Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Daniel Salée (Concordia)
Simulations as Experiential Learning in Global Politics: Veronica Kitchen (University of Waterloo) Abstract: This paper analyses student reflections from two cohorts of an Introduction to International Relations class to answer two questions: “What do students think they learn from games and simulations?” and relatedly, “Can games and simulations be used to teach affective concepts important to the study of international relations, such as stress, trust, fear, and glory?”. After the first cohort of students completed the course, I concluded that they mostly reported learning theoretical concepts (such as realism, balance of power, comparative advantage, etc.) In the second iteration of the course, I tried to cue more affective reflection in two ways: first, by changing the assignment prompts, and second, by asking the students to write short, ‘hot take’ reflections in class, before we debriefed the game or simulation. This paper compares the results from the analysis of year 1 and year 2, in order to see whether different cues can help to elicit different perceptions of what students learned.
Using a Table Top Role Playing Game Assignment to Enhance Student Learning: Allen Sens (University of British Columbia), David Ng (University of British Columbia), Lauryn Rohde (University of British Columbia), Jennifer Luu (University of British Columbia) Abstract: Does the use of table-top Role Playing Games (ttRPG) enhance the student learning experience? Our paper contributes to a small but growing literature on the effectiveness of ttRPG design and play as a means of achieving course learning outcomes. Our case study and survey results are drawn from our use of a ttRPG in our second year, team-taught, interdisciplinary course on “Global Issues in the Arts and Sciences”. This course integrates concepts across political and social science and physical and life science. In the literature, ttRPG assignments are credited with facilitating a longer lasting understanding of material because their design and play requires students to actively engage with the subject matter, and because students feel an intrinsic motivation to succeed in their roles. In our paper we emphasize the learning value of game creation over gameplay. When students create the games they play, the creative process deepens the learning value of the assignment. Our ttRPG assignment requires students to create a game situated in a location on a future earth of 2116, based on evidence of projected climate change impacts and developments in genomic sciences. To determine the impact of our ttRPG assignment on the student learning experience, we conducted surveys of the students. The survey results suggest the ttRPG assignment was successful in enhancing student learning outcomes. However, games are considered engaging and fun and this may exert a positive bias on learning impact responses. Overall, our findings suggest that ttRPGs have a positive influence on student learning outcomes.
Faculty Advisor for a Model United Nations Conference: 7 Lessons Learned from Practice: Mark Williams (Vancouver Island University) Abstract: A Model United Nations (MUN) conference is one of Political Science’s traditional formats for active learning and a defining event for many undergraduate students and high school students. This paper identifies seven lessons learned from collaborating with undergraduate student organizers to deliver MUN conferences at a university campus on mid-Vancouver Island between 2015-2019. The connecting theme of these lessons is a consideration of achieving balance between the two roles of the participating faculty member as both the authoritative decision-maker, and that of a delegating supervisor providing oversight and allowing students the freedom to assume the responsibilities of serving as secretariat or as delegate.
“Indigenous Content Syllabus Materials” and Political Science: What Are the Implications of Indigenizing and Decolonizing Introductory Courses?: Frances Widdowson (Mount Royal University) Abstract: On September 24, 2018, the Canadian Political Science Reconciliation Committee released a document entitled “Indigenous Content Syllabus Materials: A Resource for Political Science Instructors in Canada”. This document has been created because it is maintained that universities have “reproduced colonial narratives”, and political science is believed to have contributed to this by perpetuating the “unselfconscious triumphalism of settler narratives…”. Political scientists, the document argues, should become involved in “turning things around to make things right” by “[envisioning] new political possibilities through engagement with Indigenous scholarship, perspectives and content resource [sic]”. This paper will analyze the first part of this document – “Key Issues and Debates” – and give special attention to the recommended sources for “Pedagogies and Epistemologies”. It will investigate what these pedagogies and epistemologies are, and how they differ from those that have been historically used in the discipline of political science. More specifically, the paper will explore what it means to “[engage] Indigenous political traditions from an internal perspective”. There also will be an analysis of how the materials recommended reconceptualize some of the key terms in political science – democracy, political culture, the state, sovereignty, citizenship, nation, law, and constitutionalism. As concepts often form the basis of introductory political science courses, understanding how these will be transformed will assist academics who are trying to understand the implications of indigenization and decolonization.