This page focuses on the course 17.445/17.446 International Relations Theory in the Cyber Age as it was taught by Professor Nazli Choucri in Fall 2015.
This course examined cyber dynamics and processes in international relations from different theoretical perspectives. It considered alternative theoretical and empirical frameworks consistent with characteristic features of cyberspace and emergent transformations at all levels of international interaction. Theories examined included realism and neorealism, institutionalism and liberalism, constructivism, and systems theory and lateral pressure. The course also highlighted relevant features and proposed customized international relations theory for the cyber age.
Students taking the graduate version were expected to pursue the subject in greater depth through reading and individual research.
Course Goals for Students
- Understand structures and processes shaping international relations
- Explore theories of international relations
- Gain an introduction to strategic issues in international relations in the cyber age
Below, Professor Nazli Choucri describes how she teaches 17.445/17.446 International Relations Theory in the Cyber Age.
Facilitating Active Seminar Participation
One requirement of 17.445/17.446 International Relations Theory in the Cyber Age is that students actively participate in seminars. To facilitate productive and engaging classroom discussions, I ask questions. When students offer responses, I follow up see if there are objections from others or if clarification is needed. Asking students to share their views is key — and I would recommend that other educators leading seminars try to do this.
I’ve learned that too much lecture without opportunities for students to engage in discussions about the various topics does not support active seminar participation.
I’ve also asked students not to use laptops in class. Not using laptops seems to help students focus on our conversations.
There are no prerequisites for this course for undergrads. Graduate students need the permission of the instructor.
- 17.445/17.446 can be applied toward a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, a Master of Science in Political Science, or a PhD in Political Science, but is not required.
Every fall semester
Fewer than 10 students
Breakdown by Year
Breakdown by Major
Variety of majors
The students’ grades were based on the following activities:
- 20% Class attendance and participation
- 25% Midterm (take home)
- 20% Locating web based resources for class database
- 35% Final (take home) or a research paper
Instructor Insights on Assessment
In assessing students’ writing, Professor Choucri focuses first on content and coherence and then on grammar.
How Student Time Was Spent
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
- Met once per week for 2 hours per session; 13 sessions total; mandatory attendance.
- All students were expected to complete the readings and participate in class discussions.
Out of Class
- Readings in preparation for class sessions
- One midterm essay
- One final essay