Flipped Presentation (Session A)

Dr. Chris McInerney, University of Limerick, Ireland

Abstract: The way in which students of international relations/development are prepared for work in the field of international aid is largely unknown and underexplored, with limited evidence in academic literature that third level education courses consciously attend to preparing for the practice, profession and personal challenges of being an aid worker.  Those for whom development is a deliberate or accidental career choice often complete their education with limited knowledge/understanding of the implications of working in a developing country, placing them in a political, cultural, values and personal contexts that are largely unfamiliar and indecipherable to them. This paper/presentation describes one effort to bridge this gap, presenting and analysing two iterations of a simulation exercise undertaken as part of a module on development practice and programme management. Using detailed feedback from students and facilitator reflection it attests to the importance of incorporating problem based, simulation exercises as part of the teaching/learning repertoire.

Relevance / Set-up: In order to share our experiences, this paper / presentation will firstly set the broader context for the use of simulations, with particular reference to the links and gaps between third level education and applied, professional contexts.  It will then go on to describe and share the mechanics of the simulations including:

  • Its location and set up;
  • The simulation roles assigned to students;
  • The education technology tools used to enable and support the learning process;
  • The approaches taken to the facilitation and scaffolding of the simulation, involving one ‘in the field’ practice facilitator, one university based academic facilitator and education technology specialists;
  • Student and facilitator learning from the simulation, drawing on two years of feedback and reflections.

Finally, some conclusions and suggestions for simulation enhancement are presented and shared.

Dr. Jan Niklas Rolf, Ms. Jessica Jung, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, DE

Abstract: We would like to share our first-hand experience with a simulation of EU asylum policy that we are offering on a biannual basis to 50-60 undergraduate students of International Relations. The simulation seeks to deepen students’ understanding of the EU’s legislative process and to introduce them to the current and controversial issue of asylum policy. Students simulate the three stages of the EU’s Ordinary Legislative Procedure, negotiating a distribution key for the relocation of refugees and a common list of save countries of origin, among other things. The simulation is accompanied by an input part, where experts are invited to talk about the legal aspects of asylum policy, and a reflection part, where students are asked to compare the simulation (outcome) to reality.

Relevance / Set-up: In our interactive and multimedia-based presentation, we want to provide conference delegates with our overly positive experience of a simulation of EU asylum policy. As we have been running this simulation for several years now, continually evaluating and revising it, we would like to reflect on our lessons learned and draw attention to possible pitfalls. In addition, we would like to present the various means (newspaper, poster, election spot, draft law, etc.) and methods (jigsaw, political talk show, election, excursion, etc.) that we have come to employ in the simulation. This should be of interest to anyone with the aim of designing and conducting simulations or role plays for students of International Relations.

Keywords: simulation, role play, ordinary legislative procedure, European Union, asylum policy, refugees.

Dr. Javier Sierra, University of Salamanca, Spain

Abstract: This activity simulates an International Summit. Students from three countries (Spain, United States and China) are assigned to different groups in a twofold way: as regards their country of origin; and as regards five economic sectors were public intervention is highly relevant. The economic situation of every country is defined by four economic objectives proxied by four economic variables. A starting point and a set of goals are then assigned to each country. The simulation is structured into six altern&& rounds: three focused on national priorities, where students from the same country define a public spending strategy; and three focused on economic sectors, where students negotiate with other countries to undertake international transactions. Students may choose among a set of limited economic interventions, and every intervention generates effects on two economic variables. After six rounds, the country reporting the closest scenario to the fixed goals wins the simulation.

Relevance / Set-up: I will present this teaching method and explain it in further detail. If possible, I will be pleased to organize the simulation to show other participants how it works and what are the main skills developed with this exercise.

Keywords: CLIL, international relations, economics, simulation, critical thinking.

Flipped Presentation (Session B)

Alexandra Mihai, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany

Abstract: Educating students in public policy implies bringing them out of the academic ivory tower and having them engage with real life processes in a professional environment. Project-based learning can be a useful complement to more traditional, theory-based approaches, providing an opportunity to bridge the gap between academia and the labour market. The Hertie School of Governance has been offering Project Courses as part of the Master in Public Policy curriculum since 2012. Students work in small groups on concrete projects, under the guidance of a partner organization alongside the course convener. After five years, the format is currently being revisited with the aim of ensuring more coherence and quality control. This paper looks into the challenges of the curriculum redesign in the case of the Project Courses. It aims to provide practical recommendations on designing a viable educational setup for engaging both students and practitioners and facilitating their collaboration.

Relevance / Set-up: Discussing this paper will bring about several topics relevant for a pedagogical approach that involves practitioners and students working in groups on a “real life” project. First of all, the role of the teacher in this context is that of a coach, a facilitator of the learning process. Secondly, the relation with and the level of involvement of the partner organization (be it from the public, private or non-profit sector) are critical for the smooth and effective running of the course. Thirdly, as this type of course differs both in nature and in structure from the rest of the curriculum, it is very important that a thorough quality assurance mechanism is put into place; this needs to take into account and support the specificity and diversity of the courses while providing a reliable overarching framework at the level of learning objectives and assessment criteria. Getting various perspectives on the topic would greatly contribute to the overall debate.

