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ECPR Summer School in Methods & Techniques 2020

Active Learning Across Different Modules: Simulation on the UK Referendum

Experimental Design
Elena-Simona Davidescu
University of York
Elena-Simona Davidescu
University of York

The literature on simulations focused on teaching European Union politics seems to be particularly well suited for making sense of a multi-level, multi-actor and consensual decision-making (Usherwood, 2012; Guasti et al, 2015). For our students this is challenging, as it confronts them with a context that is at odds to the adversary, centralised and winner takes it all character of UK politics. Challenging this dichotomy between the UK political system, the most familiar to our students, and the complex EU political system, has been at the centre of our simulation design. We have run this simulation across two yearly modules at level two: ‘Politics in the UK’ and ‘European Union: Politics and Policies’ in the Spring term of 2016, at the same time with the negotiations conducted by Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels. The design included a range of techniques beyond the actual simulation exercise: i) the integration and synchronisation of seminar topics across the two modules for one term, ii) the development of a joint VLE site for this simulation, to which students from both cohorts had access to, iii) the use of wikis; iv) a separate reading list and v) the design of posters as an introduction to the negotiations, to be presented at the start of the simulation exercise.
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