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Use Case Scenario: Collaborative Discussion

The RU EU game can be used in different ways (future time). Therefore use cases are a valuable way of uncovering implied functionality that is expected to occur due to different ways in which the game can be used. Minimally such a use case (scenario) description should keep in mind the following:

  1. Which are the stakeholders involved and which value does the game provide them?
  2. What is the narrative describing how this value will be provided? The use case should have both a main flow (sometimes called the basic flow or “happy day” scenario) and alternate flows. Any use case that doesn’t have at least a few alternate flows should be suspect. It is probably too granular to rightfully be a good use case if you cannot come up with a few alternate flows to accompany the basic flow. The footnote contains some elements to work out this narrative.[1]
  3. How is the use case combined with others, e.g. embedded in the (use case of) the course? However, according to UML, use cases should not be sequenced or have dependencies. Within the UML there are some structuring constructs that allow relationships between use cases, but these should be used sparsely and generally not early in the evolution of the use case model. A use case should be something that could be delivered in a release of the software as a self contained capability that provides value back to the actor or some stakeholder.
  4. What are the (learning) activities to be executed with the game? E.g., individual / collaborative, sequential / selection, etc. The use case must not describe the game design. Use cases describe “what” the system does not “how” it does it. They are a “black box” description of the system from the perspective of the actor. Your use case description template can certainly provide additional sections for special requirements such as design constraints or business rules, but the basic and alternate flows should focus on the “what” not “how.”
[1] Alistair Cockburn’s use case template can be used to further work out the narrative: (1) Title a very short description; (2) Narrative a general description of the use case in educational terms (see below); (3) Primary Actor student in student led learning, teacher in teacher led situations; (4) Scope runtime systems involved in the delivery; (5) Level – description of the level of complexity; (6) Stakeholders and Interests a discussion of the roles and their respective responsibilities; (7) Preconditions a specification of what is needed in order to provide the student with learning experiences; (8) Minimal Guarantees – role specific preconditions; (9) Success Guarantees – role specific demands for the learning experience to be successful; (10) Main Success Scenario relate to the runtime systems involved; (11) Pedagogy/Type of learning – case based, problem based, individualized linear, etc.; (12) Learning objectives – idem; (13) Roles: – the various participants, such as student, tutor, assessor, etc.; (14) Different types of learning content used – local texts, internet pages, multimedia DVDs; (15)Different types of learning services/facilities/tools used – external expert, groupware; (16) Different types of collaborative activities – among students, between students and tutors, etc; (17) Learning activity workflow – how Actors / Content / Services interact; (18) Scenarios – e.g., the same content may be used for face-to-face and distance learning; (19) Other needs / Specific requirements – e.g. accessibility, specific target groups, etc; and (20) Extensions – various failure scenarios.

 

Stakeholders

International) business students and their teachers (13) are the envisioned stakeholders fort his use case. The mini-game(s) provide(s) them with an immersive way to experience the multi-facetted problems of running an international enterprise (i.e., in logistics) from various perspectives (i.e., country, roles and / or position on the EU).

Narrative

For this use case, we distinguish two levels (2, 5, 18):

  1. (least suitable, 20) Students play all mini-games (the five case leads) from the perspective that has been assigned to them. They follow the overall narrative / scenarios that was conceived for the complete RU EU? game.
  2. (most suitable, 10) Students just play one or two mini-games (preferably case leads 1 and 3) from the perspective that has been assigned to them. They just follow the partial narrative / scenario that was conceived for the mini-game.

Since we have not set any pre-conditions before and between mini-games, the mini-games can be studied independently of eachother (7). In both instances, the individual perspective (which not neccesarily coincides with that of the student as a person!) could be defined by country zone (e.g. western european country like Germany, southern european country like Spain, or eastern european country like Romania); by role (e.g. Director of an enterprise, Employee of the enterprise, or Unemployed); or by attitude towards Europe (e.g., Pro, Neutral, or Anti) (8).

