An experience with conducting a role-play in decision making for a food and nutrition policy course
School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales
In 2005 post-graduate students participated in an online role-play in a distance Masters in Public Health course, Food and Nutrition Policy Studies, at the University of New South Wales. A major course outcome is for students to appreciate the political dimensions of policy formulation and to understand that it is not just a matter of researching and analysing relatively objective food and nutrition data. The strategy we chose to achieve this was a two-week online role-play, using a WebCT discussion group, in which students were assigned roles as members of an inter-sectoral national Food Policy Planning Committee. This was embedded in a realistic case study, which forms the backbone of the 14-week course. The online environment offered these distance students a real opportunity to learn about the complexity of policy negotiation. We reflect on the factors that appear to have contributed towards the success of this strategy.
Keywords: online, role-play, WebCT, policy