Course Exam—GLST 230/POEC 230/INTR 230

Globalization and World Politics


According to the syllabus, GLST 230 (Globalization and World Politics) “is a cross-listed course,” meaning that it is listed under three different disciplines, which include GLST 230, POEC 230, and INTR 230.  This social science course “introduces students to some of the theoretical tools and practical issues of globalization as they attempt to situate themselves in an ever-changing world of politics.” This course is “designed for social-science and humanities students generally, and particularly those students interested in pursuing more advanced courses in global studies, international relations, development studies, and political economy.”

Globalization and World Politics consists of six units.  Unit one “defines globalization and discusses the importance of perspectives.” Unit two explains the “traditional international relations theory and its critique: liberalism, realism, Marxism, and constructivism.” Unit three “explores critical perspectives in international relations, such as feminism, post-colonialism, and indigeneity.” Unit four discusses “globalization and governance, from traditional to critical perspectives.” Unit five explains “global political economy, introducing agents, patterns, and tools of analysis.” Lastly, unit six describes “some future trends in globalization and world politics, including cultures, civilizations, climate change, and civil society.”

GLST 230 is comprised of two assignments weighing thirty percent each and one online final exam weighing forty percent.  Assignment one requires students to write an essay on understanding globalization and for the second assignment students have the choice between a critical review or a culture jam.  To successfully complete this course, students must complete both assignments and the final exam, obtaining at least 50% on the final and an overall grade of 50% in the course when completed.

We interviewed Dr. Meenal Shrivastava, the course coordinator for GLST 230.  Dr. Shrivastava joined Athabasca University in April of 2006 and coordinates the Political Economy program. She is also developing a Global Studies program for AU.

Which programs need this course as a prerequisite? Or is it more of an elective course? 
Globalization and World Politics is a prerequisite for the Political Economy Major and the Global Studies Minor.  The course is also an elective for the POLI Major and the POEC Minor.

What kind of learning style is this course? Is it more open-ended, or are there prescribed exercises and assignments?
The new revision of Globalization and World Politics uses a collection of journal articles, video documentaries, and some book chapters, connected in a comprehensive narrative in the study guide.  The study guide uses the readings and the media to discuss the various dimensions and definitions of “globalization,” and to appreciate ways in which this concept and its processes are contested.  The multimedia learning resources broaden the learning horizons and make the course more engaging.  The course design allows for increased flexibility to include critical and cutting-edge topics and resources in the course content, broadening the student’s own perspective of the `global’ and their place in it.  So, although there are prescribed exercises and assignments, there is also an element of an open-end approach in the course.

What kind of assignments are involved in the course, and what are some strategies for students to tackle them?
The assignments in the course encourage students to use concepts as tools, to read and watch with intent, and thereby learn to critically analyze real world trends, institutions, and perspectives.  For instance, apart from a standard essay assignment, the course also has a critical-review assignment (of a book, movie, theatre production, art show, cultural event, or political activity) or to produce a `Culture-Jam’ (such as an image, video, or meme) to critically reflect on and innovatively address contemporary issues, and/or to challenge political assumptions and consumer culture.  The assignments are practical and creative, and contain detailed instructions and structural guidance to help students.  The best strategy to do well in these assignments is to read the course commentaries carefully along with the readings and the media, and consult with your tutor for clarifications and feedback as regularly as possible.  Additionally, always use a standard citation style such as APA, MLA, or Chicago consistently and correctly, and always proofread your essay carefully before submitting it.  Finally, have some creative fun along the way.

What is the exam format like? Is it an especially tough exam?
The invigilated online exam is divided into two parts.  Part A contains short definitions of concepts and terms that recur frequently in the course commentary and readings.  Part B contains longer essays based on the main themes discussed within the course.  There are plenty of choices in both parts of the exam.  The exam is pitched at a second-year level and does not veer from the course materials.  If you have worked diligently on your assignments, and followed the feedback of your tutor, the exam is not especially tough.

What changes would you make in this course, if you could?
This course has recently been rewritten to cover contemporary issues in globalization by employing cutting-edge scholarship and tools of analysis.  The older version was reliant on textbooks, which prove to be rather rigid in their treatment of the fast-changing area of globalization and world politics.  The new version is thus based on contemporary journal articles, book chapters, and video documentaries, which makes it more engaging and current.  The new version is open for registration as of Nov.  1, 2017.

Whether this course is a degree requirement of yours or the topics discussed above interest you, the new version of this course will have you engaged and immersed in interesting, relevant content.  If you have any questions regarding the new revision of the course, Dr. Meenal Shrivastava encourages you to contact her at meenals@athabascau.ca.

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