aggregate group of 72 students surveyed over
three quarters, further clouding the survey. To reach any meaningful quantitative
conclusions about changing participant affect and increased empathy, the study would
require a more complex and extensive research design with a greater number of
participants and a control group that did not experience the simulation; a more detailed
survey instrument; and statistical analysis showing the changes to be significant.

Despite these difficulties in research design and data collection, however, the results
suggest that there was a trend in which the participants changed their views toward the
countries or ethno-national groups they represented, as table 2 indicates:
Table 3.2
The averaged responses of these students representing Arab countries seem to show that
the participants viewed the Arabs as less aggressive, hostile, and warlike after the
simulation.

Table 3.3

Many fewer in numbers, the participants representing Israel also show a trend in attitude
change toward Israel’s behavior in the Middle East. After the simulation, students saw
Israelis as less hostile and expansionist, more peace loving and defensive.

Two qualitative measures helped overcome the shortcomings of quantitative analysis, and
both show similar trends toward greater affect and empathy. First, participants discussed
their experience and reactions to the simulation during an in-class debriefing session.
These were lively, inclusive discussions in each of the three classes where students
reported increased empathy for their simulated countries as well as better understanding
of all states in the region. The only negative feedback was a few students’ complaints


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