Dividing Up the Game: From Serial to Parallel Simulations
16 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 23, 2013
In-class simulations tend to involve all students in one pool of participants engaging in a single simulation. As an alternative to this ‘serial’ model of running one simulation at a time, the paper explores designing a ‘parallel’ model — running at least two versions of the same simulation simultaneously. The value-added of the parallel model is that students can learn from the differences they encounter within and across simulations. That is, students not only learn from the one simulation with which they are engaged, but they also benefit from a comparative analysis with their peers’ parallel simulations. The paper proposes ways to design-in differences and explores when and how to hold class discussions of the simulation. The paper includes an example simulation from the author’s experience and poses concerns regarding time management during a parallel simulation. To encourage instructors to think about their time commitments in conducting a parallel simulation the paper closes with a simple typology of different roles the instructor might take on — from a role of relative absence to that of a ‘game master’ which actively manages from outside and intervenes inside the simulation.
Keywords: simulations, parallel simulation, role playing, game master
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