Keywords: public policy, project-based learning, professional, practitioners.

Ms. Camille Amilhat, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France

Abstract: How can a teacher capture students’ attention and trigger their participation on topics related to public institutions? The direct observation of a project involving the teaching of judicial institutions in civic education in two classes of a French high school, along with several interviews with the students’ teacher, has enabled the analysis of different innovative, participatory and adaptive methods. This observation has also led to the analysis of the positive effects of such practices -which were executed in class, field trips as well as during a speech contest- on students’ receptiveness. Nevertheless, strengthening and weakening of these effects have been highlighted depending on the social background each student has experienced in their school environment or in their primary socialization and depending on the composition of the group.

Relevance / Set-up: This paper illustrates multiple forms of teaching methods that make students more involved from participatory classes to speech contest including a court visit and a meeting with a lawyer. It enables teachers not only to hand down knowledge on judicial institutions but also to help students develop public speaking skills and to inform them on legal professions.

This paper focuses on the positive and the differential effects of innovative teaching methods on student participation by combining direct observation, interviews with the teacher and the study of sociological and academic profiles of students. It also raises awareness on the fact that teaching cannot do everything and that it is crucial to take other factors into consideration such as the influence of the school environment -positioning regarding peer groups and class or group contexts- as well as student socialization.

Keywords: student participation, receptiveness, participatory teaching methods, speech contest, social experiences, school environment, public institutions.

Prof. Black Hawk Hancock, DePaul University, U.S.

Abstract: The forces of marketization, the commodification of knowledge, the disappearance of state funding, and the demand for “practical skills” define the contours of many universities and colleges in the United States. These forces have changed the ways social scientists work, forcing re-examination of their role and relevance for the function of the university and society. This paper outlines the role social scientists play in educating students for active citizenship in civil society. Active engagement with public life depends on the ability to communicate, interpret, explain, and critique the social world. In order to capture the triangulation of social forces, practices, and perceptions of the actors involved, a multi-methods approach is required. A multi-methodological approach across the curriculum provides the gamut of tools to arm our students, while simultaneously reinscribing the necessity of the social sciences to remain at the core of university life.

Relevance / Set-up: Drawing on the U.S. context, this paper contributes to the discussion on the relevance of the social sciences from a teaching and learning perspective to maintain a central role and relevance within the life of the university. The necessity for the discipline to change in response to neoliberal forces must rekindle the idea of “need” within the social sciences. This need that can only be fulfilled by providing the multi-methodological training focusing on issues of validity, reliability, and generalizability across the curriculum to capture the multifaceted and complex perspectives of social reality. This paper provides a set of arguments for the enduring relevance and significance of the social sciences in educating students as critically engaged, numerate, and informed citizens for the shared democratic life and the health of the U.S. and beyond.

Keywords: civil society, mixed-methods, qualitative, quantitative, relevance, teaching.

Flipped Presentation (Session C)

Ms. Dorothy Duchatelet,  Dr. David Gijbels, Dr. Peter Bursens, Dr. Vincent Donche, Dr. Pieter Spooren, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Abstract: Role-play simulations of decision-making are being used in contexts of IR, EU studies or comparative politics. They can be course-embedded, extracurricular or hybrid and as such strive for different learning objectives. Since decades, their use has been increasing. However, to date, researchers have been struggling to grasp their effect on student learning outcomes. The current study wants to systematically identify, synthesize and discuss characteristics of role-play simulations of decision-making as a learning environment and to evaluate their effect on student learning outcomes. To this aim, the MISTER-model (Model for Investigating Simulation-based Teaching Environments and their Results) is presented. Material for this review was systematically searched from the following databases: Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). Results show a rich diversity in simulation environment and specify struggles in capturing simulation effects.

Relevance / Set-up: The current contribution presents a state-of-the-art that might be useful in several ways. The presented MISTER-model is applicable for evaluating current simulation-practices but also for designing new practices. Above all, it initiates a more systematic reporting on simulation-practices and their effects. Also, it opens up the discussion about the richness of these learning environments and how their complexity could be measured in a methodologically sound way.

Keywords: simulations, decision making, state of the art. 

Prof. Bruce Wilson, Prof.  Kerstin Hamann, Prof. Philip H. Pollock , University of Central Florida, U.S., Prof. Rebecca A. Glazier, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, U.S.

Abstract: Increasingly, college students are taking courses in a variety of instructional formats. How might this new reality of diverse modalities affect student success? Does a greater or lesser proportion of online classes in a student’s course load lead to different levels of success? And how might these outcomes be conditioned by demographic variables such as age and gender? We explore these questions using data from 761 students in the Political Science Department at a large public university. Our findings indicate that overall student success varies by the specific mix of course delivery modalities students are enrolled in and is conditioned by demographic variables. The data show that younger female students tend to do well with any mix of course modalities, but older male students are less successful as they take a greater proportion of their courses online. These results indicate that a changing academic culture regarding online education may not affect all students equally.

