See how Statecraft Adds Innovation & Interest in Dr. Krolikowski's Classroom


During the course of the semester, students in Dr. Alanna Krolikowski’s Geopolitics & International Security class complete a seven-week simulation where they represent and act as a fictitious country in an “Earth-like” world. The fate of their country’s well-being and their literal grade is left up to the decision-making capabilities of each student.
This video was created by Missouri University of Science and Technology as part of their CAFE Teaching & Learning Showcase video series. They feature different classrooms and instructors who put active learning into practice.


December 13, 2019


Dr. Alanna Krolikowski  is an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of History and Political Science at Missouri University of Science and Technology.




Dr. Alanna Krolikowski
This class is called Geopolitics and International Security and it’s an upper level course that’s intended to introduce students to the foundational concepts in the study of International Relations and International Security and some of the most influential in intellectual traditions. What’s innovative about this course is that part of the way that we do that is by incorporating a simulation into the course.

students are the world leaders

It’s a 7-10 week simulation that takes place in this online environment that has the students each playing the role of the leader of a country in a fictitious Earth-like world made up of 12 countries. And the simulation presents the students with tough choices.

So it makes it a little different starting the simulation with having 12 different backgrounds of — we have an Aerospace [major], we have some Political Science majors.

theory vs. practice

I thought that I could act a bit more optimistically than I was able to. A lot of the things that work in theory don’t really work unmitigated in practice. 


And right now I have the 2nd highest quality of life in our little world because I have been able to devote all of my resources in order to improve the quality of life by buying different welfare structures and schools and other cultural aspects. Like I bought a couple operas…

Many countries–They decided to put all their resources into building museums, art galleries, schools…Blah, who cares? So I decided to pull my resources into building an army. We do have a police state. We follow Human Rights, we follow the law…


Dr. Alanna Krolikowski
It’s absolutely fascinating to see how students define their goals for the sim. Some students want for example their country to become a cultural superpower. Other students want their country to be a leader in environmental technology, or “green technology” and other students are bent on world domination, and really want their country to take over a lot of territory.

It’s mesmerizing to see students identify those goals for themselves and then develop strategies by which they’re going to systematically, turn by turn, pursue this long term strategy for them in the international system.


I play a lot of strategy games and the goal to with those is if everybody’s going to be peaceful– if you go aggressive you’re likely to steamroll over everyone. If you go aggressive and other people are aggressive you’re likely at least hold your own but if you’re peaceful and other people are aggressive you’re probably going to lose. So my strategy from the get-go when I saw I wasn’t going to have a lot of resources was: “Well I need to be aggressive and I need to be the one dictating terms and conditions: I need people to react to me rather than me reacting to other people.” So that’s the kind of place I went for.


The simulation as well has been really well integrated into the curriculum of the class; like today we were talking about international cooperation once we were done with the Hong Kong stuff, and she talked about international cooperation on various climate change efforts in the past but also the example of our international cooperation like within the sim against the NVC enemy that he was talking about…

I think she’s done a really good job of weaving the Sim elements real-life examples; both current and historical, and the actual sort of theory of international relations in the text book. 


Dr. Alanna Krolikowski
My research in Political Science focuses on International Relations and my position is in Policy for Science, Technology, and Innovation. A big part of what I look at is the US-China relationship, and in particular the trade of high-tech items between the two countries. A big part of that research project is understanding how and why policymakers negotiate the trade offs that are presented by that kind of trade: How they balance the competing policy priorities of protecting national security, on the one hand, but fostering commerce on the other… And that aspect of my research I actually see reflected in the simulation on a pretty regular basis. 

What this simulation exercise does convey I think very vividly for student participants is just how closely tied international security issues are to international political economy, or international trade issues and we see that the boundary between those two types of considerations in real-world decision-making or in simulated decision-making is really really blurry. 


I really learned how, for one, different leaders can really change how things happen; so in the real world relationships between leaders can have a big impact and it’s the same way in here. There’s some people you just naturally trust. There’s people that you have relationships with outside of the Foreign Affairs and then you come together and that plays a part. There’s people that you just know they’re going to attack you or you can’t trust and that’s kind of how it goes.


So I know I was walking into this class and I didn’t know much about Geopolitics our National Security; I didn’t think I would really like get the grasp of it but Dr. K is really like hooked me on this. 


Dr. Alanna Krolikowski
So when I hear them tell me that they look at news headlines differently now having been in the role of a decision maker in a country that faces both the security challenge and an economic challenge for example, or hearing them tell me that they’re more sympathetic to one group of actors than they would have been in the past, I think is very very gratifying.

Because literally changing the way you think about a topic is what learning is. So I think that it’s in those kinds of experiences and when students are able to articulate that, that we really see evidence of the value of active learning.

Experience Statecraft for Yourself

These awesome results are available for your class too! Book your demo today to get a personalized tour and have all your questions answered. Or read on for more information about the International Relations Simulation or International Relations Lite Simulation products.  


We have answers and ideas for you.

If you’re still looking for info, make sure to book your personalized demo today! Along with a product tour, we’ll chat about how your sim of interest can work best for your unique class situation.

Blue Statecraft Simulations Fireworks