Political Science Now

Going Beyond the Existing Consensus: The Use of Games in International Relations Education

Going Beyond the Existing Consensus: The Use of Games in International Relations Education

by Michael Lee and Zachary C. Shirkey, Hunter College, CUNY

Despite the popularity of using games to teach international relations, few works directly assess their effectiveness. Furthermore, it is unclear if games help all students equally, or if certain students are more likely to benefit than others. Finally, how closely the game must mirror the concept being taught to be an effective pedagogical tool has received scant attention. We address these points by discussing the use of an updated version of the classic American election game, Consensus, to help illustrate the role of domestic political coalitions in an international political economy course. Assessing the performance of 39 students via a pre- and post-quiz, we find that student performance improved overall, particularly among frequent gamers.

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PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 50, Issue 2 / April 2017