Executive Summary

We want to operationalise a teaching style that we have been building as a group for nearly a decade. As suggested in the name i-PEEL, our project is designed to help students uncover - literally peel away for themselves - the ethical and political questions hidden in the global economy. It is our experience in the classroom that this intellectual aspiration is best fostered when students have a stake in the debates and can relate the topics under discussion to their everyday lives. So for instance, when studying the regulation of international trade, rather than reading through legislation set out in the World Trade Organisation based in Geneva, it is more productive to begin with the purchase of a Fairtrade-certified coffee – something the students will likely have done themselves. This personal act can then be used to stimulate reflection on what ‘fairness’ really means, on whether these particular rules of trade are legitimate, and on our own roles as consumers in perpetuating or transforming the terms of exchange for farmers on the other side of the world. Providing students with a plethora of similar objects and events – a local currency, a domestic worker, a protest song, and a corporate bankruptcy, for instance – will provide other ways of asking theoretically-inf

Upon completion the project will reach at least 300 students within PAIS every year. This is based on current enrolment numbers for our four core modules, although we expect the total number of website users to be higher as it will be promoted through fourteen modules in total where political economy is taught (see below for details). Depending on the decision of Module Directors and on the topics covered in the webpages, students will use the site in different ways. Some may be asked to consult a particular page relevant to that week’s reading (through an automated alert system to their email), others directed to the site to get ideas for essay projects. In some cases, colleagues may decide to use the website as a seminar resource, using the entry as a basis for a more free-flowing class discussion, while students may consult it to gain ideas for potential dissertation/URSS projects and supervisors. Ultimately, the website is not intended for use as a textbook to be read chronologically through a series of pre-established theories and issues. Instead, it provides a series of interlinked reflections in a non-linear narrative, designed to encourage the reader to impose his or her own cognitive order on the material. Nonetheless, the website will complement traditional textbooks, operating as a visually engaging site for student learning. The need for a resource of this nature is underlined by the fact that our students increasingly expect to be able to access good quality on-line learning materials.

As mentioned already, the project will involve the creation of a Student Advisory Board of around twelve students, three from each year of PAIS’ taught courses (i.e. nine undergraduates and three Masters-level students). These will be chosen through self-selection, and, if necessary, subsequent interviews with the project team. It is intended that the Board be diverse and represent the student cohort as a whole. The project will also work closely with Phil Tutty, an ELearning Content Developer based in the University’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth (IGGY). Phil will work with the contributing academics in creating engaging, interactive content for the i-PEEL website. The academics providing research-related content will include all four members of the project team and fellow staff members based in PAIS, in particular those in the International Political Economy research cluster. For further details on the regular meetings and collaborative activities of this cluster see: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/research/clusters/ipe/

To develop i-PEEL over the next academic year, we will need term 1 teaching buy-out for Dr Lena Rethel to allow her to act as project coordinator as this is when most of the project set up costs will be incurred. Her role will include designing the template for the individual entries, liaising with the Student Advisory Board, working with the E-Learning Content Developer to source supporting material, and ensuring interlinkages between the entries via the use of common concepts (e.g. poverty, gender, resistance) and themes (e.g. international trade, unpaid work, global capitalism) relevant to the field of International Political Economy. We will also require specialist IT support for the programming and design of the online tool and embedded elements. Most of the editing of entries, fine-tuning of contributions and uploading of additional content will occur in June which is a very marking intense period and we will need partial marking relief for the project team to be able to commit to the project. PAIS will provide administrative support to help with the rollout of the tool in PAIS and its marketing and tailoring to our student cohort.