Relevance / Set-up: Many faculty are teaching online or in mixed mode formats without any understanding of how students are learning (or not) in those modalities. But we don’t know much about whether different demographic groups do equally well in online courses. Our study looks at age and gender as variables that influence the likelihood of course success in all the courses a student takes, online and face-to-face. Conference delegates can learn more about the effect of online education on the success rate of different student groups. This study offers a new perspective by looking at ALL of a student’s courses; most of the existing literature tends to focus on learning outcomes in just one online course or compares an online course with an equivalent face-to-face course.

Keywords: online learning, face-to-face instruction, gender, academic culture.

Dr. Thomas Doleys, Kennesaw State University, Georgia, USA

Abstract: Now, more than ever before, political science faculty have something to say about teaching and student learning. More workshops are being held, more conference panels convened, and more SoTL-focused manuscripts are finding their way into peer-reviewed journals than at any time in the past. But, is anyone listening? Specifically, are faculty reading the growing volume of published SoTL scholarship in political science? And are faculty actually using insights drawn from research on the subject to enhance teaching and promote student learning? Interestingly, these are questions about which we currently know very little. In what is a first step to address them, we surveyed 5,600 political science faculty at colleges and universities across twenty (20) US states. The data, as we will share, are revelatory of a profession that is far from unified in its view of role and relevance of SoTL research.

Relevance / Set-up: I expect the questions asked in the project are of great interest to conference delegates. Many attendees have undoubtedly devoted a great deal of time and attention to scholarship whose goal is to promote student learning. The data we will share will give them the first large scale, systematic effort to measure the impact of that research…on fellow faculty. We explore a broad range of factors that might help us better understand who is – and who is not – engaging SoTL scholarship (e.g., age, gender, rank, seniority, teaching load, type of institution). Although the survey was distributed to only American political science faculty – and thus most directly reflect the state of the discipline in the US – I think the insights will be eye-opening to European-based faculty as well.

Keywords: SoTL, faculty engagement, survey.

Flipped Presentation (Session D)

Dr. Christopher Huggins, Dr Rebecca Richards, Keele University, UK

Abstract: Politics and international relations are diverse disciplines. Both are inherently inter-disciplinary, drawing on, among others, sociology, anthropology, economics, geography and business studies. This often leads to debate among scholars about the scope of these subjects. These debates in turn shape scholars’ perceptions of their subjects, their approaches to studying them. They also shape their approach to teaching and inform the design of curricula. While these debates continue little remains understood about students’ perceptions of the subjects they engage with. Drawing on a series of focus groups, this paper therefore explores students’ perceptions of ‘politics’ and ‘international relations’ as subjects of study. What do students think ‘politics’ or ‘international relations’ encompass? What interests them about these subjects? What were they expecting to be taught about when they started their course? And have students’ expectations of their courses been met?

 Relevance / Set-up: There is an inherent applied dimension to exploring and understanding student perceptions on the of ‘politics’ and ‘international relations’ and subjects of study. Understanding students’ perspectives and their expectations of politics and international relations courses allows for the design of curricula which account for student preferences. This, in turn, could lead to greater engagement by students, which itself would lead to higher levels of attainment and reduced failure and withdrawal rates.

Keywords: politics, international relations, student perspectives, course design.

Dr. Simona Davidescu, Dr. Dan Keith,  Dr. Robin Jervis, University of York, UK

Abstract: The literature on simulations focused on teaching European Union politics seems to be particularly well suited for making sense of a multi-level, multi-actor and consensual decision-making (Usherwood, 2012; Guasti et al, 2015). Challenging the dichotomy between the UK political system and the EU political system has been at the centre of our simulation design. We have run this simulation across two yearly modules at level two: ‘Politics in the UK’ and ‘European Union: Politics and Policies’ at the same time with the negotiations conducted by Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels. The design included a range of techniques: i) the integration and synchronisation of seminar topics, ii) the development of a joint VLE site, iii) the use of wikis; iv) a separate reading list and v) the design of posters.

Relevance / Set-up: This paper is a reflection on the outcome of the simulation exercise, using pre and post simulation questionnaires, and the creation of wikis and posters by students. The main relevance of the paper is to reflect on the challenges for teaching EU politics post-Brexit. On sharing this practice, I would like to use a poster stand for the outputs of the exercise and posters that were created by students in preparation for the simulation.

Keywords: Brexit, communication, education, European Union, experimental design, negotiation.

Dr. Anil Awesti, University of Warwick, UK

Abstract: The paper reflects on the experience of teaching a ’Politics of Brexit’ course amongst members of the public in a city which voted ‘Leave’. The Brexit referendum brought to the fore the developing ghettoisation of British society whereby social groups increasingly exist in ‘echo chambers’ in which social interaction is confined to likeminded others. A public engagement course exploring the politics of Brexit aimed to tackle such segregation and facilitate interaction between different social groups. As such, the course provided a space for the public to access previously hidden academic research and engage in interactive dialogues, peer learning and social mixing. In doing so, a process of greater mutual understanding between ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainers’ was witnessed across the duration of the course. As a result, the paper explores the role of universities in public engagement in an era in which ‘people in this country have had enough of experts’ (Gove).

