Work by Professor Patricia Stapleton, Assistant Professor and Director of the Society, Technology, and Policy Program in the Social Science and Policy Studies Department, has been published recently in the Journal of Political Science Education. Stapleton is a leading practitioner in the use of simulations and role-playing to teach political science. Over many years she’s observed the benefits of simulations for student engagement, but also that simulation outcomes do not necessarily indicate positive student learning outcomes. At the same time, she knows that traditional assessment methods such as quizzes, exams, and research papers don’t align well with the intended outcomes of many simulations. In “Knowledge Surveys as an Assessment Tool of Simulation Course Outcomes,” Stapleton reports on the use of “knowledge surveys” in several iterations of GOV 1320, Topics in International Politics. Used at the start, middle, and end of the course, knowledge surveys ask students to rate their level of confidence in answering questions directly aligned with learning outcomes. Overall, she concluded that the knowledge survey can provide important insights into learning for both the instructor and students.
In 2014-15, Professor Stapleton was awarded a Faculty Learning Community grant by the Educational Development Council, IT Division, and Morgan Teaching and Learning Center as she refined an international politics simulation and related assignments and assessments to better understand how the simulation influences learning. In 2017, her teaching accomplishments were recognized with the Romeo Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education.