Simulating the European Union: Reflections on Module Design


  • [Corrections added November 14, 2014 after original online publication. Grammatical changes have been made to this article to improve clarity.]


Getting undergraduate students to understand the complex institutional workings and policies of the European Union (EU) can be extremely challenging. For this reason, many academics have turned to simulations as a way of bringing EU politics to life for students. This article describes and evaluates the design of a new undergraduate module simulating the Czech Presidency of the European Union. Emphasis is placed on the process of defining learning objectives, designing appropriate assessment methods, and putting teaching strategies to support student learning in place. This design process is too often overlooked in the simulation literature, although it is key to maximizing student learning. As such, the module offers a template of how to organize a simulation and can reduce some of the set-up costs involved in such an exercise. Evaluation of the simulation module finds evidence of student learning on the module, with support for both the innovative forms of assessment devised and the support strategy put in place to help students succeed in meeting the assessment criteria.