Welcome to the Active Learning in Political Science © (ALPS) blog. Our mission is to:
- Evaluate simulations, games, and other tools for active learning so that instructors can use them with a minimum of fuss.
- Train educators and other professionals in the use of effective pedagogy.
- Analyze issues related to higher education.
ALPS was founded in 2011 by Chad Raymond, Simon Usherwood, Amanda Rosen, Nina Kollars, and Victor Asal in an attempt to create a space to share, discuss, and innovate methods and ideas for teaching in political science and international relations. The five founders met at the American Political Science Association’s Teaching and Learning Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and discovered a shared interest in simulation and game design and use, and ALPS was born five months later.
While our team’s background is primarily in political science, international relations, and European studies, much of what we do is relevant to teaching and academia writ large, and we regularly train and provide consulting services for education professionals.
We are looking for regular and guest contributors. Posts should be 450-600 words in length and in a non-academic writing style that clearly conveys essential information. Posts might be edited by us for style and content prior to publication. We prefer material that has not been previously published in digital form. Submissions can be sent to us at email@example.com. Writers specializing in fields outside of political science, such as history, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, art, and art history, are especially welcome.
If you are interested in becoming a regular contributor to ALPS, please submit your c.v. and information on areas of writing interest in addition to a draft post. Regular contributors are expected to provide posts on a monthly basis at minimum on topics in higher learning and pedagogy. We also encourage people to submit ideas for writing a defined series of posts on a particular subject.
Meet the ALPS team
Dr. Chad Raymond, professor of political science and international relations, Salve Regina University. In addition to teaching comparative politics, international relations, and political economy, he has been a department chair and associate director of a graduate program. He was the managing editor of ALPS until 2024.
Dr. Simon Usherwood, The Open University. Simon is a National Teaching Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy and has done lots of different things, including being Associate Dean for Learning & Teaching. He has extensive expertise on comparative and European politics. His primary interest is in the use of simulation games in higher education and negotiation. He has produced various web-based resources on these and other topics.
Dr. Amanda Rosen, associate professor and Associate Director of the Teaching Excellence Center at the US Naval War College. Amanda teaches international relations, American politics, research methods, and environmental politics. She is a lifelong gamer and enjoys exploring how games and role-playing exercises can enhance learning in the classroom. She is the recipient of multiple teaching awards. Rosen’s posts are her own personal opinion and do not represent the views of the US Naval War College or the Department of Defense.
Dr. Cathy Elliott teaches in the Political Science department at UCL and is a co-founder and co-Director of the UCL Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics. She is also Vice Dean of Education in the Social and Historical Sciences Faculty at UCL, co-Convenor of the Political Studies Assocation Teaching and Learning Network, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She just loves teaching and particularly working with the grain of students’ own creativity, passion, imagination and desire to learn. Expect to read about outdoor learning, object-based learning, portfolios, social annotation, and challenging everyone’s fixation on grades.
Dr. Jennifer Ostojski is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. She teaches courses in International Relations and European Union Studies. Her research focuses on European Union integration, European identity, and teaching in Political Science. Most of Jennifer’s posts will cover teaching activities she tries out in her own classes and musings about students, learning, and how to improve the learning environment. Additionally, she is also part of the editorial team at the public-facing journal EuropeNow.
Dr. James “Pigeon” Fielder, instructor, Colorado State University. Pigeon joined CSU after retiring from the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and Associate Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Pigeon researches trust and emergent political processes through cyber-based interaction and through tabletop, computerized, and live-action gaming, as well as the politics of science fiction and fantasy literature. He is also the Director of Professional and Educational Games for Mobius Worlds Publishing, an associate editor of Simulation & Gaming, and on the editorial board of The MORS Journal of Wargaming.
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