Simulations and Serious Gaming - Resources for Design and Use in the Higher Education Classroom

Resources in Game Design/Serious Gaming

Michigan State University Serious Game Design Track.
This site describes MSU’s new track in TISM. The homepage includes information on MSU game design programs, the Meaningful Play Conference, interviews with alumni designing serious games, and other materials of interest to educators in the field. See also the TISM Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at for further information on games and gaming, including projects, research, and seminars.

The Game Design Initiative at Cornell University.

This page provides information on Cornell’s Game Design Initiative, plus such resources as their game development partners and the GameX archive.

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Resources for Using Simulations/Games/ Role Playing in the Higher Education Classroom

Suggestions for Running Simulations/Games in the Classroom (from Simulation and Gaming and the Teaching of Sociology, 6th edition, 1997, compiled by Richard L. Dukes.
Some general suggestions for best practices in using simulations/gaming/role playing in higher education classrooms.

Simulations and Gaming for Experiential Learning (University of Tennessee, Knoxville Teaching and Learning Center).
Provides links to numerous sites with information on using simulations and games in higher education.

Teaching with Simulations (The SERC Portal for Educators).
The What, Why, and How of using simulations in teaching. Includes examples, mainly from introductory and upper level Economics courses.

How to Do Simulation Games (Simon Usherwood, University of Surrey, with support from the UK Higher Education Academy).
A work in progress on using simulations, especially in political and social science classrooms.  Presently offers how tos and examples of four simulations in Politics.

Simulation Technologies in Higher Education:  Uses, Trends, and Implications,” David A. Damassa and Toby D. Sitko  (Educause Center for Applied Research, Research Bulletin 3, 2010).
This report sites the factors contributing to increased use of simulation technologies in higher education and argues that these are “valuable tools for effective competency-based education.” Describes numerous simulation technologies and their uses.

North American Simulation and Gaming Association.
A network of professionals dedicated to using games and simulations to improve learning. Offers a list of 15 reasons to use games to teach, a discussion forum, a newsletter with archives back to 1998, and an annual conference.

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Using Simulations and Gaming in International Relations

PAXsims:  Simulations; Conflict, Peacebuilding and Development; Training and Education (editors Rex Brynen, McGill University and Gary Milante, WorldBank).
The PaxSims site “is devoted to the development and effective use of simulation-based learning concerning issues of conflict, peacebuilding, and development in fragile and conflict-affected states.” Contains examples and discussions of simulations/games on these issues, archives, links to journals and periodicals, and web resources. A rich site.

See  for a bibliography of articles and websites with further ideas and examples of simulations in these areas.

The following three articles by Carolyn M Shaw describe and evaluate simulations and role playing in the International Relations classroom:

Designing and Using Simulations and Role-Play Exercises,”
Carolyn M. Shaw (The International Studies Encyclopedia, ed., Robert A. Denemark, 2010).
An extensive article covering background, definitions, benefits, assessments, and example simulations in such areas as U.S. foreign policy making processes. Bibliography of related articles and websites.

Using Role-Play Scenarios in the IR Classroom:  An Examination of Exercises on Peacekeeping Operations and Foreign Policy Decision Making,” Carolyn M. Shaw, Wichita State University (from International Studies Perspectives No. 5, 2004).
This paper describes and examines the value of two role-play exercises in an introduction to international relations course.  Full text of both exercises plus assessments.

Simulating Negotiations in a Three-Way Civil War,” Carolyn M. Shaw, Wichita State University (from Journal of Political Science Education, No. 2, 2006).
Full description of a role play scenario plus analysis of its value.

The following sites focus on Teaching Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Strategies using simulations and gaming:

Tools and Support for Conflict Studies Instructors (Wayne State University with a FIPSE grant).
Numerous links to materials for teaching conflict management and negotiation.  Includes sample syllabi collections; course development guidelines; role plays, simulations, case studies, and multimedia tools.

Campus Conflict Resolution Resources (Wayne State University with a FIPSE grant).
Portal to a virtual campus providing multiple resources for conflict management in higher education.

The CNCR Swap Meet Sourcebook: 35 Exercises for Teaching Conflict Management, Lin Inlow, Editor.
Thirty-five college educators present exercises they use to teach conflict management.

Associations and Journals with Resources for Simulations and Gaming in International Relations and Related Areas

Active Learning in International Affairs, ALIAS, (a section of the International Studies Association, ISA).
A guest login permits access to a Web Archive with lesson plans, class activities, syllabi, assignments, and web links of interest to international affairs educators.

American Political Science Association Conference Papers.
This site contains archived conference papers from the APSA Teaching and Learning conferences.  Papers posted include simulations and role-play exercises.

International Studies Perspectives.
Articles on pedagogy include simulations and role-play exercises.

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Using Simulations/Gaming in College/University History Classes

Gaming the Past:  Historical Simulation Games in the Classroom (Jeremiah McCall).
This repository of simulations for teaching history offers links to classroom simulations, computer games, sim design, theory, and practice. Despite its intent for high school history classes, the site offers ideas for history educators at any level.
Here’s another list of simulation resources for teaching history.  Skim down through the initial paragraphs to find sections with numerous links for higher education history classes.

Columbia American History Online.
Fifteen classroom simulations on American History range from Bacon’s Rebellion to Vietnam.  Also check out this site’s Interactive Learning Tools and E-Seminars.

The Great War in the Classroom,” Laura Cruz, Western Carolina University. Academic Exchange Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 1, Spring 2004. 
The author describes a successful WWI simulation game she designed for Western Civilization II.

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Using Simulations/Gaming in Teaching Sociology

Simulation and Gaming and the Teaching of Sociology, 6th edition, American Sociological Association, 1997, compiled by Richard L. Dukes . 

This site provides an annotated bibliography compiled by Richard L. Dukes, Colorado University, of mainly non-Internet-based materials related to using simulations and gaming in sociology. Includes books, articles, periodicals, directories, Internet sites, and centers. Click on “Findings” for a detailed list of suggestions for running simulations/games in the classroom.

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Using Simulations for Teaching Political Science

Gaming Political Science (Kansas State University, John Filter, Dept. of Political Science).
This site provides links to over 250 published articles, books, and conference papers on the use of simulations, games, and role-playing exercises in political science courses. Well organized into such areas as American Politics, International Relations, and Comparative Government.

The American Political Science Association Site for Simulations for Teaching Political Science.
Links to a dozen sites with either information or actual online experiences of simulations in the area of political science.

Winning the Seat: A Congressional Election Simulation,” Jeffrey L. Bernstein, Eastern Michigan University.
A rationale, description, and complete detailed guide to running this simulation game in your college or university classroom.

Creating Simulations for Political Science Education,” Victor Asal, State University of New York, Albany, and Elizabeth L. Blake, University of Maryland.
This paper discusses the opportunities offered students with simulation-based teaching. It provides a detailed guide to all aspects of designing simulations for Political Science courses. At the authors have created an on-line Simulation Builder as a tool for developing simulations based on their guidelines. The ICONS Simulation Builder is free of charge for designing simulations, but there are fees for running a simulation in the ICONSnet simulation environment.

And for your own professional growth, look at some of the offerings on simulations and gaming at ICONS:

International Communication & Negotiation Simulations (ICONS Project) at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Role-play simulations for online and face-to-face use in education, training, research, and the study of public policy.

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