A Web Simulation of the International Court of Justice

Howard Tolley, Jr.
Professor of Political Science
University of Cincinnati
M.L. 375, Cincinnati OH 45221

Prepared for delivery at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, March 20, 1997 in Toronto, Canada.

© Copyright by the author and available on-line at

A Web Simulation of the International Court of Justice

I. Introducing A Case Study Method Using Artificial Intelligence

"[A]ll that the school can or need do for pupils, so far as their minds are concerned . . . is to develop their ability to think."

John Dewey, Democracy and Education, 1916

In a culture dominated by television and computer games, too many undergraduates are muddled thinkers who read little and write poorly. How can more hours spent before a monitor develop the necessary substantive knowledge, cognitive and normative intelligence? "Teaching is a social art, necessarily involving a relationship between people."1 The computerized role playing exercise described below seeks to realize Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives, the rational-analytical model of John Dewey, and the learning theories of William Perry. Success requires programming and electronic communication that challenge students to think and exchange information rather than to have computers solve the problem. The internet does offer instructors a new method for resolving their problem of how to stimulate undergraduates' intelligence. The internet system includes email, listserv, discussion groups and interactive world wide web pages in multimedia that open unprecedented opportunities for individual or group communication and transmission of data.

Research demonstrating that the case method enhances learning suggests that computerized problem solving exercises might achieve similar success. Pew Case Studies in International Affairs have brought to the undergraduate classroom teaching methods that worked well in law schools and colleges of business.2 "Thinking like a lawyer" entails more than calculating the dollars in a contingency fee award.3 Legal reasoning fosters a rational-analytical approach to problem solving.

The first step involves the definition of a problem or a decision. The second step requires the diagnosis of the possible reasons for the problem. The third step includes a search for alternative solutions to the problem. Finally, the fourth step involves a comparison of the various alternatives and a choice of the most appropriate one.4

An extradition dispute before the European Court of Human Rights illustrates the systematic reasoning of judges who explain their analytic method in published opinions. First, important facts must be clearly understood. A twenty year old German national indicted for murder in Virginia and arrested in the United Kingdom challenged extradition to the United States. Germany also asserted jurisdiction to prosecute. Second, the legal issue(s) to be decided must be precisely defined. Does the prohibition of "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment" in the European Convention on Human Rights bar extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States of a suspect who might be sentenced to death? Third, the court must identify relevant rules of law. A U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty; caselaw interpreting the European Convention; conflict of law rules governing choice of municipal and international law. Finally, judges must analyze which rules apply, often reasoning by analogy. Precedents may be "on point" and control the result or distinguishable. Unprecedented problems force judges into creative synthesis of new rules and interpretation that require critical value judgments. The European Court made new law by identifying a "death row phenomenon" that constituted cruel treatment for which the U.K. would be legally responsible by granting extradition.5

Analyzing legal issues in actual cases trains students in a hierarchy of six cognitive skills identified in Bloom's taxonomy.

Romm and Mahler note that higher level cognitive problem solving overlaps the separate affective domain identified by Bloom. Simulation and role playing are especially educational as "valuing can be achieved when students actually play a character. By experiencing a character as oneself they go beyond a mere accepting of the character's point of view that is typical of 'responding', into an active involvement, internalization and commitment to it ."7

Case problems require students to select between competing authority and values to resolve a dispute that may have no clear answer. William Perry's work on the stages of intellectual development reveals the need to cultivate uncertainty in undergraduates' world view.8 High school graduates bring to college a dualistic mind set and ask to be taught the truth. Professor, what is the correct answer? How can there possibly be more than one way to solve that problem and still get it right? Dualists with simplistic views of truth and justice regard attorneys as unprincipled hired guns. The case method complicates that reality.9

Encouraging students to play an unfamiliar role promotes understanding of alternative truths. As advocates for a position they categorically reject, students may become less certain of their knowledge, more willing to entertain new ideas, to learn by questioning and entertaining a range of possibilities. Whether or not they ultimately modify deeply held personal beliefs, the exercise can provide fresh information and the ability to rebut an adversary. Closely decided legal precedents challenge students to weigh opposing arguments in majority and dissenting opinions. Students must identify unresolved issues, recognize relevant facts and legal authority, and reason by analogy. The case method and Socratic dialogue challenges students to balance competing norms and to explain reasoned conclusions.10

Role playing a case "engages students . . . at an emotive as well as at a cognitive level"11 that may reveal gender, racial, and ethnic diversity. Research such as Mary Belenky's work Women's Ways of Knowing12 has shown marked differences in how males and females acquire information and form opinions. The Myers-Briggs personality profile classifies individuals based on diagnostic measures of extraversion/introversion; sensing/intuition; thinking/feeling; judgment/perception. Individuals do not all benefit equally from the same teaching techniques. Those who fail to learn from one instructor's primary teaching method are not necessarily stupid or lazy. Generally professors are more intuitive than their students, a personality difference responsible "the widest gulf between people . . . the source of the most miscommunication, misunderstanding, vilification, defamation and denigration."13 Faculty proponents of active learning are a minority in higher education; adversarial colleagues too often refuse to make room for both intuitive and experiential approaches. Different personality types and learning styles are not not good or bad, superior or inferior; each offers distinct positive values along with some limitations.

