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Idaho State University

Bolinger Publishes Book on Teaching

June 15, 2020

A book by Alex Bolinger, Associate Professor of Management at ISU's College of Business, and his co-author, Julie Stanton from Pennsylvania State University at Brandywine, has been published by Edgar Elgar Publishing. The book, entitled Role-Play Simulations, is part of Elgar's "Teaching Methods in Business" series and provides a systematic guide to using role-play simulations as an active, experiential approach to teaching in the business classroom.

Bolinger headshotThe idea for the book began nearly a decade ago, when Bolinger and Stanton were colleagues at the Penn State campus in suburban Philadelphia. Although Stanton teaches marketing and supply chain management and Bolinger teaches negotiation and leadership, they discovered that they both use role-play simulations extensively in their classes. 

For instance, Stanton uses a unique activity involving chopsticks and Starburst candies to help students experience the dynamics of working on an assembly line. Similarly, Bolinger uses immersive, one-on-one negotiation role-plays to illustrate the principles and tactics of negotiating more effectively.

A distinctive feature of the book is its focus on how to facilitate role-play simulations online in addition to face-to-face. Bolinger draws on his experience teaching ISU's Masters of Business Administration course in negotiation and decision-making online synchronously (via web conferencing software such as Zoom) for the past five years to offer ideas for implementing role-play exercises more effectively online.

Bolinger says that the book is a tribute to the legacy of his former faculty, as a management major in ISU's College of Business, who used role-play simulations extensively in their classes.

"I had the good fortune of learning from faculty members, first as a student and then as a colleague, who are masterful at using role-play simulations to make the principles of leadership and management skills come to life," Bolinger said. "This book is a thank-you to people such as Jim Jolly, Bill Stratton, Kathy Lund Dean, Dennis Krumwiede, and so many others here at ISU who have in the past and continue today to use role-plays and other creative approaches to engage students."

More information about the book is available at this link.