Evaluating the IRiA Simulation

Today is another guest post from Tricia Stapleton, a follow-up to her post from last week:

Evaluation ChecklistLast year, I began using Brock Tessman’s International Relations in Action: A World Politics Simulation in my Topics in International Politics course. I’m slated to teach the course at least once a year for the foreseeable future, and I plan on keeping the IRiA simulation as a central part of the class.

When I first used the IRiA simulation last spring, I created an evaluation for students to complete after the sim’s last round. The evaluation focused on the details of the game, with questions related to the assignments, structure of the rounds, and rules of play. I have been working with a group of WPI faculty on tweaking the game so that game-play better links to course content.

The next version of the course will allow more time for debriefing with a class period or two between rounds of play. The assignments will also be different, occurring throughout the course of game-play, rather than book-ending the simulation’s six scenarios. Of course, the assignments will be my main assessments of student learning. But I also want to students to evaluate the simulation once it has ended, and I’d like that evaluation to somehow capture what students are learning from it. I’m not sure, however, what to include in the evaluation! The evaluation form that I used last spring is here. The purpose of using IRiA is to get students to apply the content in practice. I’m looking for feedback on what kinds of questions might illuminate whether this is happening. Should there be “benchmarking” questions along the way? Should it be some sort of quiz at the end of the term? Suggestions welcomed!

2 Replies to “Evaluating the IRiA Simulation”

  1. One thing I notice right away: most of the items on the evaluation are about the structure/organization of the game rather than what students might have learned from applying concepts while playing it. Since you have feedback from one class already on their thoughts about different preparation exercises, for example, it might be safe to drop these items from the survey, or at least condense them.

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