Welcome to the Teaching & Learning Network! 

The Teaching and Learning Network is a community of practice for academics and higher education teachers, where best practice can be recognised, scholarship and research disseminated, and university teaching supported. 

Building on over a decade of work as a PSA Specialist Group, the remit of the Network is:

  • To enable all politics academics/HE teachers to share the good and innovative practices that they have developed, within a community of practice
  • To support the production and dissemination of research and scholarship relating to the teaching and learning of politics
  • To support the PSA in contributing to policy relating to HE matters, including the TEF
  • To support early career academics in developing their practice as university teachers 
  • To support the development of politics students as critical and independent learners, able to contribute to economic, social, and political wellbeing as active citizens.


All academic and ECN PSA members are automatically affiliated to the Network, although we will endeavour to engage as many other categories of membership as possible.


2021 PSA Award winner!

We are delighted to win the Special Recognition Award from the PSA for extraordinary contribution to the profession over the last year, awarded during the PSA Annual Conference. Thank you PSA!


We want to hear from you!

It would be great to get some feedback from members about what you would like the Network to focus on. We are open to all suggestions, whether that’s workshops, conferences and events we could run or be involved in, publication/article/blog ideas, professional development/training opportunities, or anything else under our wide remit. Get in touch via

Blog writers wanted: do you have something to say about teaching and learning in politics and international studies? If so, why not write a blog for us. We are happy to publish content about best practice, scholarship, or your general thoughts about teaching and learning in the discipline. Contact us at with your idea.

Fancy running a webinar for us on teaching and learning in politics? You know what to do: contact us at!.


PSA External Examiner Database


The PSA Teaching and Learning Network is coordinating an external examiners database for PSA Members to use. This will ultimately be open to academics/departments across the UK to contribute towards, but only PSA Members will be able to request a copy of the database. 

We will open the database to departments seeking to appoint external examiners later in the year. But as a first step, we have opened it to PSA members and would like to encourage you to register your details by completing this short form. 


The International Political Education Database (IPED)

The International Political Education Database (IPED), curated by Network Co-Chair John Craig, is a bibliographic database of journal articles relating to teaching and learning in politics, international relations, public administration and related fields. It aims to raise the profile of existing publications to encourage further research and enhancements to student learning.

We believe that IPED is the world's most comprehensive bibliographic database of teaching and learning resources for politics.


Teaching Politics and IR: Key Issues, Skills, Pedagogy

We are pleased to announce our fourth series of webinars running from 9 June to 5 July 2021, delivered by expert political studies academics for PSA members, and the wider academic community. This series will focus on general teaching and learning issues, not just online teaching. Each session will last one hour, via Zoom. You must pre-register for each session and a recording will be made available online after the event, alongside any relevant resources.


View our webinars

You can view our webinars on the PSA's YouTube Channel including our most recent series:

  • Panic! At the work placement by Pete Woodcock: 
  • Flipping the COVID-19 Classroom by Adrian Millican and Thomas Robinson: 
  • Getting Political Philosophy Students to Argue for Themselves: Methods, Experiments, and Teaching Without Preaching by Jonathan Floyd: 
  • Betrayal / Forgiveness: Sneaking quantitative methods into substantive teaching and assessment in Politics and International Relations by Kathrin Thomas & Adrian Millican: 
  • What can YouTuber’s teach us about creating engaging content? By Liam McLoughlin: 
  • Academic freedom in a virtual classroom: Learning and teaching ‘controversial’ topics by Sarah Liu: 


Previous events

#PSA21 - PSA Annual Conference T&L panels 

Recordings of the sessions are available online for people who signed up to attend the conference:

Panel: Futures of Political Studies Education in the UK (Part 1) day one panel session 1 - 29th March 09:30-11:00

CHAIR: John Craig (Leeds Beckett University)

  • Christopher Byrne (Leeds Beckett University)
  • Viviane Gravey (Queen's University Belfast)
  • Helen Williams (Nottingham)
  • Nancy Wright (Pace University)


Roundtable: Twelve months of Teaching Online: What works and what doesn’t (Part 1) day two panel session 5 - 30th March 13:30-15:00

CHAIR: Donna Smith (Open University)

  • Georgina Blakeley (Huddersfield)
  • Alexandra Mihai (UCL)
  • Mark Shanahan (Reading)
  • Rose Gann (Nottingham Trent)


Roundtable: Futures of Political Studies Education in the UK (Part 2) day two panel session 6 - 30th March 15:15-16:45

CHAIR: Donna Smith (Open University)

  • Helen  Williams (Nottingham)
  • Alison Statham (DeMontfort)
  • Sumeya Loonat (DeMontfort)
  • Victoria Honeyman (Leeds)
  • John Craig (Leeds Beckett University)


Roundtable: Twelve months of Teaching Online: What works and what doesn’t (Part 2) day three panel session 8 - 31st March 10:45-12:15

CHAIR: John Craig (Leeds Beckett University)

  • Chris Huggins (Suffolk)
  • Stephen Thornton (Cardiff)
  • Cathy Elliott (UCL)
  • Donna Smith (Open University)


Teaching Politics and IR Online: Key Issues, Skills and Pedagogy

The webinar series took place in the winter of 2020 and early spring of 2021. This webinar series focused on general teaching and learning issues, not just online learning!