Embedding in the course / education

According to the project proposal, the RU EU? game was intended to also have a social dimension by providing opportunities for students to work on problems with european identity in a collaborative way. It was decided during the execution of the project that collaboration in solving challenging problems (case-based education, 11) surrounding issues rooted in notions of european identity would better be left out-of the interactive game play itself (was found to be too demanding both technically and from an organisational perspective) and be provided in the support materials that accompany the game.

The first intended target group for the RU EU? game as proposed in the application are Social Science and  Business students across Europe (3, 6) for whom the game will provide an novel approach to studying, what for them are curricular issues, i.e. mainly knowledge-oriented and not very practice-driven. The narrative presented in this use case is considered to be especially suitable to be used in the context of / in combination with courses on international business.

These courses will provide them with the necessary background knowledge (and regulations) on running an enterprise in an international (european) context, and treat the actualised differences across Europe. The teachers will adapt (a) case lead(s) from the RU EU? game as exemplary teaching material during their (hearing and / or working) colleges, and provide students with actualised content (e.g. on regulations). Students will be assigned to various countries, roles or positions and asked to work out the mini-game(s)’ tasks individually. During a group working session / college they will compare and discuss their individual outcomes from different perspectives to experience the multi-facetted nature of the dilemmas, where possible taking into account special needs of disabled students (4, 19).

(Learning) Activities and outcomes

More specifically for the main success scenario (Scenario #3): Looking into differences across nations for logistics companies and their workers from a variety of perspectives as main learning activity has become a timely issue now that the EU intends to have more regulated (t.i. nivellated) differences in regulations and payments between workers of different nationalities by the end of 2021. For the transport sector, which by definition is a cross-border kind of enterprise, these kind of dilemmas can be expected to prolongue at last that period and probably a while longer.

Looking upon this case dilemma from various perspectives and to compare and discuss the individual outcomes of following the pre-designed learning activities is most likely a guarenteed success factor (9) in achieving the learning objective towards more awareness of the multi-facetted nature of problems (12) for this use case.  As first Learning Objective, the Design Document O5 mentions: “To be exposed to, understand and appreciate different viewpoints and opinions about EU and national identity”, but this collaboration use case also strongly supports the acquisition of the other learning objectives defined in that document

The main learning activities, their flow, content and outcomes have been defined and developed as embedded in the scenarios of the mini-game (14, 15, 17). For scenario #3, students perform the following sequence of activities:  1. conduct & analyse an interview with an employer, 2. Conduct & analyse an interview with a worker, 3. Observe & analyse a discussion at a recruitment office, and 4. Integrate & weigh all the encountered statements in a balanced journal article they have to distill from the first three activities.

In the final activity / assignment their individual results will be presented and visualised as a weighted pie-chart of interests (on the various themes identified). This visualisation of outcomes in the dashboard makes the collaborative activity (18), the comparison and discussion of opinions across perspectives, much easier and better quantifiable.

Individual outcomes of gameplay can then be compared and discussed on parameters like : 1. Does taking a perspective relate to the selection of other stakes (themes)?, 2. Does perspective taken influence the EU attitude?, 3. Does perspective influence a less or more balanced view on the dilemma in the final article?, 4. Does perspective relate to the reliability of arguments used in the article? Et cetera.

We envision the groups to be about 4-6 students of size, of which one student is appointed to execute and monitor a collaboration script, and where the other group members are assigned to differing perspectives.

A collaboration script is applied that starts before gameplay with forming the collaboration groups and assigning the perspectives to group members. Then the group members study the mini-game indivudually (about 1-2 hour). During a collaborative session (about 1-2 hours) the student in the tutoring role identifies differences as observed in the individual outcomes in relation to perspectives. Group members are provided with additional content, like actualised information on regulations, that the course teacher provides (during colleges, or as part of the course materials). The group then further discusses and explains these differences, in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of the multi-facetted nature of such dilemmas with EU identity. The quality of group reporting can be compared tot he quality of individual reporting.

For the other instance (whole game), this section could be elaborated according to the same approach.