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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 Introduction In two previous papers, we reported on our efforts to encourage active learning in a sixteen-month professional MA in International Relations Program at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. The first paper in this series described an effort to promote graduate education teaching by using resources that capture the interactivity and de-centering properties of the Web. Specifically, we examined the effectiveness of combining Web-based text chat and hypertext authoring with videoconferencing to create “a new learning environment where students in the United States collaborate with their colleagues abroad to address current policy issues 1 Although these efforts to apply digital technology to promote active learning were successful, many students did not take full advantage of the opportunities that were offered. The redesigned courses, workshops, and virtual conferences that were part of this effort did not empower students to take control of their education and “disrupt the traditional relationship between the active teacher and the passive learner.” ”Our efforts were not transformative because they did not change the way students viewed their role, and they did not empower our students with respect to the subject matter…” 2 The second paper in this series described a further effort to move from a “teacher-oriented” to a “student-oriented” learning environment through the use of “collaborative hypertext.” For this exercise students were trained in the use of a Web-based environment for the organization, storage and retrieval of hypertext documents and images. Over the course of the semester students worked in teams to build underlying conceptual frameworks for their subject areas and to retrieve information to enrich these frameworks with descriptive materials. The results of questionnaire surveys of the students suggest that the exercise did help to create a more student-centered environment. Nevertheless, approximately one third of the students, especially those students who were uncomfortable with computer technology, did not benefit much from the exercise. 3 Professionalizing the International Relations Program 1 "Learning Through Digital Technology: Text Chat, Video-Conferencing, and Hypertext" (with Jeffrey W. Seifert) in L. Kuzma, J. Lantis, and J. Boehrer (eds.), Active Learning in International Studies for the 21st Century, Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner, 2000, 201-217. 2 Bonham and Seifert, 2000, p.59. 3 "The Disruptive and Transformative Potential of Hypertext in the Classroom: Implications for Active Learning" (co-authored with Jeffrey W. Seifert), International Studies Perspectives, 1 (2000), 57-74. 2

Authors: Bonham, G. Matthew.
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Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education
Introduction
In two previous papers, we reported on our efforts to encourage active learning in
a sixteen-month professional MA in International Relations Program at the
Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
The first paper in this series described an effort to promote graduate education
teaching by using resources that capture the interactivity and de-centering
properties of the Web. Specifically, we examined the effectiveness of combining
Web-based text chat and hypertext authoring with videoconferencing to create “a
new learning environment where students in the United States collaborate with
their colleagues abroad to address current policy issues
Although these efforts
to apply digital technology to promote active learning were successful, many
students did not take full advantage of the opportunities that were offered. The
redesigned courses, workshops, and virtual conferences that were part of this
effort did not empower students to take control of their education and “disrupt the
traditional relationship between the active teacher and the passive learner.” ”Our
efforts were not transformative because they did not change the way students
viewed their role, and they did not empower our students with respect to the
subject matter…”
The second paper in this series described a further effort to move from a
“teacher-oriented” to a “student-oriented” learning environment through the use
of “collaborative hypertext.” For this exercise students were trained in the use of
a Web-based environment for the organization, storage and retrieval of hypertext
documents and images. Over the course of the semester students worked in
teams to build underlying conceptual frameworks for their subject areas and to
retrieve information to enrich these frameworks with descriptive materials. The
results of questionnaire surveys of the students suggest that the exercise did
help to create a more student-centered environment. Nevertheless,
approximately one third of the students, especially those students who were
uncomfortable with computer technology, did not benefit much from the
exercise.
Professionalizing the International Relations Program
1
"Learning Through Digital Technology: Text Chat, Video-Conferencing, and Hypertext" (with
Jeffrey W. Seifert) in L. Kuzma, J. Lantis, and J. Boehrer (eds.), Active Learning in International
Studies for the 21st Century, Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner, 2000, 201-217.
2
Bonham and Seifert, 2000, p.59.
3
"The Disruptive and Transformative Potential of Hypertext in the Classroom: Implications for
Active Learning" (co-authored with Jeffrey W. Seifert), International Studies Perspectives, 1
(2000), 57-74.
2


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