Carol Mershon of the Department of Politics and ASCIT have collaborated on an IT teaching tool that will have immediate application in Fall 2007 in Carol's long-standing course, PLCP 311, Politics in Western Europe.
We have developed a voting simulation in consultation with Carol, a step-by-step sequence of screens that allows students to cast a vote and then to see how different electoral laws--applied to the same votes that students have themselves cast--convert votes into different distributions of seats in a simulated legislature. The simulation is sure to generate an exciting series of class discussions, as students discover patterns and assess explanations for what they observe.
Moreover, the simulation can be easily be adjusted to serve in different instructional settings. Carol already envisions using the simulation in a class she is scheduled to teach in Spring 2008, PLCP 420, Comparative Legislatures. The current simulation invites extensions, and Carol hopes that a future version might incorporate student choices as they take on the role not only of voters but also of members of a legislature.
Both in its current version as a voting simulation and in a potential legislative simulation, this collaborative product illustrates powerfully how ASCIT supports instructional efforts and equips faculty members to define and achieve new goals in teaching. Given Carol's research interests in electoral systems and legislative parties, the project also demonstrates how ASCIT helps faculty to integrate more fully teaching and research.