Today I’m attending ISA’s inaugural Innovative Pedagogy Conference in St. Louis. Victor and I are doing a workshop on using games and simulations to teach political violence, showcasing activities like Survive or Die!, Prisoner’s Dilemma, Model Diplomacy, identity exercise, and others. But I’m most interested in reflecting on the session offered by Matthew Krain and Kent Kille of the College of Wooster on Assessment and Effectiveness in Active Teaching in International Studies. Their framework for formative assessment (that can, in fact, be transformative) is very helpful as an overall approach to teaching.Continue reading “(Trans)formative Assessment in Teaching”
I’m just back from the International Studies Association’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco, and it was a pedagogy bonanza! Great attendance at the pedagogy panels (even those held at off-times) and excellent discussion all around. One thing I love about us pedagogy types is a commitment to leaving plenty of time for Q&A and discussion, since everyone in the room has some expertise to share.
Victor Asal and I ran a new Career Course on Teaching the Intro Class. We focused on both intro to IR and comparative politics, covering such topics as what to do on Day 1, reading/text options, writing good exams and written assignments, classroom management, and of course, games and other activities to teach the material. Our participants had a ton of great ideas and insights.
On the panel on Theory and Practice in IR Teaching: Effectiveness, Political Engagement, and Active Learning, Marcelo Valenca of Escola de Guerra Naval discussed the changing nature and approaches toward pedagogical training in Brazil. He pointed particularly to the impact of the pedagogy workshops held by the College of Wooster’s Jeffrey Lantis, Kent Kille, and Mathew Krain as being instrumental in bringing change to that country. The Wooster Three were mentors of mine when I was in graduate school, so I wasn’t surprised but still pleased to learn about the far-reaching impact of their efforts.
I presented a paper on using a game-version of the television show Survivor to incentive my students to complete the readings, pay attention to current events, and learn geography. The results on the geography front were…not what I expected. Students who took a single, traditional Map Quiz performed much better than this students in the game that had regular, weekly practice in geography! But as we’ve said many times before, failure can be a useful learning tool and this has prompted me to really investigate the key variables about the game that may have hindered learning, so more on that in the future.
An audience member on that panel (Ian Manners, University of Copenhagen) pointed out the utility of using student-created learning modules as a way of engaging students in learning content at a high level. I love this idea, and i’m going to use it in my seminar on sex, marriage, and violence in the fall.
Finally, some conference news: ISA is holding its first Innovative Pedagogy Conference on November 15th in St. Louis, the day before ISA’s Midwest meeting. There will be a plenary, keynote speech by ISA President Patrick James, a graduate student teacher training certification session, and 8 workshops on subjects such as faculty led study abroad programs, designing curriculum, research literacy, civic engagement, assessment of active learning, publishing in the scholarship of teaching and learning, designing simulations, and using simulations and games to teach political violence. At least two members of Team ALPS (myself and Victor Asal) will be there, so please join us!
ISA now has a Professional Resource Center which includes a syllabi archive and a great site for finding some good simulations to use in your classes. You do have to be a member to access the PRC but consider sending in your materials for inclusion!
Finally, a note on submitting to ISA: the two sections that tend to sponsor ALPS-style papers and roundtables are Active Learning in International Affairs (ALIAS) and International Education. I’m section program chair for the latter, and talking with the program chair for ALIAS, we not that we don’t get a ton of first-round submissions. If you’ve thought about presenting a paper or organizing a panel or roundtable relevant to either section, please do so–we are eager for more submissions for next year’s conference in Toronto. There are also opportunities for Innovative Panels, Career Courses, and Flash Talks–check out ISA’s website for more details. Some topics that I know are of interest to my section include best practices in study abroad, transformations in higher education (particularly from a comparative perspective), the challenges of being a faculty administrator of international programs, and curricular design features for IR programs.
That’s it for now! As usual, conferences spur me into thinking in new directions for my pedagogy, and I’m excited to start putting some of these ideas into practice.
