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Gamification in Teaching Politics: Experience from Russia

International Relations
Education
Competence
Field Experiments
Youth
Natalia Piskunova
Ghent University
Natalia Piskunova
Ghent University

Abstract

Gamification is known to be a proven method of managing business companies’ personnel performance and motivation. In modern Russia, this practice is now gaining popularity in universities and across academia. Despite criticism from the advocate of traditional methods of education, the scale and variety of gamification methods and means introduced they are slowly incorporated into the curriculum even as obligatory teaching practices. This paper presents results of the experiment of introducing gamification practices to teaching International Politics and International Relations at the faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University in 2016 – 2019. Gamification was applied as an additional method of teaching and evaluating (including mid-semester tests and course exams at the end of it) to both graduate and undergraduate students, studying such subjects as History of International Relations (2d year of BA studies), International Security (3d year of BA studies) and Peace Research (2n year of MA studies). Both Russian and English-language courses were included. In this paper, I introduce two blocs of methods and practices that were applied. First, I discuss how the semester exam was divided into 3 stages with a choice for students to take a full- or partial exam using a “take-home exam” method that is still not widely recognized in Russia, and the results of this experiment. Second, the paper discusses the application of a role-play “Royal Diplomacy: Justice Revisited” with an open-ended decision and some game theory practice that were applied for graduate students. Also, I highlight the major problems with student motivation, group performance successes and failures and some psychological-cultural issues that were revealed as obstacles or accelerators during this study experiment.