A range of active learning techniques can address varied psychological types --competitive and collaborative, avoidant and participant, dependent and independent.14 The avoidant, dependent type may prefer lecture-discussion, while participant, independent learners favor an experiential approach.15 Cases and simulations require participation that may be competitive or collaborative.

In a narrative case, a whole story is told in all its complexity and multiplicity of actors and interests. Students must tease through complex, contradictory and ambiguous information to discern the major principles at play. In a decision-forcing case a problem facing a decisionmaker is defined, but the story is stopped at the point of decision. Here students must work through different decision scenarios, assessing options, debating diverse solutions, and making recommendations.16

Romm and Mahler offer a typology of the method that includes twelve variations. Faculty may use cases 1) as either individual or group exercises, 2) for either analysis/discussion or role playing/simulation, 3) with either structured or free response choices.

Harvard Professor of Constitutional Law Arthur Miller developed a web site of structured role playing exercises for an individual rather than a group. "Courtroom Challenge" presents seven landmark Supreme Court civil liberties disputes. CourtTV sponsors the challenge on its homepage link to "games." 17 Cases of particular interest to students involve mandatory drug testing of a school athlete and a compulsory flag salute. Briefing materials instruct the reader on the facts of the dispute, summarize conflicting legal precedent, and offer competing arguments. In a mulitmedia format, the screens of text are illustrated with color images and highlighted links that enable viewers to move with a click of the mouse between facts, argument, and legal precedent. Once familiar with the briefing material, the student as "counsel" must decide which "client" to represent, either the individual or the state. The decision-forcing challenge is for counsel to select from a list the most relevant facts, precedent, and arguments to support the client. After submitting a full range of choices, the counsel receives a score of up to 100 points for making the most appropriate selections that support the party represented. A report on the court's decision and its reasoning accompanies the counsel's personal score.

Following impersonal interaction with a computer program, students need to engage live minds. At commuter colleges and large universities undergraduates find it difficult to meet outside of class with course instructors and classmates. Some students with a full academic load are employed twenty to forty hours per week. An increasing number transfer into a college for only the last two years of a B.A. program. The best residential colleges foster learning communities providing rich interpersonal relationships that are all too rare in most institutions. After personal introductions in the campus classroom, collaborative learning can now be achieved in cyberspace. Instead of further depersonalizing campus relationships, computerized Email opens a channel for more frequent written communication between students and with their course instructors.

Faculty can use a web problem as more than an individual exercise by assigning written work that leads to either group simulation or critical analysis and discussion, both on-line and in class. A simulation based on prior writing serves the greatest range of cognitive and affective educational objectives. Assignments that require students to analyze and apply facts and legal precedent in a competitive simulation foster cognitive skills beyond simple comprehension. Reasonable minds will differ on some of the issues in dispute. Challenging students to recognize competing authority can strengthen their ability to use a rational-analytical model in problem solving. Simulations also help develop written and oral communication skills.

To prepare for group simulation in class, co-counsel can collaborate using electronic mail to write different sections of advocacy briefs. Their final draft could either be emailed to classmates or posted on the web.18 Some universities now provide a single class email address for direct distribution of materials to all enrolled students. Opposing counsel can respond with reply memoranda on the electronic network. Student judges should review all submissions before presiding at oral argument in class. Well briefed in advance, the instructor can email additional instructions for individuals or groups and respond promptly to last minute questions.

The web "Courtroom Challenge" of U.S. cases provides a model exercise for international law disputes before the world court or other tribunals. Role playing as counsel and judges in actual cases could educate students about international law and institutions while developing critical thinking skills. Interactive case problems can be based on major disputes heard by the International Court of Justice, the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court, and federal courts in the United States. Human rights issues arouse student passion and interest--capital punishment, torture, genocide, war crimes, disappearances, race and gender discrimination. The first case was selected after a workshop briefing by NYU International Law Professor Thomas Franck about his representation of Bosnia against Yugoslavia in the International Court of Justice. By July 1996 the world court had rendered two preliminary judgments dismissing some of Bosnia's claims while asserting jurisdiction for future hearings to decide the merits of the genocide complaint.

