Outsourcing Learning: Is the Statecraft Simulation an Effective Pedagogical Alternative?
12 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
Although rising costs have been a general trend in higher education since the early 20th century, a fundamental restructuring of the higher education marketplace is currently underway. In recent decades students and their parents have been forced to finance college education through greater and greater debt. As a result, students and their families are increasingly demanding that institutions of higher learning provide evidence of value. Universities must now ask what methods of instruction most efficiently contribute to a student’s knowledge base — can instruction that has been traditionally supplied in a physical classroom be delivered more effectively at lower cost through digital means? If so, how can these savings be measured and can they be propagated across an entire curriculum?
This paper examines the effects of using Statecraft, a commercially-available online simulation, in teaching international relations. The simulation was used in two semesters of an undergraduate international relations course as part of a flipped classroom pedagogy, in which Statecraft replaced lectures and other instructional activities that required a physical classroom. The study demonstrates that a significant portion of instruction can be outsourced to an online provider of standardized content with little to no negative change in pedagogical outcomes.
Keywords: international relations, teaching, pedagogy, online, simulation, Statecraft
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