In an exercise in brevity, Julian Wucherpfenning’s International Security students create podcasts.
In his spring 2018 International Security course, Professor Julian Wucherpfennig tried out a new medium – the podcast – so first-year Master of International Affairs (MIA) students could practice boiling down a topic into a concise briefing – a key skill required for many jobs in public policy and related fields.
Instead of assigning each of the 75 students a briefing paper, Wucherpfennig asked them to form small groups and produce podcasts, accompanied by a poster on a security-related topic. While the posters gave students a practice-run for their second-year thesis posters, the podcasts offered a way to present a topic to an audience in a concise format.
Wucherpfennig encouraged students to use “Occam’s razor” – giving preference to the simplest theory, with the fewest variables and hypotheses to answer a question. Students need to be able to “sweep away the fluff and details to get to the root of the problem,” he said.
With a limit of eight minutes, students had to stay focused on a singular aspect of security – climate change, digital technology, migration, to name a few. International Security is one of the mandatory core courses Hertie School MIA students take to complete their degree. Enjoy listening to a few examples of the students’ work here.