II. Advocacy On-Line: Bosnia vs. Yugoslavia at the ICJ

The interactive website enables students to play the role of counsel arguing a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The case brought by Bosnia charges genocide and seeks damages against the remnants of Yugoslavia--Serbia and Montenegro. The interactive case problem requires students to exercise critical thinking skills by reviewing and then applying relevant facts and legal precedent to support the most effective arguments on behalf of their client. The complex case presents multiple issues that have been argued by distinguished international law experts. The ICJ initially rejected some of Bosnia's claims in 1993 but did order provisional measures. That government retained different counsel for a successful argument on jurisdiction in 1996 when the court agreed to future proceedings on the merits.

Undergraduate students of international law and organization, human rights, and world politics are the primary audience. Delegates preparing for a Model ICJ, law school students, and others might also find the interactive exercise a valuable source of information and vehicle for critical thinking. The 5,500 word text is illustrated with several color images--national flags, a regional map, and photograph of the court. Most students should be able to complete the exercise in less than forty-five minutes.

Highlighted links on the main page entry screen enable students to access material in different sections that provide background facts, legal precedent, and possible arguments. (See case outline on the following page.) The briefing material summarizes substantive provisions of the 1949 Genocide Convention and introduces the litigants, their counsel, and judges of the ICJ. Widespread revulsion at ethnic cleansing in the Balkans triggers student interest in learning treaty law and court procedures which become more than abstract technicalities. Does the genocide convention apply to the war in Bosnia? If so, what power if any does the ICJ have to end the slaughter and compensate victims?

Theories of judicial review confront actual practice as Bosnia asks the ICJ to find that a U.N. Security Council arms embargo violated its right to self defense under the Charter. In an earlier case, Libya unsuccessfully challenged U.N. Security Council sanctions as a violation of international aviation treaties. Should the court follow that precedent to uphold the Security Council's embargo? Evaluating Yugoslavia's defense requires an understanding of a successor's treaty obligations when new states are created. With the breakup of Yugoslavia, was the new Bosnian government an ongoing party to the Genocide Convention? Or did that treaty come into force later, only after formal ratification and accession? The Bosnian fighting had elements of both international conflict and civil war that might affect how the 1949 Geneva Conventions apply. Does the ICJ decision on Nicaragua's challenge to U.S. intervention in its civil war support either Bosnia or Yugoslavia?

ICJ CASE PROBLEM OUTLINE (Highlighted links in italics)

I. First. . .

1. What is the law on genocide?
2. What are Bosnia's specific claims against Yugoslavia?
3. Who are the lawyers and judges involved in the case?
4. How can the International Court of Justice enforce the Genocide Convention?
1. When did Bosnia become a party to the Genocide convention?
2. Did Yugoslavia direct and control Serbian forces in Bosnia?
3. What is "ethnic cleansing"?
1. ICJ decision on Libya's challenge to Security Council sanctions
2. ICJ decision on provisional measures sought by Nicaragua
3. Rules governing when states obtain treaty rights
4. Charter Articles on peacekeeping and the right to self defense
5. Standard of proof required to establish genocidal intent
1. Bosnia was not a party to the Genocide Convention during the alleged violation
2. The Security Council arms embargo violates Bosnia's right to self defense
3. Only the Security Council may order provisional measures after war has begun
4. The fighting in Bosnia is a civil war not an international conflict
5. Ethnic cleansing is a form of genocide
6. The Genocide Convention applied to Bosnia from its independence day
7. The Genocide Convention does not apply to casualties in military conflict
II. Then. . . Choose either BOSNIA OR YUGOSLAVIA and Make Your Argument
1. Bosnia was not a party to the Genocide Convention during the alleged violation
2. The Security Council arms embargo violates Bosnia's right to self defense
3. Only the Security Council may order provisional measures after war has begun
4. The fighting in Bosnia is a civil war not an international conflict
5. Ethnic cleansing is a form of genocide
6. The Genocide Convention applied to Bosnia from its independence day
7. The Genocide Convention does not apply to casualties in military conflict
1. The indictment of Yugoslav soldiers by the War Crimes Tribunal
2. Security Council resolutions that condemn ethnic cleansing
3. Evidence that Yugoslavia's army units never entered Bosnian territory
4. Bosnian Muslim's killing and deportation of Serbs, destruction of religious monuments
5. U.N. human rights Special Rapporteur finding that Serbian ethnic cleansing did not appear to be a consequence of the war, but rather its goal.
6. The U.N. Secretary General accepted Bosnia as a successor treaty party rather than as a new state acceding to the Genocide Convention
1. ICJ decision against Libya's challenge to Security Council sanctions
2. ICJ decision on provisional measures on behalf of Nicaragua
3. Rules governing when states obtain treaty rights
4. U.N. Charter Article 51 on the right to self defense
5. Standard of proof required to establish genocidal intent

The student advocate must decide to represent either Bosnia or Yugoslavia. Then counsel must choose from a list of eighteen options on screen the most appropriate arguments along with those facts and legal precedents which support the client's position. Ten items advance Bosnia's claims, and the other eight support Yugoslavia. Highlighted links to the different background sections enable participants to skip around at will, to compare and to reexamine varied items before submitting their choices for grading.

