Simulation Story #5

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A professor from University of Maryland, Baltimore County describes her experience with the Globalization and Nigerian Oil simulation.

Why I use the Globalization and Nigerian Oil simulation:
I was teaching a negotiation class and wanted the students to be able to experience the mechanics of negotiation.

How ICONS connects with my course:
The simulation came at the end -- the culmination of a short, intense, winter term.

Time I allot to each phase of the simulation (preparation, online negotiation, debrief):
We were on an extremely short timeline, but it was a "hybrid" (partially online) course. So, I had them working at night for one to two nights on each phase.

Instructor and student roles during the simulation:
The students were working in small groups on preparation and then conduct of the negotiations. I graded their preparation work, which they had submitted online. I then monitored (as SIMCON) their two rounds of negotiation. I also led a face-to-face debriefing for 45 minutes.

Learning objectives and assessment:
I wanted them to explore the notion of interests and strategies. They were able to do this very successfully through the a. stakeholder analysis that is part of the ICONS material and b. through a policy paper that I had them submit as part of the preparation phase. I gave them a check, check-minus, or check-plus for their prep work.

My advice for instructors preparing to participate in an ICONS simulation for the first time:
I would tell them to go easy on giving actual grades (A-F) because it can be difficult (especially if you have them working in groups). I now use this check-minus to check-plus system for both individual and group work throughout the simulation process. It seems to be much less-controversial than group grades, for example. Also, let your students go and enjoy the exercise. Don't try to control it too much from above. They learn from just "doing." They especially learn from mistakes and miscalculations during the negotiations.

Final Thoughts:
The simulation product is really great at this point. The software, the software support, and the resources are all top-notch. My students (3 different classes) in the last year or so, have loved it.

Do you have a story to share about how you incorporated an ICONS simulation into your instruction? ICONS would like to post it in this special section of our website. Please email us at or call us at (301) 405-4172 to participate.

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