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Tue, Oct 24, 2006

“Crisis at Fort Sumter” explores decision-making in government

“Crisis at Fort Sumter” is an interactive historical simulation and decision making program published in the early days of the net (ie 1996). Using text, images, and sound, the Tulane University-based learning object reconstructs the dilemmas of policy formation and decision making in the period between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and the battle of Fort Sumter in April 1861. The program primarily focuses on Lincoln, both as President-elect and as President. Viewers place themselves in Lincoln’s position, consider the events that transpire, and choose a course of action at five critical junctures, called “problems.”

At each of these five junctures, Lincoln made a decision that helped determine the outcome of the crisis at Fort Sumter. In order to assess each problem and make a decision, advice is available from official advisors, such as cabinet members, and from various informal channels, such as newspapers, friends, and public spokesmen. The program divides the information about the Sumter crisis into nine chronological sections. The text within the sections also contains hotword links that permit viewers to explore information in a topical rather than a chronological manner and commentary links that provide additional information including material about debates among historians about events, action, or people. The site also contains an extensive bibliography on the civil war. (description largely from a Merlot clearinghouse listing)

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Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 24 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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