By correctly identifying all the best arguments and supporting authority for their client, any student can score 100 points. Even though the ICJ ruled in Bosnia's favor on most issues, counsel for Yugoslavia can earn a perfect score by selecting all the appropriate options. When reasoning by analogy, it should be possible to identify the most appropriate arguments and supporting authority for a client, even if the ICJ majority found only some of those claims persuasive. Along with an individual score, an explanation of how the ICJ ruled and why is provided. Alternately, it is possible for students to review the court's decision without first reviewing all the background facts and legal authority and without any role playing advocacy. Students seeking the full ICJ opinion can follow an internet link to a website with the complete text.19 A final screen invites feedback and comment via an email link to the case author.

Working individually on-line students role play counsel for Bosnia first, and then repeat the exercise in the role of counsel for Yugoslavia. Students then print out and submit the internet form indicating their choices on behalf of each client along with the web page reporting their score in each role play, a total of four pages. Separate writing assignments prepare students for an in class ICJ simulation by judges and counsel for each party. Students designated as counsel prepare advocacy briefs for either Bosnia or Yugoslavia on one or more of the disputed issues.

The student judges then preside over a class simulation of oral argument by counsel in an ICJ proceeding before writing opinions for the court. A debriefing discussion after the simulation clarifies the interplay of legal and moral reasoning in the student's case analysis. At the outset ethnic cleansing might seem like such an open and shut question that no one would consider defending Yugoslavia's genocide. After engaging in the exercise, students might question at least some of the legal remedies sought by Bosnia. The most intellectually advanced students may be able to move beyond the structured response options, through a stage of uncertain questioning, and ultimately to synthesize an original position. Explaining why and how to make just distinctions between the parties requires the highest level of cognitive and normative reasoning.

III. Implementing the Case Study Method on the Web

[B]eware of 'inert ideas'--that is to say, ideas that are merely received into the mind without being utilized, or tested, or thrown into fresh combinations.

Alfred North Whitehead, The Aim of Education, 1929

Since 1984 I have taught public law classes in the political science department at the University of Cincinnati, a public, urban, commuter university with over 30,000 students. My courses on the U.S. and international legal systems typically enroll about forty undergraduates from Arts and Sciences. Advance writing assignments for in-class debates have engaged quiet students in more active participation. During moot court exercises, I role play the presiding "judge" who interrupts "counsel" with questions. Most students can manage the stress and enjoy an interchange with the bench. In one memorable class I did not properly identify an extremely anxious graduate student. The sleepless advocate responded to "Judge" Tolley's first gentle question by stammering a partial answer before falling to the floor in a faint. How much safer a computerized simulation on the ICJ for that student and others with a phobia for public speaking.

Although there are excellent computerized teaching tools on global conflict,20 I have been unable to locate any computer assisted simulations that meet class needs in international law. In order to prepare my own interactive cases, I received training and technical support which very few universities make available to faculty. An appendix to this paper explains how my ICJ web case was prepared and offers technical assistance to instructors with similar interests. Workshops for faculty interested in learning how to use and write effective cases are offered at professional meetings such as the International Studies Association and the appendix lists conferences organized by The Lilly Foundation, Pace University and others.

I first used the ICJ exercise with international law classes for undergraduates and law school students in fall 1996. Initially I scheduled a training session for each class on how to access my internet homepage and follow links to the ICJ simulation. With each succeeding term, fewer and fewer students require an orientation to teaching and instructional materials on the web. The feedback grading component was inoperative for the initial test, so "counsel" were not properly scored on their choices. We discussed the different answers in class, but there was no on-line interaction, writing assignment, or in class simulation. The session was not much different than the normal lecture, recitation, and discussion of an assigned reading.

My international organization class of thirty-two undergraduates in winter quarter was quite a different story. I arrange cohort course scheduling to foster learning communities in public law that can enroll the same students for two classes each term throughout the entire academic year. My three quarter sequence on U.S. Constitutional Law meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 10 a.m., and the international series--law, organization, and human rights, immediately follows on the same days in the same classroom from 11:00 to 11:50 a.m. Seniors who enroll can use either sequence to complete a required two quarter capstone research project. Ten seniors in International Law did a fall term paper as Part I of their project and then continued with International Organization to complete the research paper. At the first class meeting in winter term they all gave a brief introduction to work in progress.