As a special thanks to our PSA Members, we are offering you a certificate of participation if you have attended at least three of our teaching and learning webinars (from any series) to assist you in your professional development. If you would like to request this certificate, please contact

The following webinars were held:

  • 'Let's use technology meaningfully: Designing engaging online learning activities' by Alexandra Mihai (UCL)
  • 'Teaching and Learning: the Student Perspective' led by Maxine David (Leiden University)
  • 'External Examining in Politics: Rigour and Inclusion' led by Helen Williams (University of Nottingham)
  • 'Active Learning' led by Cristina Leston Bandeira (University of Leeds)
  • 'The Things we Gained During Lockdown. What we Won’t Miss and What we Should Incorporate Into our Teaching in the Longer Term' led by Victoria Honeyman (Leeds University).

You can find the recordings here: /resources/multimedia


'Teaching Politics and IR Online: Design Matters' webinar series

The PSA and BISA joint webinar series 'Teaching Politics and IR Online: design matters', took place during July and August 2020. This series focused on module design and production, looking ahead to autumn teaching, building on the previous seminars organised by each organisation. It was a huge success, with academics attending from across the world!

The following webinars were held:

  • 'Beyond Alternative: Assessment as the Forgotten Piece in Online Learning'  by Simon Lightfoot (University of Leeds) and Simon Rofe (SOAS)
  • 'Online Teaching and the ‘Disadvantage Gap’  by Frands Pedersen (University of Westminster) 
  • 'Pastoral Care Online'  by Cathy Elliott (UCL) and Emily Robinson (University of Sussex)
  • 'Module Design for Online and Blended Learning'  by Will Brown (Open University)
  • 'Considering Information Literacy in a Changed Learning Environment'  by Stephen Thornton (Cardiff University)
  • 'What did you want to know about Online Teaching but were Afraid to ask?' by Donna Smith (Open University), John Craig (Leeds Beckett University) and Ross Bellaby (University of Sheffield)
  • 'What makes a good online lecture?' by Maxine David (Leiden University)
  • 'Doing it Digitally: How Online Delivery can Improve Statistics Teaching'  by Helen Williams (University of Nottingham)
  • 'Running an Online Seminar/Tutorial in Politics and IR' by Andy O'Cain and Dave Lewis (Open University)


You can find the recordings here: /resources/multimedia


'Teaching Politics Online: Pedagogy, Support & Community' webinar series

The PSA Teaching and Learning Network opening webinar series on teaching politics online, was a huge success!

Most universities had to move their teaching offer online due to the coronavirus pandemic. This led to challenges such as getting to grips with technology, understanding online pedagogy, and creating an academic community at a distance, as well as opportunities such as the chance to do things differently, build on best practice, and reach students asynchronously. Once the immediate crisis-response phase had passed, we felt it was a good time to reflect on best practice in teaching online. 

The following webinars were held:

  • ‘How are you going to get through this’ by Simon Usherwood (University of Surrey): 
  • ‘Supporting students in unprecedented times’ by Mark Shanahan (University of Reading):
  • ‘What campus universities can learn from online/distance ones’ by Georgina Blakely (University of Huddersfield): 
  • ‘Scaffolding learning: how to guide and engage your students into online learning' By Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Leeds): 
  • ‘Replacement or supplement: asynchronous teaching, accessibility, and methods’ By Natalie Jester (University of Bristol): 


You can find the recordings here: /resources/multimedia


Inaugural events at the 2019 PSA Annual Conference

Taking a CPD/training focus, the Network held two workshops: ‘Getting ready for subject TEF in politics and IR’ and ‘How to run a simulation with your students: a practical introduction’. Both events were popular with conference attendees.

The TEF workshop was designed to support colleagues preparing for subject TEF; from 2020, all Politics and IR Departments are due to be assessed as part of the new subject level TEF process, with the results (Gold, Silver, Bronze) made available to the public. The workshop included details of the subject TEF pilots, and practical advice on the challenges of interpreting the TEF metrics and putting together a departmental submission. The key messages from this event were: get to know your data asap, the submission statement is as important as the metrics (you can write yourself up or down via what one speaker called ‘the art of the rhetoric’!), and work with other units when writing up (TEF should be a team approach).

Next up, Simon Usherwood (University of Surrey) delivered a workshop which explored how academics can use simulation games when teaching. Dealing with issues including how to design your own simulation and maximising the benefits of this pedagogy, the workshop equipped attendees with the necessary tools to bring something new to the classroom. Key learning points: getting students to do things is important, through simulations you can give knowledge, build skills and create different spaces for learning, simulations must always have a purpose (not just fun!), and students should be respected in and out of the game.


Joint International Teaching and Learning Conference 2019

Members of the PSA, APSA, BISA and ECPR met in Brighton from 17th to 19th June 2019 for the first ever conference jointly organised by the four associations. The conference focused on the theme of ‘Teaching Politics in an Age of Populism’. Participants engaged in three days of panels, workshops and debates to explore a range of issues relating to this topic. John Craig, Network Co-Chair, was on the organising committee.

The Network was delighted to sponsor the conference lunch which took place on the first day of the conference. You can read about the conference here.


Contact Us

Donna Smith

Role: Co-chair
Institution: Open University


John Craig

Role: Co-chair
Institution: Leeds Beckett University


Or email:


PSA T&L Network Twitter


Join this Group


Network article on page 15!
Simon Usherwood's slides on teaching via simulations.