This semester I’m teaching two courses that are consuming most of my creative energy. The first is the introduction to IR course I’ve taught at least once annually for perhaps the last decade. You might think that I should be able to teach this subject on autopilot after so many years, but it’s usually where I do most of my experimentation. This semester I used Statecraft again but have introduced some new simulations of my own design. The person who wrote the book that forms the backdrop for these new simulations, Jessica Alexander, now works for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva. With the assistance of Skype and some of our audio-visual staff, I arranged a video call with her during class, which I did not announce to students beforehand. There were quite surprised to hear from the author of the book they’ve been reading, and there were no significant technical glitches during the call. So I’m putting that classroom event in the win column.
The second course that is requiring a lot of mental effort is a section of my university’s new first-year seminar. I’ll talk more about what I’m doing in this course in my next post.