Initially I did not plan to use the ICJ exercise in the winter quarter. About half the students had read the problem in the fall class, and I planned to use two Pew cases that would take a week of the term.21 Several developments persuaded me to make a late change and replace the assigned syllabus readings for the final week of the quarter with the ICJ simulation. In January a faculty development workshop on learning styles reinforced my desire to use more active learning with collaborative work groups. After students submitted their term paper topics, I arranged seven groups of up to six individuals who were doing research on related themes. The same groups became Secretariat "advisory" bodies to the U.N. Secretary General in a Pew simulation on the Falklands. In a novel approach to mid-term test review, the seven groups competed in two rounds of "Jeopardy." 22 Similar work groups represented delegations in a simulated negotiation on a U.N. code of conduct on Transnational Corporations.

The competitive in-class negotiations tapped unprecedented energy, informed enthusiasm, and unsettling volume. Individuals who rarely participated in discussion were surprisingly assertive. Minority students took on active leadership roles, engaging their white peers in the most intensive cross cultural dialogue I have experienced as a teacher. The successful role playing enhanced the unusually positive interaction that was developing with a cohort group of students in my four public law classes during fall and winter quarters. Several corresponded on email, those doing senior projects came for lengthy consultations on their research, and others sought me out during office hours as they struggled with "big" questions raised in class or the media.

I felt confident enough in their understanding to make a late change in the course syllabus for a more effective test of an ICJ case which had unrealized potential. I replaced the assigned reading for the final week and announced that all three sessions would be devoted to a course finale based on the genocide problem. The prior reading assignment on human rights provided an excellent introduction, and the web material would provide appropriate exam review on interntational law, the ICJ, and Security Council. Term research papers were due on the Monday; students who wanted to write on the ICJ problem or take part in the simulation could submit papers on Friday that might replace the lowest grade earned on three earlier homework assignments.




For the final exam, I created a hypothetical ICJ case brought by Zaire charging Rwanda with genocide after Tutsi rebels began slaughtering Hutu refugees. Five questions tested student's comprehension of the web case explanations of ICJ authority and procedures and their cognitive ability to apply the result of Bosnia's claim to an analogous situation.

IV. Student Assessment

[T]e alternative to furnishing ready-made subject matter and listening to the accuracy with which it is reproduced is not quiescence, but participating, sharing in an activity. In such shared activity, the teacher is a learner, and the learner is, without knowing it, a teacher.

John Dewey

Professors need positive feedback as much as students. Anti-intellectuals in America's classrooms, legislatures and society too often respond with negative scorn; few teachers receive formal teaching awards. My infrequent nominations invariably come from students I have collaborated with in active learning--classroom role playing, Model U.N., and intercollegiate debate.

During training sessions in the computer lab, students at varying stages of computer literacy all learn, as do I. The palpable joy of first time web surfers discovering new electronic information resources considerably exceeds the enthusiasm I observe in their classroom listening and notetaking. The more advanced users generously offer to help fellow students and occasionally teach me new navigation skills. Our travel together has only begun with the initial visit. As their horizons expand, several students on their own initiative have sent new website addresses to update my homepage links. What a morale boost for an aging professor to rediscover that excited students want to be taught and can return the favor.

Our department provides students with an anonymous course evaluation form that solicits a rating of the instructor from A to F on nine items. Seven of the 70 students in my two fall 1996 classes added positive comments about the internet, and one wrote a complaint. In response to item 7: Instructor's availability and willingness to assist students, my greatest admirer awarded an A++ and wrote: "Offered training class on use of internet. No other non-computer professor is so willing to help learn new technology." Other bouquets included:

However positive, it is unlikely that such comments would satisfy U.C's upcoming accreditation review by the North Central Association.

Twenty-nine students from the winter international organization class completed a specially prepared evaluation form that offers a more systematic assessment. Several students complained that late notice made it difficult to prepare, recommended scheduling earlier in the term, and wanted full participation by all rather than by selected volunteers. Other students had problems getting on-line and lamented the inadequacy of campus computer labs. Two students noted the waste of ink for printing pages with graphics and wanted a "text only" downloading option. Despite the problems, most regarded on-line interaction as worthy of increased use, and only one student strongly objected. About half used email for the exercise. All but a few students awarded "A"s and "B"s on all points, and the written comments offer strong support for the case study method. The exercise won highest marks for enhancing knowledge and comprehension while stimulating interest and effort. Students awarded good but lower grades in response to questions about developing critical thinking skills and promoting collaboration.

Using the web also opens the door to feedback from around the world. A student member of Harvard's U.N. organizing committee discovered the ICJ problem shortly after it went on the web. A resulting email praised it as unique tool that would be recommended to students preparing for Model ICJ. Another unsolicited compliment came from a faculty member at Earlham College. U.C. alumni who found my homepage have sent emails updating me on their whereabouts while recalling their best memories from the undergraduate experience. Several colleagues on campus commented favorably on the exercise following demonstrations offered by the U.C. Center for Academic Technology.

