Professors Reflect on LEAP into Action Grant
Last Spring, Dr. Bibek Chand and Dr. Dwight Wilson were awarded the LEAP into Action Grant. Their LEAP project, titled “Gamifying Global Issues: Integrating Experiential Learning by Simulating International Relations,” was deployed in the Spring 2021 semester. The LEAP into Action is a state-wide initiative to provide students with an inclusive liberal education in a complex and diverse world. LEAP into Action supports impactful changes to coursework by supporting faculty in implementing High Impact Practices within their classroom pedagogy. LEAP grants can range from $1,000 – $5,000 based on the scope of the project and potential impact to UNG’s learning community.The pair prepared their proposal centered on LEAP into Action’s overarching goals while marrying them with their own pedagogical discussions that they had prior to applying.
The Dr.’s LEAP project titled “Gamifying Global Issues: Integrating Experiential Learning by Simulating International Relations” was deployed in Spring 2021. The simulation that was used is called “Statecraft” and it complemented their Global Issues class. The simulation was a course of 20 students, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to move the simulation to a largely online format.
Dr.’s reported that the simulation went smoothly and students were able to connect some of the conceptual frameworks were discussed in the sessions.
“Students were broken into four groups; each group represented a country. Based on their group decisions, students chose their type of government (democracy, constitutional monarchy, communist totalitarian, or military dictatorship) and the name of their country. As such, students were able to get an insight into the opportunities/constraints that came the type of government they chose. Students were also able to utilize theories of International Relations such as Realism and Liberalism to assess their behavior in the simulation,” said Dr. Chand.
At the end of the class, the professors asked students to share what worked and what didn’t work in relation to the simulation. A student noted that the simulation “taught me that making international decisions is a very complex process”. Another student noted that during the simulation, their group “tried to use our own version of the UN to resolve disputes” highlighting the connection they made between their actions in the simulation and the importance of diplomacy in international politics. A different student stated that “even though the simulation never got too dramatic, it definitively taught me all the different requirements that are needed to protect a state.”
Dr. Bibek Chand said, “Overall, students expressed satisfaction with the simulation but also stated that they wanted more face-to-face interaction with different groups of peers. Students were able to connect materials we had discussed in class to the actions they took while participating in the simulation.”