Relevance / Set-up: The era of ‘post-truth’ politics and a seeming lack of public trust in expert knowledge poses a series of existential questions for individual academics and higher education institutions. As such, the question of how universities regain their legitimacy in the public sphere, particularly amongst disadvantaged communities, is of pressing concern. This paper shares and reflects on a model of public engagement through the teaching of politics. Colleagues will benefit from a discussion centred on the benefits and difficulties of running public engagement courses in terms of structure, content, tone, language and delivery methods. In doing so, we will broach the wider questions surrounding the processes of making universities more inclusive spaces and the responsibility of universities to provide arenas for social mixing as public spaces of social interaction disappear under the politics of austerity.

Keywords: Brexit, public engagement, higher education.

Dr. Viviane Gravey, Queen’s University Belfast, Ms. Anna Wambach, Newcastle University, UK

Abstract: our paper investigates how Brexit is affecting how the European Union is taught across the European Union (UK and EU27). Teaching European Studies has long been an exercise in teaching crises – from the ‘No’ votes to the Constitutional Treaty, to the Eurozone crisis, to the ongoing refugee crisis – and in discussing how the EU is, or is not, dealing with them. Is Brexit yet another crisis to incorporate into our teaching, or will it redefine how European Studies is taught?

The paper is built around two types of data: an online questionnaire circulated over the summer of 2017 and follow-up interviews with teachers in European Studies to discuss Brexit impacts on curriculum, methods, student engagement and the broader discipline.

Relevance / Set-up: we will use the flipped presentation model to organize group discussions with participants – on whether their experience matches what we found out, and to hear from how they are dealing with this (or similar) challenges in their teaching. Colleagues may profit from our contribution in the following ways:

  • Colleagues teaching European Studies will get to participate in a discussion on how Brexit is/should be reshaping the discipline, and hear from innovative developments from across the EU.
  • Colleagues, irrespective of their field, will get to engage in a discussion about how to deal with crises, recent developments and highly divisive topics in the classroom – with applicability beyond Brexit.

Best Practice Workshop (Session A)

Mr. Kristian Sram, Mr. Ondrej Pekacek, Mr. Petr Hedbávný,    Charles University Prague, CZ 

Abstract: Digital technologies have enriched teachers’ toolbox. However, they are frequently a source of distraction (McCoy 2016) and seem to exert an adverse effect on students’ participation (Taneja et al. 2015). To tackle these challenges, educators have been relying on practices such as laptop zoning (Aguilar-Roca et al. 2012), self-determination theory framework (Cheon and Reeve 2015) and gamification (de-Marcos et al. 2016). When used in line with the learning outcomes, game-oriented learning tools could increase participation of low-engagement students (da Rocha Seixas et al. 2016). We aim to present such learning tool, IMAGLEE playing cards, as a part of the gamification approach, but without the dependence on digital technologies. Multi-semiotic and pictogram-based, IMAGLEE has been adopted in classroom practice at several institutions of primary and secondary learning. We also plan to share our preliminary experience from the tertiary learning environment at the CIEE institute, Prague.

Set-up: The practical demonstration would involve the audience, which would form groups of 2-4 people. With the assistance of the IMAGLEE playing cards, each participant would explain a chosen concept from his/her field of expertise, with the focus on the emphatic communication. After about 10 minutes, we would proceed with a collective reflection of different learning strategies observed during the session. Finally, we would discuss the multidisciplinary aspects of IMAGLEE in the social-science teaching practice.

Keywords: classroom participation, offline gamification, teaching/learning strategies, pedagogical issues, IMAGLEE playing cards 

Prof. Alexandru Balas, State University of New York – Cortland (SUNY Cortland), US

Abstract: How to make a team-taught Intro to EU course a successful coordination endeavor when there are 7 professors from 7 disciplines as far apart as international studies and sport management and with one of the professors teaching from Europe using Webex (live video web-conferencing software)? How to create unity for such a team-taught course? How to deal with the strong personalities of the senior professors, who were chairs of their departments, when the course coordinator is a junior professor? This presentation will explore why such a course was designed and what were the lessons learned from 3 iterations of teaching this course at a small public liberal arts college in U.S. The aim of this presentation is to show the challenges and benefits of teaching about the EU by using the expertise of disciplines not usually associated with the EU (Art and Art History, Education for Individuals with Disabilities, Theater, and Sport Management).

Set-up: Conference delegates will learn about the challenges of implementing team-taught courses with a large number of professors. The plans may seem great but the implementation can be very difficult. That being said, students as well as the participating professors, can learn much more about the European Union by taking an inter-disciplinary view which goes beyond the usual ways in which Intro to EU courses are taught. Teaching a Intro to EU course in the United States at a liberal arts college requires a different approach than teaching about the EU in Europe.
Conference delegates will also learn about how to include COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) modules in their courses by using user-friendly software such as Webex, which allow for synchronous, face-to-face interaction between the overseas professors and the students in classroom.