Naturally not all students are completely delighted with demands for mastery of a new tool. Some apparently have sworn never to give up traditional methods. Others who try the new technology become understandably frustrated when time is wasted. Servers go down, access is denied, personal computers crash, and tempers flare. The web grows cluttered with outdated links, unverifiable information, and excess material. Unless used frequently, access skills must be relearned for a brief visit to the web that may not seem worth the effort. The overall benefits acknowledged by students nevertheless make it more than worth the expense to fulfill the cliché about journeying together on a voyage of discovery.

V. A Cost Benefit Analysis

Internet use should not be so strongly expressed because of the lack of computers on campus. Many students are unable to access class computers.

Anonymous U.C. student complaint

How much does it cost to use the ICJ web problem? The answer varies considerably depending on different universities' commitment to electronic communication. As construction continues on the information superhighway, most universities maintain computer labs that should be sufficient for individualized role playing with the ICJ problem. Neither faculty nor students require access to the internet from a home computer and modem. Email is only needed if the case is used for group simulation and peer communication outside of class. Although my course is not identified as one with a computer lab fee, all students had internet access through U.C. equipment maintained at the main library, the computer center, the college and the department. All students now have an email address assigned, and there also is a single address for each class.

Instructors using the exercise should have a color monitor and personal computer linked to the web in either their university or home office, preferably both. The PC should have at least 8MB of RAM to run a web browser, and 16 to 32 MB for multimedia production software as well as disk and CD-ROM drives. IBM compatible PC platforms dominate the market, but Apple Macintosh loaylists persist. Prices vary enormously; mail order vendors offer the best package deals for $2,000 and up.


For each of the specified goals students made anonymous ratings on an A to F scale
1. enhancing knowledge and comprehension of the ICJ, Bosnian situation, treaty law, etc. 17 12
2. developing critical thinking skills of questioning, analysis and application 12 13 4
3. promoting effective collaboration with other students in problem solving 12 11 6
4. fostering improved electronic, written and/or oral communication skills. 11 14 2
5. stimulating interest in and effort to understand international law and organization 16 12 3
6. Overall value of the project as presented by the instructor for your major. 13 13 2 1

7. Did you use email for the exercise? 12 14
8. Was the ICJ case on-line interaction a better approach than the TNC simulation? 20 4
9. Was 2 weeks in a 10 week quarter for 3 cases too much class time? 4 23
10. Should more case problems be used in place of assigned text readings, or mid-term exam, or research paper. 22 3

Selected comments on the best and worst features of the ICJ case simulation:

Even less well endowed college may now be able to afford student internet access. At my small, rural college in the 1970s students had to access a mainframe at a neighboring urban university to perform cross tabulations and data analysis of Supreme Court justices' voting patterns. Today a powerful desktop computer that sells for under $5,000 can perform the same analysis with SPSS software; internet access requires only a modem connection to a phone line. Computer software for browsing the web is user friendly and available at little or no cost. Netscape Navigator can be downloaded free at universities in the "edu domain," and Microsoft Internet Exporter can be obtained at no charge.

In-class demonstration to introduce the web exercise requires expensive equipment and is not really necessary. As an introduction to the initial display screens, title pages could be printed, copied, and either distributed or presented on overhead transparencies. If a live demonstration is desired, the class could be rescheduled into a room specially equipped with computers and/or projectors where the instructor could show how to begin the role playing. Alternately it might be possible through a well equipped media services department to obtain a lap top computer and LCD compatible presentation projector for an in-class demonstration. Projectors that are relatively portable range in price from $5,000 to $10,000.23

Once an institution or individual has invested in the appropriate technology, instructional materials on the web become cheaper than printed texts. Internet cases are freely discoverable for a continually growing audience of individuals unfamiliar with problem solving methods. Appendix I lists several useful websites. Educational mulitmedia disks with interactive exercises that can be done without internet access may also be more cost effective than cases in hard copy.

The current era of faculty downsizing may well be accompanied by increased opportunities for active learning on the internet. The Ohio legislature, Board of Regents and university central administration have sent mixed messages about the relative importance of teaching, undergraduate education and research excellence. The U.C. administration has supported General Education reform and launched initiatives on pedagogy, technology, and globalization. U.C. will join the larger institutions as a charter member of Internet 2 that will provide speedier transmission. Our current AAUP contract provides $1.5 million annually for faculty development, and my summer seminar award included $3,000 for a computer upgrade and software. Ultimately every school which can afford the expense may wire all classrooms, faculty offices, and dorm rooms for internet access. Computer kiosks for email may replace some public telephones.

Time costs may also be decisive. Considerably less time is needed to use cases developed by others than it takes to prepare original instructional materials. Junior faculty may nonetheless face tenure demands for research publications that prevent them not only from developing but also from learning how to use new interactive methods. For many academics, "pedagogy" is a dirty word for time spent that does not earn merit pay.

