Here we recount the experience of designing and executing an experimental summer course, at two different universities, that used popular films as primary texts to facilitate active learning about foreign policy. One course, designed for non-political science majors, was offered at the introductory level as credit/no credit; the other, intended for students with some background in political science and international affairs, was offered as an upper-level graded course. We held many of the films and readings constant across the two courses so that we could track similarities and differences between the courses. Here we report on why and how we designed the movie courses and what films and readings we used. We also evaluate the courses by drawing on the assessment mechanisms we employed as well as the students' evaluations. In short, although there are some important trade-offs involved in designing a movie course, we found the experience to be a positive one that prioritized student learning in a relaxed and novel way and achieved with some success the procedural and conceptual learning goals that we set forth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations
- Active learning
- Foreign policy