Keywords: team-taught course, interdisciplinary, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

Dr. Ra Mason, University of East Anglia, UK

Abstract: This practice makes use of the University’s Senate Scale (categorized matrix used to define assessment criteria – see attached file) to explain to students how best to structure summative assessments (coursework), prior to submission. The challenge here is that many students are unclear as to precisely what all assessment criteria refer to in practical terms. By distributing the Senate Scale to students in a classroom environment and discussing each criterion in turn – including a group question and answer feedback session – this allows students both individually and collectively to more effectively comprehend, confirm and share their ideas about what is required to score highly on assessment pieces. Employment of this method resulted in a 5%-10% improvement of average marks on summative coursework assignments for the modules (courses) where applied.

Set-up: The session will be run with a very brief introduction to the tool used, followed by a mock session (demonstration), which puts the participants in the position of would-be students introduced to the pre-emptive feedback method. This will also include the question and answer session referred to above.

Keywords: feedback, summative assessment, formative assessment, shared understanding, assessment criteria

Dr. Tomasz Kaminski, University of Lodz, PL

Abstract: ‘Gamification’ is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. A few years ago, it became a hot topic not only in marketing but also in higher education. I welcomed this idea enthusiastically, hoping that I found a Holy Grail that allows me to engage my students in my classes in a way they are engaging in computer games.  After few years of practicing gamification, I am much less enthusiastic, much more aware of its limits but still convinced that it may be useful in academic teaching.

Set-up: The goal of my presentation is to explain major challenges that I met when gamifying my courses.  At first, I am going to briefly present the idea of gamification and its general principles. Then, I show how I applied those principles for my teaching in last 5 years (e.g. in frames of my Jean Monnet Project). On the basis of this I present lessons learned from my experience: mistakes in course designing, disputed effectiveness of gamified classes and ‘teacher fatigue” side effect. I end with some recommendations for those who thinks about gamifying an academic class. It is always better to learn from somebody’s mistakes.   

Keywords: gamification

Best Practice Workshop (Session B)

Dr. Simon Usherwood, University of Surrey, UK

Abstract: A challenge in teaching the EU is that there are a lot of moving parts, and it can be difficult to get students to integrate these, or even to see them in simultaneous operation. This session will share the author’s EU austerity exercise, which includes many elements that students might need to understand, including: two-level games, package deals, the tension between rational and emotional approaches to policy-making, and the impact of external actors. Designed for use in groups of at least 15 people, it also offers many paths for extension and development.

Set-up: By playing part of the exercise, delegates will get a sense of what it can do, and how it can be adapted for their use. Moreover, it highlights how you can make use of more stylised approaches to teaching such subjects, focusing on patterns of interaction rather than specifics of the EU itself.

Keywords: simulation, exercise, EU, decision-making

Dr. Melani Barlai, Andrassy University Budapest, HU

Abstract: When a team of political scientists at the Andrássy University Budapest developed the Hungarian voting advice application (VAA) in 2014 a research course for university students has also been designed with the objectives to bring applied political science closer to students, to motivate and provoke them, to deal with and discuss about political issues, while being actively involved in the VAA team. VAAs are online tools which help voters to compare their policy preferences with the positions of political parties on relevant policy issues. The course is divided in two parts. After a theoretical lecture the students get the opportunity to discuss the role and the effects of VAAs in Europe with the Hungarian VAA makers. The second and main part of the research seminar is about getting the students involve in the VAA making process. There they are given the task of developing a new questionnaire on relevant political issues while researching to and discussing about politics in groups.

Set-up: In my briefly presentation I would like to talk about how the lecturer of the Faculty of International Relations at the Andrássy University are using the Hungarian VAA political education tool for university teaching. My talk will focus on in which way our interactive teaching method is able to bring politics closer to students and how can it contribute to a balanced discussion culture within the student body. The first part of my presentation will introduce the Hungarian VAA, “Vokskabin” (www.vokskabin.hu) and its reputation among young people. In the second part I would briefly analyse and discuss our teaching experiences made by our next research course which we are going to hold in February and March 2018 as preparation for the next Hungarian parliamentarian election in April 2018.

Keywords: teaching method, VAA, hungarian politics, youth

Dr. Barbora Padrtová, Masaryk University, CZ

Abstract: The proper use of digital technologies in teaching can have a positive impact on achieving students’ results and their education. Through interactive engagement, students gain the opportunity to directly participate in learning, which at the same time increases their interest and motivation. The presentation will focus on the use of short video Skype calls with experts in the class and how this input can enrich the course. The aim of the presentation is to share best practices as well as potential pitfalls which the introduction of this element into teaching might bring.

Set-up: Incorporating of digital technologies in teaching might not always be an easy task. Through sharing of the best practices, the presenter will provide necessary information for the conference participants to be able to decide whether or not to use a Skype call as one of the teaching tools in the class. The presenter will also discuss the difficulty of preparing for the Skype calls in perspective of both the teacher and the students.