Unless the university provides training for the uninitiated, instructors may need to spend an hour or more treating computer phobia in group or individualized orientation to the internet. If internet savvy students are willing to show off their knowledge, a buddy system might reduce the demand on faculty time. Once on-line, students should be able to complete the ICJ exercise and print out several pages in no more than forty-five minutes. Instructors will need little time to review printouts, especially for students who have repeated the exercises to obtain perfect scores. Additional time for research or writing on the case depends on how much the instructor chooses to assign and then read.

Role playing by individuals on-line can deliver only some of the educational dividends possible with group simulation of the ICJ case. An active learning approach requires a reallocation of student time away from traditional readings and lecture. An hour spent on-line doing a case can not be spent in more intensive study of a lengthier text. Instructors who use the case for in-class moot court must forego the greater substantive content included in a fifty minute lecture.

Instructors could arrange a simulated ICJ hearing in classes with as few as five and as many as forty students. In the smallest classes, one to three student judges and one or two counsel for each party would be sufficient. Instructors in larger classes could assign up to sixteen student advocates in four co-counsel pairs, up to fifteen regular ICJ judges, and two ad hoc jurists appointed by Bosnia and Yugoslavia. Separate two member litigation teams for each party would prepare oral argument on four different issues in the dispute--treaty succession, scope of the Genocide Convention, ICJ review of Security Council actions, and applicability of the Geneva conventions. Additional roles could be assigned to media representatives who might write press releases, press accounts or editorial commentary on the proceedings. Appendix I lists some major conferences on faculty development for those seeking opportunites for improved teaching with cases and computer literacy.

VI. Conclusions from Experience

[T]eachers would find their own work less of a grind and strain if school conditions favored learning in the sense of discovery and not in that of storing away what others pour into them;

John Dewey

What if anything does the computer assisted ICJ problem add to the traditional case method? Are the extensive commitments in both time and money cost effective? The fringe benefits of introductory on-line experience are unquantifiable--links to related primary source material and email interaction with instructors and peers in cyberspace. Faculty have only begun to tap the extraordinary instructional potential of the new communication highway. Distance learning classrooms and "See me See You" software for video transmission will enable instructors to conduct simulations involving students in remote locations. For several years now Model U.N. competitions on the internet have engaged university teams from around the world in late night negotiations.

The internet like the printing press or TV satellites can be used for good or ill. Making the best use of technology may combat the worst abuses, enhancing intellectual development rather than dumbing down. Given sufficient off line interaction with peers and the instructor, individual time spent on-line with the ICJ genocide problem can improve student's knowledge and critical thinking skills. The limited choice format of computer assisted role playing can develop analytical and application skills, but an unstructured simulation more effectively cultivates the ability to synthesize and do normative reasoning. Dewey strongly encouraged the integration of teaching skills and ideas. "The parceling out of instruction among various ends such as acquisition of skill (in readings, spelling, writing, drawing, reciting); acquiring information (in history and geography), and training of thinking is a measure of the ineffective way in which we accomplish all three."24

Computer programs are no more impersonal than a printed text, and both can be enlisted in collaborative learning communities that depend on interacting with fellow students. Communication on-line has created a new link with my students that has stimulated unprecedented conversations about their intellectual and personal development. Cyberspace has ample room for new learning communities that are difficult to create at a large, urban commuter campus. If they were alive today, is it that hard to imagine Socrates engaging John Dewey in a dialogue on the internet? Interactive web exercises are no panacea, but the potential for intelligent use appears well worth the cost.


Quasi-Hypothet: After Hutu genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, the Tutsis won control of Rwanda's government. Hutu refugees fled to neighboring Zaire where U.N. workers provided humanitarian relief. Native Tutsis in Zaire have now killed many refugees as part of a military campaign to secede and become indpendent. The government army has counterattacked.

Questions % of 30 Students
With Correct Answers
#1. What could the U.N. do to punish individual Tutsis in Zaire for acts of genocide?50%
#2. If requested by Zaire, could the world court order the U.N. workers to leave the country?43%
#3. Could the ICJ hold Rwanda's Tutsi government responsible for genocide against Hutus in Zaire?63%
#4. If the ICJ hears the case, what additional judges would be appointed?80%
#5. Is there any immediate response to the fighting the court could make?30%

No. Correctly
By Co-counselBy Other StudentsTotal Students


  1. An in class, group simulation following individual internet role playing can extend student's learning beyond comprehension achieved with readings and lecture:

    1. Students gave more correct responses to questions #3 and #4 about procedures and issues that were dramatized in the simulation than to questions #1 and #5 on items explained only in lecture and background reading material on the web.
    2. The individuals who simulated the roles of co-counsel in class answered more questions correctly than students who simply observed their debate after completing the internet role play.

