Center for Active Learning in International Studies


This database is designed to make CALIS materials accessible to USC students involved in our Teaching International Relations Program (TIRP). USC undergraduate volunteers review the collection in order to plan and then team teach a four-session series of lessons to social studies classes at local high schools.

We are in the continuous process of weeding, upgrading, updating, and restructuring to better serve a wider audience of users.

Biggest News!
National Public Radio gave permission to CALIS to pilot case customized transcripts as part of the High School Case Teaching Initiative. AND we recently received permission from American Public Media to repost reports from Marketplace. Each has a discussion guide with questions that cite the text, apply analytical tools, and relate to a larger issue. Each case transcript is linked to the NPR or APM broadcast as an option to use the audio complement for media literacy and language development. Radio is a goldmine resource for excellent cases!

As the collection is strengthened, we hope that teachers across the nation and internationally will find the strategies and resources useful.

Viewing & Downloads
Each item has a PDF or DOC link that also serves as the item identification number.

DOC links are the goal!
As an MS Word file, doc files can be saved to your computer for customized editing. PDF links are for materials that are not yet available as DOC files. If the item is available as a doc file, the pdf link will eventually be weeded.

If there is a problem with a file link, please contact CALIS and note the item number.

Sorry for any confusion...
A limited number of entries serve as a catalog of resources that are available in our office for our USC volunteers. These entries are not linked, but we hope the information is useful.

Updated: 2010--Dec 10


Case Teaching and Analytical Tools
Blending What to Teach with How to Learn

CALIS received national recognition in 2005 for our direct service in classrooms and effective use of analytical tools in secondary social science. Among 100 university nominations, the CALIS outreach program was selected by the Goldman Sachs Foundation Prizes for Excellence in International Education as one of the top three in the United States.

As a university resource to the civic mission of schools, CALIS is pursuing adaptation of the Harvard case teaching method to history, government and economics. Case teaching challenges both teachers and their students to apply the concepts, theories, and perspectives of their field of study to the real world. Cases engage students in the process of using analytical tools to make considered, substantive responses.

Systematic tools are necessary to manage complexity and approach controversy with depth and balance.
As a professor in law school or medical school uses cases so that students can practice law or practice medicine, so must social science students use cases to practice civic engagement using effective, empowering tools.

The collection includes reference charts and worksheets for each of these analytical tools:

Four Worlds ~ Sets of Actors
The four worlds analytical framework distinguishes between the political-military, economic, social, and cultural worlds. Students identify that each world has its own constellation of actors with various sources of power; each has differing priorities and tools of influence; and each affects the other. A case can illustrate how "the four worlds collide" and how any policy response will have trade-offs between the interests of different actors and between the needs of society.

Worldviews ~ Sets of Assumptions
The worldviews model is a framework for comparing multiple perspectives. Students identify different sets of assumptions and how these beliefs form a lens that filters one's view of the world. Using the DEPP process, students can trace how assumptions guide our analysis - how we Describe an issue, Explain its causes, Predict its evolution, and Prescribe action. A third "P" is sometimes added to consider how an individual can or does Participate at the international level.

Levels of Analysis ~ Sets of Variables
Levels of analysis is a framework for considering which factors are most important in influencing or determining international affairs. There are three levels: 1) human 
behavior in general and the role of individuals, 2) state behavior and the domestic needs of nation-states, and 3) international or systemic conditions of anarchy or balance of power. Students can evaluate an event, condition, or trend with greater clarity and depth in studying causes and possible solutions.

Continuum ~ Ideal Types in Perspective
Placing values, ideas, or policies along a continuum is an analytical framework that affords students a critical point of reference. Whether it is a spectrum of attitudes toward cultural inclusion or the range of beliefs on the role of government, placing a specific case along a continuum makes abstract concepts more clearly concrete - while revealing the complexities of nuance and ambiguity.

Concept Map ~ Relationships & Big Ideas
A concept map is a visual outline of terms, events, issues, and concepts that illustrates relationships. It is an important tool for the teacher to use in order to map the lesson - identifying the significant issues and big idea that will be explicitly explored throughout the unit of study. A concept map is also an excellent review or pre-write exercise. It clearly identifies vocabulary and content as specific criteria for assessment.


Two Search Functions

1) Search using key words
(top right of this page)
        Key word
searches allow you to search all fields for a more specific topic, concept, region, country, author, source, etc. Note that search results are alphabetical by title.

Use search "tags"
in the search box

2) Browse using pull-down menu
(top left of this page)
This search option has not been further developed since the initial set-up of the database.

Analytical tools are not entered to this database as lesson plans. These reference charts, concept maps, and outlines are to be applied to cases. They are initially a teacher's guide to set the context, relate key terms, link and layer issues, or identify dynamics. As a first step in a lesson, it is not always best to use these one-page overviews as student handouts. Placing "pieces" of a concept map on the board and asking students to anticipate a next step will allow them to build their own understanding, strengthened by their own a-ha moments. Otherwise, a handout that is "already a done deal" is not as meaningful as "piecing together" some of the ideas themselves.

Many thanks!
We are very grateful to the following organizations that are supporting our USC TIRP volunteers and teachers (everywhere!) by granting permission to make sample resources available on this database:

American Forum for Global Education

CTIR - the Center for Teaching International Relations, University of Denver

Foreign Policy Association

Mershon Center, Ohio State University


CALIS is an outreach project of the School of International Relations

USC-CALIS and Global Learning Outreach, 2006z