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Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education
Unformatted Document Text:  Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education lack of technology: “The technology issue was definitely mostly to blame…” Another person observed, “At the Casowasco retreat, however, technology was prevented from playing its role due to infrastructure issues. This not only slowed down the communication process, which reduced team efficiency as it also prevented participants from gathering official information about the institution’s procedural matters…” Some however, seemed to be relieved to not have the Internet: “I wish I had been able to do additional research as the simulation progressed, but I also saw the downsides of being too dependent on technology.” Participants were divided in their opinions about the suitability of the camp at Lake Casowasco. Some of them enjoyed getting away from the University. “Staying in a camp area for a night was very beneficial and even accelerated the simulation—even though there were problems with technology.” “Being at an external, neutral location helped in negotiations and meeting people, and the openness of the camp helped in communication.” Others, however, were less enthusiastic: “…the trip to Cosawasco Bible camp was utterly pointless. The lack of proper amenities greatly complicated the simulation and prevented the students…from entertaining themselves.” A number of participants made observations about the role of the faculty in the simulation. Some of them thought that the “presence of the professors was very valuable. We were lucky enough to use their knowledge a couple of times.” On the other hand, most participants who made comments about the faculty were disappointed that the faculty did not provide more feedback: “It would have been better for us, if the professors could have given us more active and direct instructions and feedback, as well as monitoring our decision-making process and leadership.” “I feel the professors should give feedback and suggestions to individual students and to the team at the end of the day.” Applying the Lessons Learned Although students were critical of aspects of the simulation design and implementation, they were willing to “cut us some slack.” A number of them said that they were confident that in subsequent years we would continue to improve the Capstone. In order to meet their expectations, we must draw lessons from last year’s Capstone and apply them to the design of subsequent simulation exercises. Here are the five most important lessons that emerged from our analysis: 1. Because this exercise is offered as a Capstone for the Masters Program, all students must be given an opportunity to become involved to the best of their abilities. Unlike last year, the topic and rules of the simulation should not set up artificial constraints on participation. Hence, we have chosen for the May 2008 simulation a topic that should be involving for everyone: We are going to run a simulation of the United Nations Climate 13

Authors: Bonham, G. Matthew.
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Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education
lack of technology: “The technology issue was definitely mostly to blame…”
Another person observed, “At the Casowasco retreat, however, technology was
prevented from playing its role due to infrastructure issues. This not only slowed
down the communication process, which reduced team efficiency as it also
prevented participants from gathering official information about the institution’s
procedural matters…” Some however, seemed to be relieved to not have the
Internet: “I wish I had been able to do additional research as the simulation
progressed, but I also saw the downsides of being too dependent on technology.”
Participants were divided in their opinions about the suitability of the camp at
Lake Casowasco. Some of them enjoyed getting away from the University.
“Staying in a camp area for a night was very beneficial and even accelerated the
simulation—even though there were problems with technology.” “Being at an
external, neutral location helped in negotiations and meeting people, and the
openness of the camp helped in communication.” Others, however, were less
enthusiastic: “…the trip to Cosawasco Bible camp was utterly pointless. The
lack of proper amenities greatly complicated the simulation and prevented the
students…from entertaining themselves.”
A number of participants made observations about the role of the faculty in the
simulation. Some of them thought that the “presence of the professors was very
valuable. We were lucky enough to use their knowledge a couple of times.” On
the other hand, most participants who made comments about the faculty were
disappointed that the faculty did not provide more feedback: “It would have been
better for us, if the professors could have given us more active and direct
instructions and feedback, as well as monitoring our decision-making process
and leadership.” “I feel the professors should give feedback and suggestions to
individual students and to the team at the end of the day.”
Applying the Lessons Learned
Although students were critical of aspects of the simulation design and
implementation, they were willing to “cut us some slack.” A number of them said
that they were confident that in subsequent years we would continue to improve
the Capstone. In order to meet their expectations, we must draw lessons from
last year’s Capstone and apply them to the design of subsequent simulation
exercises. Here are the five most important lessons that emerged from our
analysis:
1. Because this exercise is offered as a Capstone for the Masters Program,
all students must be given an opportunity to become involved to the best
of their abilities. Unlike last year, the topic and rules of the simulation
should not set up artificial constraints on participation. Hence, we have
chosen for the May 2008 simulation a topic that should be involving for
everyone: We are going to run a simulation of the United Nations Climate
13


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