I’m teaching a course for the CIEE study abroad program on Jordanian politics, and I was talking with a couple of colleagues about how nice it is to be back “in the classroom” and working with intelligent students. I’ve always been inclined to incorporate games or simulations or other ways of making course material and concepts “stick.” So a colleague and I were talking about running a simulation on a contemporary issue relevant to Jordan — perhaps a parliamentary debate over the “mubadara” initiative (since that’s gone so well in the real Jordanian Lower House), or of a crisis simulation dealing with spillover from the war in Syria, or perhaps a set of Palestinian/Israeli/Jordanian/US negotiations to construct our own ‘Kerry Plan’.
I’ve done quite a bit of this sort of thing previously, teaching Model United Nations, creating a simulation of the Iraq parliament, and doing a month-long simulation of government-opposition interaction in a fictional country called Authoritania in my class on authoritarianism.
Then I came across this excellent idea — teaching WWI in real time (a hundred years later). Very cool. Very inventive. There are so many possibilities from this one novel idea of making the past the present in the same chronological increments. I’m interested to see how Scott Wolford, the prof teaching the course, designs it. I assume it will be heavy on primary source materials. He’ll be blogging the process, so more inspiration to come, I’m sure.