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Collaborative Learning in Course Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  Van Vechten, 23 I. MEMBER PROFILE / AUTOBIOGRAPHY / LEARNING YOUR ROLE Due 10/3/05 By the third week of class, you will have been assigned to play the role of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. To ease into your role, your first assignment is to draft a profile of the person you will portray, including an overview of the district he or she represents, and you will conceive of strategy for playing that character. Learn all you can about your character. A thorough investigation should yield insight into personality, views, and interests and positions across a range of issues. Your goal is to learn how this person would likely act when faced with the dilemmas you will encounter in the simulation. To do this effectively, you will also need to know what the district is like, who the Congress member’s supporters are and have been (think campaign contributors), and who the voters are. A good way to organize the paper would be first to describe the district and then to describe the member, focusing on how district composition has influenced the Congress member’s behavior. The paper should be written as an autobiography; that is, as if the member wrote it him or herself (in the first person: “My district is composed primarily of farmlands…”). This paper requires a substantial amount of library research. You can do a lot from your home computer, but critical information is available only in books or journals in the library. You are therefore required to use resources from the old brick-and-mortar building as well as the Internet. The second part of the paper should describe your approach to legislating as a member of Congress. In other words, how will you be an effective representative? Outline your goals and how you will pursue them, keeping in mind that all of this must be as realistic as possible. If the member read your paper, he or she should be able to recognize himself or herself in your strategies and choices. Checklist for information that must be included: 1. The member’s personal background (age/DOB, education, economic status, occupation, partisan affiliation or partisan history, etc.) 2. Member’s political experience, including attempts to run for Congress and years in office3. Location, size, population, demographics of the Congressional district - socio-economics of the district: main industry or enterprises, average income - Political sense of the district, including a record of the vote for President in the last election (Mostly one party? Split?) 4. Member’s relevant leadership experience as a member of Congress, if any5. Number of D.C. and district staff members6. Ideological positioning; Roll Call voting patterns (ADA, ACU, CC voting scores can help here)7. Member’s primary concerns or issue positions, including a small set of issues that would be key to running and winning in your district 8. Legislative style, or any information you can find on “homestyles” or “hillstyles”9. Electoral setting and outcome of previous election (breakdown of the vote, beat an incumbent, unopposed, etc.) 10. An outline of your legislative goals for the simulation exercise, given the committee and/or party to which you have been assigned This checklist is meant to be a guide for writing a cohesive essay (don’t just answer this numbered list). Profiles must be at least five pages in length (1500 words minimum), but no more than eight. The more detail you uncover, the better prepared you will be to portray the member. You should use all the major sources of information about Congress, most of which are listed in this syllabus. A successful research attempt will include library sources. Also, ATTACH your “Member Profile Worksheet” (p.29) to your finished paper. Please note that you MUST document (CITE) all sources.

Authors: Van Vechten, Renee.
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Van Vechten, 23
I. MEMBER PROFILE / AUTOBIOGRAPHY / LEARNING YOUR ROLE
Due 10/3/05
By the third week of class, you will have been assigned to play the role of a member of the U.S. House of
Representatives. To ease into your role, your first assignment is to draft a profile of the person you will portray,
including an overview of the district he or she represents, and you will conceive of strategy for playing that
character.
Learn all you can about your character. A thorough investigation should yield insight into personality, views,
and interests and positions across a range of issues. Your goal is to learn how this person would likely act when
faced with the dilemmas you will encounter in the simulation. To do this effectively, you will also need to know
what the district is like, who the Congress member’s supporters are and have been (think campaign contributors),
and who the voters are. A good way to organize the paper would be first to describe the district and then to describe
the member, focusing on how district composition has influenced the Congress member’s behavior. The paper
should be written as an autobiography; that is, as if the member wrote it him or herself (in the first person: “My
district is composed primarily of farmlands…”).
This paper requires a substantial amount of library research. You can do a lot from your home computer, but
critical information is available only in books or journals in the library. You are therefore required to use resources
from the old brick-and-mortar building as well as the Internet.
The second part of the paper should describe your approach to legislating as a member of Congress. In other
words, how will you be an effective representative? Outline your goals and how you will pursue them, keeping in
mind that all of this must be as realistic as possible. If the member read your paper, he or she should be able to
recognize himself or herself in your strategies and choices.
Checklist for information that must be included:
1. The member’s personal background (age/DOB, education, economic status, occupation, partisan affiliation
or partisan history, etc.)
2. Member’s political experience, including attempts to run for Congress and years in office
3. Location, size, population, demographics of the Congressional district
-
socio-economics of the district: main industry or enterprises, average income
-
Political sense of the district, including a record of the vote for President in the last election
(Mostly one party? Split?)
4. Member’s relevant leadership experience as a member of Congress, if any
5. Number of D.C. and district staff members
6. Ideological positioning; Roll Call voting patterns (ADA, ACU, CC voting scores can help here)
7. Member’s primary concerns or issue positions, including a small set of issues that would be key to running
and winning in your district
8. Legislative style, or any information you can find on “homestyles” or “hillstyles”
9. Electoral setting and outcome of previous election (breakdown of the vote, beat an incumbent, unopposed,
etc.)
10.
An outline of your legislative goals for the simulation exercise, given the committee and/or party to which
you have been assigned
This checklist is meant to be a guide for writing a cohesive essay (don’t just answer this numbered list). Profiles
must be at least five pages in length (1500 words minimum), but no more than eight. The more detail you uncover,
the better prepared you will be to portray the member. You should use all the major sources of information about
Congress, most of which are listed in this syllabus. A successful research attempt will include library sources. Also,
ATTACH your “Member Profile Worksheet” (p.29) to your finished paper. Please note that you MUST document
(CITE) all sources.


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