  2. A problem solving approach demands higher level cognitive skills.

    Students gave more correct responses to questions #3 and #4 that involved simpler comprehension of ICJ procedures than to questions #1, #2, and #5 which required higher analytic skills. As students seek answers for a slightly different hypothetical problem, the Bosnia precedent may or may not apply. In answering #2, acceptable reasons might be offered to conclude either that the ICJ could or could not order U.N. workers out of Zaire. The sole graduate student in the course, although she did not play a role in the class simulation, was the only one to answer correctly all five questions.

  3. The instructor learns new possibilities from student problem solving.

    In answers to #2 I had expected students to cite the ICJ's restraint in both Libya's appeal and Bosnia's challenge to the arms embargo. Instead, those who invoked Charter Article 2(7) on domestic jurisdiction persuaded me that the ICJ might reach a different result in the Zaire problem.

  4. A liberal faith in human intelligence and the instructor's best efforts can not educate all of the students all of the time.

    A sense of humility and humor sustains my ego when four students stated the ICJ could conduct criminal prosecutions of individuals, four believed the world court could order an arms embargo, economic sanctions or both, and that the Secretary-General would be appointed a judge.


In my only prior effort to write a case study, the internet facilitated access to an extraordinary range of information required to complete a problem on human rights in India.25 My work on the ICJ genocide problem began with the same background research. It took several weeks to write and organize the text following the "Courtroom Challenge" model. Next I learned how to transform my problem text into an interactive exercise on the web at at a two week U.C. faculty summer institute on multimedia production. The first priority was to learn hypertext markup language (html) to create pages on the web for the document I had prepared on a word processor. Clarisworks Homepage became a user friendly tool quickly mastered.

Then I was introduced to Adobe Photoshop a powerful tool for manipulating images. Unwilling to invest more time in lengthy training, I obtained a consultant's help in designing a colorful banner that combined images of Justice, the U.N., and flags of Bosnia and Yugoslavia. Together we custom designed a color map of the Balkans. On my own, I managed to grab a photograph of the ICJ off a U.N. homepage and to insert it in the case. The workshop consultants were eager that faculty acquire more familiarity with Power Point presentation and incorporate in their productions real audio, animation, and short motion picture video. After familiarizing myself with the all the technical possibilities, I concluded that additional "bells and whistles" would add little substance. In a new era of publishing on the web, faculty authors may find themselves undertaking responsibility for design, illustration and page layout previously performed by production staff at journals and university presses.26 Faculty who lack first stage skills of html editing and graphics page design should have the support of university technicians who can convert case materials into attractive web pages.

Making the exercise interactive requires a program to process, evaluate and grade the form which "counsel" use to make choices from eighteen response options.27 CourtTV would not share the Perl program used in scoring the "Courtroom Challenge," and I do not know any programming language. As a result, the ICJ web exercise made an early debut without any feedback component. Ultimately University of Cincinnati consultants designed an original Perl application that works well. To allow for a possible 100 point total, an advocate begins with ten points and receives five points for each one of the eighteen boxes correctly checked or left blank. After several months under construction, the ICJ web case was completed a day after the assigned date for the exercise on my fall course syllabus.

In order to evaluate response forms and provide graded feedback, the ICJ web pages must be maintained on a computer server that processes Perl. The server I used for my own homepage and email account could not be used. After an unsuccessful trial run on a server of the U.C. law library, the exercise found its final home on an instructional server maintained by the university's Center for Academic Technology (CAT). With active links from my homepage and the law library faculty reserves page, access is swift and direct (unless a server is down). Students whether on or off-campus are unaware which computers in which locations are performing different text or processing functions. Transmissions are considerably faster with modems on home computers by loading the text only; no images are needed to complete the exercise. Faculty interested in developing interactive simulations for processing on their university's server may obtain the Perl program for the ICJ exercise by contacting the U.C. consultant, David Solko.28

It should soon be possible to rewrite the processing component of the ICJ case from Perl into java script that would make the exercise completely portable on a disk, zip drive, or CD-ROM. That format would then make it available for use on either a MacIntosh or IBM compatible personal computer without a modem connection to the web.


Lilly Conferences on College and University Teaching offered by the International Alliance of Teacher Scholars, Inc. 414 S. Craig St., Suite 313, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 800 718-4287 Regional conferences in 1996-97 were conducted in New Hampshire, Oregon, California, Ohio, Maryland, and Georgia.

Pace University, previously in conjunction with the American Association of Higher Education, sponsors a summer workshop at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Rita Silverman and William Welty, Center for Case Studies in Education, School of Education, Pace University, 861 Bedford Rd, Pleasantville, N.Y. 10570.

EDUCOM is an annual fall conference on information technology in higher education.;

Writing Across the Curriculum workshops have trained faculty how to engage small student groups in shared discussion of in class compositions.