2018 Summer Online – Politics 212: International Relations
Welcome to 212: International Relations: Week 1. During this short week, we’ll introduce online learning, we’ll introduce ourselves to each other, and we’ll take a first look at some international relations.
You saw the course’s main page (if you haven’t, please go back and start there). We’ll look at international relations from a range of perspectives. And you’ll have a chance to do you own inquiry into the topic of your choice. You’ll have multiple short assignments each week, and toward the end of the course you’ll write a longer paper you’ve been working on throughout the semester. We’ll discuss this.
It looks like we have a good class size – our 8 or 10 students is effective in a lot of ways. You should expect that we will have a lot of “discussion” – this means real engagement on everyone’s part, not just regurgitation. You know that we are “asynchronous” – that means we will never all be online (or at least, never have to be online) at the same time – you can be anywhere in the world and do your work at any time – so long as it is submitted by the deadlines.
If you haven’t already, please join our facebook group – I posted the link on our Blackboard > Announcements. If by law or for some other reason you are unable to have a facebook account, let’s discuss – email me using the email address I posted on our Blackboard > Announcements.
Each week we will have reading, writing, research, watching videos, and just thinking. The assignments might sometimes seem like a lot, but remember we only have a few weeks for the same three-credit course of a fall or spring semester.
Let’s begin by looking at what is online education. It continues to evolve, just as classroom teaching strategies do. I’ve been doing this a long time, I’ve taken and led training courses in online education, presented at academic conferences, etc. But no one knows everything. Your ideas on improving the course are always welcome. If you have any specific problems, please contact me immediately. Use the subject line “Politics 212” in every email you send me, please.
We start with a couple of videos. Watch all of Charli Carpenter and Pia Mancini. Watch at least the first seven minutes of the Clay Shirky videos – feel free to watch more, of course.
Charli Carpenter, Transnational Politics, i(I)nternational r(R)elations, and the Information Age – on teaching, scholarship, and Web 2.0 and 3.0 (2012) – (watch all eight minutes) – she focuses on the IR field, but it’s applicable to all social sciences – notice that this is from 2012 – what has changed / what has stayed the same since then?
Clay Shirky, “How Social Media Can Make History” (2009) – (watch at least first seven minutes) – this is now ten years old – again, what’s still new / what’s not
Clay Shirky, “How Cognitive Surplus Will Change the World” (2010) – (watch at least first seven minutes)
Pia Mancini, How to Upgrade Democracy for the Internet Era (2014) – (watch all 13 min – opens in new window)
Note: The idea that the Carpenter and Shirky videos are outdated is part of the point – the pace of technological change is related to the our study of political/economic change.
More on online learning itself:
APSA Teaching and Learning Conference 2014, “Short Course on MOOCs“, (J.Quirk, 20:20-24:46) – just this four and a half minutes, on massive open online courses (30,000 students, not eight students) – of course, you can watch more if you like – if you watch here, skip to 20:20
Ann Ferren Conference 2016, “Online Learning: What Students Want” panel – (1) read the Educause article, (2) see the powerpoint, (3) optional – but if you watch the first 5 minutes or so, you’ll get a decent sense of who I am and how I approach things – of course, you can watch more if you like. You probably need to turn your volume up louder for this video.
Finally, a short article from Marc Scott, “Kids Can’t Use Computers…and this is why it should worry you” (2013)
Intro to International Relations
Let’s start with a couple of easy articles that really give a sense of some of the basics of IR. Is the world a world of realism – states in anarchy, each seeking merely its own survival and security? Or is it something more like globalism (or liberalism, if we use that word carefully), where sometimes states compete for power but other times they decide that cooperation for things other than power is in their interest? Or is the world best characterized as some flavor of Marxist, with oppressors and oppressed – capital states and labor states (North and South? White and not?)? Finally, in a more recent approach to IR, is the world constructivist, made up of identities and ideas and interests other than simple power?
Let’s begin with these short articles, in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. You can access these articles when you subscribe – choose the student rate, and splurge for the print edition as well as online access.
These articles are all available here. We’ll get into each of these – and some other approaches – more deeply, but these will serve as good introductions.
Ok, your turn.
(1) By Wednesday night – Go to our facebook group, and introduce yourself (link is on Bb). A 30- to 60-second video is great, or just text if you prefer. Say your name and anything else you like – where you grew up, what you’ll be doing this summer, your favorite bike path, the novel you’re writing, what you’re great at growing or cooking, anything that says, “this is me.”
(2) By Friday night – you post below – yes, right here at the bottom of this page – two things that you heard or read in the materials above that you didn’t already know – something you learned that you think will make your online learning experience more effective, or about the IR articles. 300 or so words (combined / total) is fine. Most weeks we’ll be back-and-forth with each other, but this week just read each others replies, no need to respond. You should do this by this Friday night
(3) This week or next week you and I should have a short skype – maybe even just 5 or 10 minutes – I’ll post my link on Bb / fb so we can set that up
Thanks and I’ll be in touch this weekend. The work load really ramps up in the next few weeks – be ready and keep up – ok, let’s go !