Keywords: Skype call, digital technology, interactive engagement

Ms. Claske Vos, Dr. Jamal Shahin, University of Amsterdam, NL

Learning Challenge: make students critically engage with the diverging perspectives on European integration. Used tool: Jigsaw method.

For each seminar:
1) three articles are selected that offer alternative interpretations of the theme discussed (i.e. explaining the EU financial crisis through the lens of neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism and social-constructivism);
2) students are divided in groups of three. One article is assigned to each person. Students prepare a few targeted questions in advance.

During each seminar:
1) students meet in expert groups with students that prepared the same article. They discuss answers to the questions, clarify uncertainties and come to definite answers;
2) then they reconvene in their jigsaw groups and present their insights to the other students that prepared articles with different perspectives;
3) Finally, they engage in a joined discussion about the different perspectives, their appropriateness and complementarity.

– The jigsaw-method creates a pleasant environment for discussion. It enables students to test their knowledge in the expert groups before sharing their insights in the jigsaw-group;
– students are forced to gain a good understanding of the concerning perspective as they have to explain it to their fellow students;
– choosing three different perspectives as explanatory model for one theme, shows that often more than 1 perspective holds valid in explaining European integration and that the appropriateness of 1 perspective over others, differs according to the theme in focus.

Set-up: A few students will be asked to explain the jigsaw method, how the method worked in practice, the advantages and disadvantages of this method and their ideas about improving this learning strategy. The responses of the students will be recorded and presented in a 10 minutes film. Some basic knowledge about the jigsaw method will be presented through visualisations.

Keywords: European integration theory, jigsaw-method, active participation

Dr. Claire Sutherland, Durham University, UK

Abstract: This is designed to encourage final year students to develop transferable skills while reflecting on and showcasing their learning through an exhibition on any aspect of the module topic, namely nations and nationalism. Skills include project planning, teamwork, distilling complex theory and concepts into clear, engaging content, research, creative design, visual communication, writing clear, concise copy (labels), practical installation and aesthetic evaluation, responsibility to deliver as promised and on time, object interpretation and ethical questions relating to display. Students displayed limited understanding of the skills they were learning in the module evaluation questionnaire and some did not see an incentive to participate as it was not for credit. However, I decided to resist making it for credit the following year, and to try to convey better to students that showcasing their learning and design talents might be a worthwhile end in itself.

Set-up: I will begin with an exercise entitled ‘Museum of the Self’ by asking conference participants to identify an object (from their wallet or their handbag) that evokes where they are from or where they belong. I will then ask for a few explanations as to why they chose that object. This is how I proceed with students on my module in order to familiarise them with interpreting objects. I will then show some slides of the two student exhibitions that have been staged so far and briefly outline some of the issues encountered, before inviting questions and discussion. Hopefully conference delegates will be introduced to an innovative way to get students to think about (national) identity – a key concept in contemporary politics – using an approach that also develops a raft of transferable skills. University education continues to be very text-orientated, and the ability to interpret objects and critically analyse three-dimensional exhibits as a multi-sensory space widens this focus.

Keywords: exhibition, transferable skills, national identity

Dr. Tomas Weiss, Dr. Ivo Slosarcik, Charles University Prague, CZ

Abstract: This contribution will reflect on the course which is based on providing the students with the first-hand account of Czech EU policy-making practice. The course is composed of a series of presentations by various ministry officials about their experience with policy-making in Eurpoean affairs. The students meet people from different institutions that contribute to policy areas, which differ in scope, procedure, and engagement of various EU institutions. The course allows them to understand the impact the European integration has on different ministries but also informs them about the Czech EU policy-making and system of coordination of EU affairs.

Keywords: stakeholder perspective, policy-making,  guest lectures.

Best Practice Workshop (Session C)

Dr. Özgür Unal Eris, İstanbul 29 Mayıs University, TR

Abstract: It is very difficult to teach European Union in a country which is experiencing problems with the European Union for the last 57 years. The process is known with its ups and downs . What I do is at the end of each course after teaching about EU history or external relations of the EU I ask my students to choose a problematic region or a specific problem we have seen during the term and put themselves in the shoes of Federica Mogherini and try to solve this issue through role-playing. Or in case of teaching EU institutions, at the end of the term I create a big ‘European Council’ table and put representatives of certain countries, EP and European Commission there and let them discuss three previously selected topics. What to do about Turkey is always among these three.

Set-up: In my opinion what I do in my lectures as a part of this assesment increases creativity, analysis making and reflection upon the whole class while letting them concentrate on the topics or periods where they are most interested in. As a whole class we have benefited from our role-playing sessions and I can contribute to my colleagues by telling about my experience and present my classes’ discussions as specific examples.