The APSA Centennial Center for Political Science and Public Affairs will host a two-day, teaching-oriented workshop for faculty in the field of international relations. The workshop is scheduled for October 20-21 and will be led by Joyce Kaufman (Whittier College) and Victor Asal (University at Albany – SUNY). A full description of the workshop and link to submit a proposal is here.
Please note that the deadline for submitting a proposal is August 6.
This week is the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association in Baltimore, Maryland. Most of ALPS will be attending, running workshops, participating in panels, and ready to talk all things pedagogy with our readers! Please do find us, let us know you read the blog, and what else you’d like to see us cover in the future.
A few places you can find us:
Michelle Allendoerfer will be presenting a paper on the NGOs as Key Stakeholders in Human Rights Promotion panel.
Victor Asal can be found co-facilitating the ISA Innovative Teaching Workshop on Simulations on Political Violence and presenting papers on two panels: Conflict Processes and Understanding Change in World Politics (with Corina Simonelli) and Avenues of Violent and Nonviolent Contention (with Kristian Skrede Gleditsch). He will also serve as a discussant on the Protecting Civilians and Preventing Violence in Peace Operations panel, and will play the role of Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah of Hezbollah in the ISA Syrian Civil War Simulation.
Nina Kollars will be on the roundtable on Disobedience, Resistance, and Transgression in Military Organizations and is presenting her work at the Barriers to Effective Cyber Operations panel. She can also be found playing the role of King Salman bin Abdelaziz in the ISA Syrian Civil War Simulation.
Chad Raymond will be running the ISA Innovative Teaching Workshop on ‘Teaching the World with Authentic Writing Assignments’ and presenting a paper on the Pedagogy for Transformative Learning and Global Engagement panel, both with Sally Gomaa.
Amanda Rosen is co-facilitating the ISA Innovative Teaching Workshop on Simulations on Political Violence, playing the role of Egypt’s President Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi in the ISA Syrian Civil War Simulation, and presenting two papers, one on the Universality of Rights Revisited panel, and the other on the Higher Education and Globalization panel. She’s also a discussant on the Innovations in Assessment of Active Learning panel.
Today we have a post from Victor Asal, University of Albany – SUNY:
Dear ALPSblog readers and writers,
I am writing to you as the new editor in chief of the Journal of Political Science Education (JPSE). The team of editors — myself, Mitchell Brown, Shane Nordyke, Joseph W. Roberts, Mark Johnson, and J. Cherie Strachan — would like to encourage you to submit manuscripts to the journal. The journal has become a important outlet for sharing ideas and knowledge about pedagogy in political science since its inception, and we would like to encourage further growth as the journal moves into being an Association-wide journal of the American Political Science Association. We also would like to make readers aware that the types of manuscripts that JPSE is looking for has widened and we believe that the variety of sections we now have in the journal will be of great interest to you both as readers and as contributors. We are continuing the tradition of JPSE of publishing articles devoted to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, but we are expanding the reach of the journal to include case studies, examples of useful approaches to teaching, and reflections on teaching from a variety of perspectives. Specifically we are looking for:
- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (editors: Mitchell Brown and Shane Nordyke): Submissions should use the highest standard of evidence in writing about evidence-based approaches to teaching practices and encourage assessment of such teaching and practices. Submissions can be diverse in terms of topic, analytic approach, and levels of analysis, but must maintain systematic methodological approaches. Length of manuscript may range from 3,000-8,000 words, and research notes between 2,000-5,000 words. Authors of accepted papers will be required to make datasets publically available online through their choice of venue or provide a compelling rationale if they are unable to do so.
- Political Science Instruction (editor: Joseph Roberts): Submissions should focus on innovative teaching cases that discuss useful pedagogy, including strategies, games, and experiential learning in teaching political science to diverse audiences. They should also be organized around real classroom problems and potential solutions. Submissions may range in length from 2,000-4,000 words.
