Not too easy. Not too difficult.
I first took this course as a prerequisite to a Political Science major, but after taking this class, I had a new found passion for International affairs. On syllabus day, the teacher seemed quite strict and made it seem like the class would be difficult, however, the class was quite enjoyable overall. The course focused on an introduction to international politics. We learned various topics including International Security, Democratic Peace and Terrorism. Each topic was explained extremely well and touched nicely upon different examples. The class was comprised of two examinations, an essay and class participation. The exams were fair, but in order to do well on the examinations you need to provide thorough definitions and examples to each question asked. Additionally, you are only given two hours for three long answer questions and an essay so it's necessary to pace yourself when taking the exam. The essay that you have to write must be handed in before lecture. For the essay, you must read the assigned readings for the day you plan on handing in the essay and describe and offer an opinion for that topic. For example, I wrote an essay about international relations between the United and States and China. For that essay, I read two readings written by political theorists, explained their insights and then wrote about whose views I would agree with more. The teaching assistants grade each essay so it is important to gain a strong relationship with your TAs. The class is comprised of lecture and discussion. During lecture, Professor Krcmaric uses many different elements when he teaches. The professor starts each day with an outline going over everything that we will learn for that day. The outline also helped me think about how I would construct my own class notes. After the outline, the professor jumps write into his powerpoint. His definitions are often simplified, making often difficult terms easier to understand. Also, instead of just going over definitions and moving on to the next one, Krcmaric dwells on and connects different examples to terms. This helped me understand a lot of the concepts more thoroughly. Additionally, Krcmaric includes many visual elements including pictures and videos from various news sources. These additional elements helped to provide more examples to confusing topics. Krcmaric is tough when it comes to class participation. It is important to raise your hand in class frequently and answer questions. Each week, you have a discussion section with about ten other students in the class and a TA. The TA goes over the topics for the week and tests you on what you learned. It is important to participate in discussion because the TA will incorporate your effort into your participation grade. Overall, this course was phenomenal and highly recommended if you want to take an international relations course.
The highlights of this course were definitely the visual elements that Professor Krcmaric showed. They were extremely explanatory and often comical. The professor showed many Vox videos, which simplified complicated affairs such as the rise of ISIS and the history of the Cold War. The professor would then hold a debate for the class where students were able to argue with each other about different topics. From hearing different peoples perspectives, I was able to learn a lot more than just definitions.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
For this course, it is important to read the assigned readings for the week. You don't have to spend hours on them, but it is important to skim through them and take down anything important that catches your eye. Doing the readings will help you prepare for the professor's questions in lecture and will help you understand certain terms better. It is also important to collaborate with others when studying for exams. People may see different topics proposed in class differently so it is important to understand those people's views and use them to argue or counterargue in your own answers on the exams. Also, other people may think of different examples that you can use on the exam. Lastly: participate, participate, participate! The key to doing well in this class is conversing and arguing with others during lecture and discussion. If you don't understand three sides to each argument, you won't do well on the exams.