Keywords: role-playing, creativity, European Council table, EU Foreign Minister

Mr. Kristian Sram, Mr. Ondrej Pekacek, Institute of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University Prague, CZ 

Abstract: Co-teaching was developed as an instrument to meet the needs of students with disabilities. However, it has been successfully used in different contexts as well. Our contribution resides in sharing experience from the application of co-teaching in the higher education. The theoretical challenges of this method include the need for effective co-planning, co-instructing, and co- assessment. This method enhances the classroom teaching/learning experience by aiding with the classroom management, increasing the teacher-to-student ratio and offering unique methods of participatory learning. Based on the student evaluation, peer-review and self-assessment, we reflect on the challenges and advantages for both students and lectures. Those include the development of the lecturers, best practice sharing and increased motivation. From the students’ perspective, the most appreciated benefits were increased participation, engaging activities, and creativity offered by teaching in tandem.

Set-up: The presentation will be delivered by two speakers. The structure will follow the key lessons learned that we identified (based on student evaluation, peer review, and self-assessment). Priority will be given to those that were most important and unanticipated (in regard to the state- of-the art). Following the presentation, the discussion with the audience will be held.

Keywords: co-teaching, best practices, teacher development

Dr. Joanne Yao, Durham University, UK

Abstract: The teaching challenge is to encourage maximum student participation—particularly participation from less vocal students—in an interactive and cumulative manner. The tool is an online platform that allows students to post in response to a question, and all posts are displayed in real time. Students can comment on others’ posts, and modify, reorganize and recategorize comments and questions as the conversation develops and learning occurs. The result is that students are engaged in the conversation on multiple levels, able to record and reflect what they are learning in the discussion on an interactive and communal online platform. The teacher can see immediately feedback on whether students understand concepts or if further clarifications are necessary.

Set-up: I will set up a short demonstration of the online tool accompanied by a discussion of how I have used the tool in the past to enhance seminar teaching. In addition, I will discuss the flipped classroom potential of the tool as well as potential challenges and pitfalls.

Keywords: flipped classroom, seminar, participation, online tool

Dr. Laura Asarite-Schmidt, Europa-Universität Flensburg, DE

Abstract: When studying Europe it is not only important to learn about active citizenship and the possibilities that the EU offer in this perspective but also to understand how different tools work in practice. With the Lisbon Treaty, the citizens of the EU have a new opportunity – to invite the European Commission to propose new legislation with the European Citizens’ initiative. This classroom exercise invites the students to imitate the situation in practice – form a citizens’ committee and prepare a proposition for a new legislation according to the requirements set by the EU. Afterwards the project is presented, discussed and analysed in the class. Moreover, each group is trying to convince the rest of the class about their idea to gain the most votes.

Set-up: The students gain an opportunity to understand how to prepare and submit a proposal for a European Citizens’ initiative, as well as get an insight into the pros and cons of this tool. Thus, this classroom exercise allows students to understand the practical aspects of this new tool in the EU, which promises contributing to the democratisation of the Union.

Keywords: classroom exercise, European citizens’ initiative

Ms. Fay Stevens, University of Notre Dame, US

Abstract: Drawing on a cohort of students from a course I teach on Archaeology and Ethics, I outline my design for a role-play event titled ‘The Great Debate’. Here, we engage with the current contestation concerning the ownership and placement of the collection of Parthenon Marbles, currently located in the British Museum. Signing up for either a Greek or UK position, students are encouraged to take on an identity (e.g. curator, tourist, lawyer, historian etc.) in their research and presentation of their argument, both individually and collectively. The outcome opens up discussion and leads to a greater and more nuanced understanding of the politics of the past and issues of cultural ownership. I will discuss my documentation of the debates which illustrates how the central issues raised by the students in their presentations and deliberations, reflects wider contemporary social, cultural and political issues taking place in the world at that time.

Set-up: I will present the format and structure of the Great Debate and consider the key themes and outcomes that have emerged from each session over the past 4-5 years. This will lead to a consideration of the pedagogy of a debate scenario in teaching and learning and its relevance both to student learning and to the issues surrounding ownership and repatriation of the marbles. I will open up discussion regarding the politics of cultural heritage and consider issues of ownership and appropriation of the past in contemporary politics.

Keywords: archaeology, ethics, politics, heritage, pedagogy

Ms. Elke Schneider, Ms. Jessica Jung, Dr. Jan Niklas Rolf, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, DE

Abstract: Addressing the challenge arising from teaching theoretical knowledge without offering practical application possibilities as well as recognizing the immense gap between (under-)graduate studying and entering the academic world as a scholar, we organized a student conference. For this, students prepared academic papers and posters, assuming the roles of paper givers, discussants and poster presenters. The seminar leading up to the conference was organized in input and feedback sessions in which students were able to get feedback from peers and supervisors in small groups.

The expected learning outcome include:

a) the improvement of methodic skills regarding paper writing,
b) the lowering of the perceived hurdle to pursue an academic career and
c) the ability to give qualified feedback to fellow students.