- Reflections on Teaching and the Academy (editor: Mark Johnson): Submissions should be from experienced scholar-teachers that focus on reflections on timely and important teaching topics that include transitioning between institutional types, teaching under-prepared students, training graduate students for teaching careers, and other issues. Submissions may range in length from 1,000-2,000 words.
- Books, Teaching Tools, & Educational Resources (editor: J. Cherie Strachan): Submissions should help readers identify available new books, software and resources, and to improve classroom and co-curricular learning experiences through reviews of textbooks, pedagogy tools and other related resources. Submissions may range in length from 500-2,000 words.
If you have any questions, such as whether a topic is appropriate for the journal, feel free to email me or the editor of the section you think is the best fit for a submission.
With our latest workshop all safely put to bed, myself, Victor, Amanda and Chad took some time to sit down and talk about what we’d covered and discovered during their time here in the UK. You can listen to the results on our latest podcast.
We talk about the differences in US and UK universities, how we adapt ideas to new situations and about our future plans. And Shot Jenga (which I am totally trying to fit into a class).
Thanks again to the PSA/APSA for their generous funding which made it all possible.
There’ll be more posts from us in the coming days on what we covered, so do keep an eye out for them.
It’s only a couple of days until we get to run our PSA/APSA sponsored workshop here at Surrey, so it’s a whirl of organisation around here.
Since I’m going to get everyone to try and chip in some thoughts as we go, I’m not going to dwell too much on the planned activities, but instead think about the potential dynamics that might arise.
While some of us very cosmopolitan, it’s also the case that others of us haven’t crossed the pond too often (at least to judge by someone’s queries about ATMs, sockets and mobile telephony standards).
I recall when I first met the ALPS people, back in New Mexico in 2011, I was also largely unaware of what to expect or of how things were. For me, it was a very liberating experience. Continue reading “Fish out of water?”
Most of the ALPS team reunites this weekend for the APSA’s Teaching and Learning Conference in Portland, Oregon. As usual, we are all on the Simulations and Games Track, sharing the latest on new games and simulations for teaching political science and discussing principles of design, evaluation, application, and assessment.
A few highlights so far:
–Victor Asal’s ‘Running Game’, which has students race to the front of the classroom facing an increased series of structural constraints (in the form of TAs given a head start). It’s a quick exercise that helps explore issues of structure, rational action, culture, and grievance.
–Michelle Allendoerfer worked with two undergraduates to create a multi-day comparative politics simulation looking at state building in a region of ethnic division and scarce resources.
One request we here at ALPS received at TLC was to create a page that indexed all the various games, simulations, and class exercises that we’ve posted over the years on the blog so that they are more readily accessible for folks. We’ve gone ahead and done just that–the page, accessible from the home page of ALPS or this link, now has a fairly comprehensive list of everything we’ve covered, plus some we have not. The various posts are organized by category–American Politics, IR/CP, methods, theory, etc– for your quick reference. Hopefully our readers–whether long time or just arrived–will find the page useful for tracking done an exercise or game on a particular topic in political science.
This blog was born out of a slightly-drunken conversation at the American Political Science Association’s Teaching and Learning Conference in Albuquerque, back in 2011. As such, TLC has a special place in the hearts of ALPSblog members, especially because the professors among us are so generous with buying us a fancy dinner [cough].
With all this in mind, it is with a happy heart that we note TLC 2015 is finally announced for 16-18 January in the fair city of Washington DC.
All of us have found the format a particularly useful one for properly discussing our work and building networks. By spending three days with the same stream of colleagues, there is a lot of opportunity to really get into the fine detail and to reflect on the linkages between papers.
Because we’re us, we haven’t yet sorted out if we can all go, but then again the call for papers isn’t open yet either, so let’s say we’re appropriately positioned. However, if you can join us, then we’d love to meet more of our readership, especially me, so do pencil it into your diaries now.