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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Active-learning exercises, such as in-class simulations and role play, are increasingly used alongside more traditional teaching methods of discussion and lecture in order to develop deeper understanding of complex topics, particularly those involving strategic behavior. This article describes in-class experiences with several instances of active learning that can be used to teach strategic concepts that arise in the study of terrorism. The first long-form exercise involves a simulated hostage crisis, comprises multiple roles including media, government, and terrorists, and highlights strategic concepts of credible commitment and costly signaling. The second long-form exercise captures the strategic interplay of government and terror group, and highlights agency problems and the difficulty of allocating limited resources. Shorter exercises cover: religion and its connection to the absolute; tactic diffusion, outbidding, and the importance of local support; media sensationalism; and terrorist financing.

Keywords: terrorism, teaching, active learning, simulations, role play

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