Digital Ethnography

World Simulation Video

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After viewing the teaser I posted to YouTube, several people have requested a look at a full World Simulation video, so I posted the full 22 minute video from this past Spring semester. For those who are unfamiliar with the world simulation, it is a massive experiment in education created for (and by) my Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class at Kansas State University. Each semester I teach 200-400 students. They are divided into 14-20 groups and asked to create their own realistic cultures. We then work together to create the parameters that will allow us to simulate the past 600 years of world history, from colonization to corporate globalization, all in the span of 75-100 minutes. This video was created in a mad weekend of video-editing. We watch the video together and then discuss what worked, what didn’t, and why, and then we reflect on how the world works, our role within it, and how we can live in ways that create a better world. For more on the philosophy of the World Simulation, go here. For more on the basic rules, go here and here.
The video is in three parts:

Part One shows the basic setup and illustrates some of the basic symbolism used in the simulation:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Part Two shows the transition from colonization to globalization:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

And Part Three shows the conclusion:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

The simulation ends very differently each year as we allow it to run into the year 2100, giving students a chance to try out solutions to global problems that have emerged during the simulation.

I should also mention that we have also started experimenting with some really interesting add-ons, cell phones using 2D barcodes to expand the simulation beyond a single room, live “markets” using Google spreadsheets, the possibility of building a version inside Second Life and more. I’ll keep you all posted!


  1. Dave

    November 6, 2007

    For all three videos, I’m getting an error: “We’re sorry, this video is no longer available.”

  2. Lucas

    November 27, 2007

    Same as Dave, I am getting a no longer available messege. I am so eager to see this video.

    Is it posted anywhere else?

  3. James

    January 22, 2008

    Same message for me, and I’m guessing everyone else.

    I’d say they have been taken down so that the element of surprise is still there next bunch of students and the exercise isn’t ruined.

  4. Prof Wesch

    January 22, 2008

    Yes, they are taken down to maintain an element of surprise and to allow the next group to create new ideas without being influenced too much by previous classes. E-mail me for a download link to the video.

  5. Judy Gressel

    February 9, 2008

    May I have a download link to your video for the World Simulation?

    thank you,

    Judy Gressel
    librarian –Integrated Global Studies School
    Winnetka, IL

  6. Hadia Toor

    November 29, 2008

    I am a student in Pakistan and am interested in watching the complete video of your project. Kindly let me know how I might be able to see it as well.
    Thanking You,
    Hadia Toor

  7. Josiah Dermyer

    January 3, 2009

    Friend of Kevin the Champion’s brother Ben and would love to watch the full videos… Or come watch the final in person… Or enroll in the class sometime…

    I can haz download link?

  8. Natalie Lim

    March 30, 2009


    I would also like to download the link if that were possible.

    Thank you,


  9. Luca

    December 14, 2010

    I’m interested to watch the 3 video, if possible.
    i watch some of your other video on youtube and i found this website.
    i’m very curious about this project.

    An italian system administrator

    thank you,


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  1. Digital Ethnography: Professor Wesch releases 22 minute world simulation video class project « Identity Unknown06-21-07

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