Set-up: our input is structured in three parts:
1. Expansion on problem perception; assumed perspective: university teaching needs to address its responsibility as an important form of shaping future society. Aim of the project: Giving students the tools to work on highly disputed topics and be able to discuss their insights in a public arena. Thereby, we offered an insight into an academic career as well as prepared them for several types of political work.(10 min)

2. Reflection of best and worst practices: Especially the form of the feedback group sessions will be presented as a good mechanism to support reflection and the ability to assess and tackle conceptual problems of the projects of peers as well as to learn and work autonomously.(10 min)

3. Discussion regarding similar projects and future improvements: Best and worst practices, alternative formats. Are there experiences regarding e.g. inter-university cooperations and this kind of format? (20 min)

Keywords: student conference, conflict studies, methodic skills, sustainable university teaching

Best Practice Workshop (Session D)

Mr. Godwin Kwasi Awuah, Masaryk University, CZ

Abstract: In this paper I provide insight into the effectiveness of group activities on students’ participation for non-native English speakers in an English-taught class at the tertiary level. The rationale for the study is to use group activities to overcome student passivity that characterised previous classes modelled on the traditional lecturing style of teaching. The involvement of students in class is expected to stimulate participation in tasks and activities which ensures better understanding and learning as well as the development of practical skills. Using direct observations and quasi-experimental approaches results are analysed with T-test and Anova. I find that, not only does group activity increase student participation, it also makes the class lively, improves communication in a second language, as well as, learning outcomes.

Set-up: Using PowerPoint presentation participants will be made aware of how group activity could be used to overcome fear in communicating in class when the language of instructions is not the native tongue of students and the instructor is from another geographical region.

Keywords: class participation, group activity, higher education, teaching, foreign language.

Dr. Simon Choat, Kingston University, UK

Abstract: While modern political theory courses and textbooks tend still to be dominated by the canon of so-called ‘dead white men’, there are increasing calls and attempts to move beyond the canon by incorporating non-Western, non-white, and women thinkers and texts into political theory syllabi. This paper reflects on the experience of rewriting and delivering a core second-year undergraduate modern political thought course at a U.K. university in order to teach ‘beyond the canon’. It begins by elucidating the various contexts within which syllabus changes were made, which include: the ethnic diversity of the university; university-wide attempts to address the black and minority ethnic student ‘attainment gap’ by developing an inclusive curriculum program; and broader debates within the U.K. about ‘decolonising the curriculum’. It then explains and justifies the specific changes made and discusses some of the difficulties encountered, including the potential problems associated with a white ma

Dr. Andrew Walton, Newcastle University, UK

Abstract: This project argues for teaching the abstract theoretical terrain of political philosophy through the lens of concrete social problems. When politics is discussed beyond academia, it is encountered through questions of tax rates, prison sentences, health care provision, or foreign policy. This makes it difficult for undergraduate students to see the practice relevance of political philosophy that focuses on broad discussions of fundamental normative ideals (such as ‘equality’ or ‘liberty’). This project outlines a method for approaching this abstract terrain, instead, by beginning with concrete social problems and using them as a medium through which to consider more abstract normative ideas. We argue that by approaching the subject via issues with which they are already familiar and showing how political philosophy can help clarify and address them, we can help acquaint students better with the disciplines, its skills, and its use outside the classroom.

Set-up: We envisage the conference session as best practice sharing. Amongst the more innovative tools that are being developed in the project are two acting exercises: one that involves students acting through a scenario as an entry to a discussion of a moral problem and one that involves the co-authors acting through a debate over a concrete social problem as a medium for approaching more abstract philosophical terrain (something that will, in due course, be recorded as a video resource). We propose to demonstrate one of these exercises and coordinate some commentary and discussion on its merits, followed by breaking the conference participants into groups (perhaps according to sub-field) to construct a similar exercise. The benefit for conference participants would be to observe a novel pedagogical approach, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, and explore how it could be utilised in their own area.

Keywords: political philosophy, pedagogy, student engagement.

Mr. Steven Curtis, London Metropolitan University, UK

Abstract: It is a commonplace in higher education that the most effective way of encouraging students to engage in a learning process is to make it the subject of summative assessment. But how do we assess contributions of only 140 (or now 280) characters? This presentation explores and compares a number of ways of assessing students’ use of Twitter on International Relations courses, from assessments based on metrics and the demonstration of technical skills, through the application of big data analytics, to comparative analyses of how international actors use Twitter. It focus in particular on the use of the latter approach on the presenter’s second-year diplomacy module. The presentation also explores the links between Twitter-based assignments and employability through the idea of ‘authentic assessment’, as the ability to analyse and use Twitter in the context of the study and practice of world politics is a skill befitting the twenty-first century graduate of IR programmes.

Set-up: The presentation will include numerous examples of my students’ use of Twitter and their comparative analyses of the use of Twitter by diplomats.
Delegates will benefit from: awareness of range of approaches to Twitter-based assessments, which are more varied than one may at first think; a review of relevant pedagogical literature; example of how Twitter is used on my module and the strengths and limitations of that approach; exemplars of students’ work which may guide their own practice.

Keywords: Twitter, authentic assessment, employability.