Resources for Teaching International Relations in James Madison College

The International Relations major provides both breadth and depth in the study of a wide variety of issues in international relations.  It is “organized around the following themes: international security and conflict resolution; international political economy; global governance; foreign policy of the United States and other countries; and comparative, regional and cultural studies.” (

Syllabi & Course Materials in International Relations

Syllabi for courses taught by JMC faculty in all four programs at James Madison College can be found at

The following sites also offer syllabi and course materials specific to International Relations:

Syllabi Collection (New Curricula for Teaching International Relations, an International Project).
Over 25 syllabi for various courses in International Relations, mainly from U.S. institutions of higher education.
MITOpenCourseware: Political Science (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Provides a broad spectrum of course syllabi and materials in all areas of political science, including courses in International Relations Theory, Cyberpolitics in International Relations, and much more.
MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching.
Type “International Relations” into the search box to yield an extensive list of syllabi and other resources in that area.
See also General Online Syllabi and Teaching Materials for All Areas in James Madison College for other online resources that offer syllabi and course materials in the Social Sciences, Cultural Studies, and Political Science.

Simulations and Gaming in International Relations

PAXsims: Simulations; Conflict, Peacebuilding and Development; Training and Education (editors Rex Brynen, McGill University and Gary Milante, WorldBank).
The PaxSims site “is devoted to the development and effective use of simulation-based learning concerning issues of conflict, peacebuilding, and development in fragile and conflict-affected states.” Contains examples and discussions of simulations/games on these issues, archives, links to journals and periodicals, and web resources. A rich site.
See for a bibliography of articles and websites with further ideas and examples of simulations in these areas.
ICONS Project (International Communication & Negotiation Simulations).
The ICONS Project, at the University of Maryland, College Park, since 1982, provides a wealth of online simulations in international studies. The site is worth browsing to see what’s available and get ideas for teaching even though this is a fee-based project, currently $12 per student for engaging in a simulation.
The following three articles by Carolyn M Shaw describe and evaluate simulations and role playing in the International Relations classroom:
Designing and Using Simulations and Role-Play Exercises,” Carolyn M. Shaw (The International Studies Encyclopedia, ed., Robert A. Denemark, 2010).
An extensive article covering background, definitions, benefits, assessments, and example simulations in such areas as U.S. foreign policy making processes. Bibliography of related articles and websites.
Using Role-Play Scenarios in the IR Classroom: An Examination of Exercises on Peacekeeping Operations and Foreign Policy Decision Making,” Carolyn M. Shaw, Wichita State University (from International Studies Perspectives No. 5, 2004).
This paper describes and examines the value of two role-play exercises in an introduction to international relations course. Full text of both exercises plus assessments.
Simulating Negotiations in a Three-Way Civil War,” Carolyn M. Shaw, Wichita State University (from Journal of Political Science Education, No. 2, 2006).
Full description of a role play scenario plus analysis of its value.
The following sites focus on Teaching Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Strategies:
Tools and Support for Conflict Studies Instructors (Wayne State University with a FIPSE grant).
Numerous links to materials for teaching conflict management and negotiation. Includes sample syllabi collections; course development guidelines; role plays, simulations, case studies, and multimedia tools.
Campus Conflict Resolution Resources (Wayne State University with a FIPSE grant).
Portal to a virtual campus providing multiple resources for conflict management in higher education.
The CNCR Swap Meet Sourcebook: 35 Exercises for Teaching Conflict Management, Lin Inlow, Editor.
Thirty-five college educators present exercises they use to teach conflict management.

Associations and Journals in International Relations and Related Areas

Active Learning in International Affairs, ALIAS, (a section of the International Studies Association, ISA).
A guest login permits access to a Web Archive with lesson plans, class activities, syllabi, assignments, and web links of interest to international affairs educators.
Teaching Political Science (American Political Science Association).
This site has open resources such as civic education and best practices in political science assessment, plus links to other web resources related to political science education. APSA’s Journal of Political Science Education requires subscription.
American Political Science Association Conference Papers.
This site contains archived conference papers from the APSA Teaching and Learning conferences.
International Studies Perspectives.
Articles on pedagogy focus on innovative teaching methods and “high quality pedagogical analysis” in international studies.  Archived abstracts available.  Subscription or fee required for full articles.
For further teaching ideas, see the James Madison site Teaching Strategies for James Madison College Faculty.

International Relations at MSU