Comparative & International Education Course Archive Project (CIECAP) Conference Presentation

The presentation at the CIES 2010 Conference in Chicago included an eight year overview of the progress of the CIECAP Project from 2003 until present. It included an explanation of the various CIECAP Resources, as well as descriptive statistics on the major topics covered in the original sample from 2003-2006, as well as data on the topics covered over a five year period of the CIES Conferences from 2000 to 2004. The presentation also introduced a second study of topics derived from a content analysis of 24 syllabi coded for themes (49) and pedagogical strategies (13) derived from the course outlines acquired by the CIECAP project from 2007 to 2010 and used statistical analysis to support the content analysis reliability.

CIECAP Presentation

This poster presentation provides an explanation of the Comparative and International Education Course Archive Project (CIECAP), a special project of the Center for Comparative Education and an activity of the Comparative and International Education Graduate Students Association (CIEGSA) at Loyola University Chicago. CIECAP is conducted on behalf of the profession and is a service to the members of the Comparative and International Education Society who wish to enhance their teaching of the field. CIECAP has also been endorsed as a project of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies.

CIECAP is an on-line database of salient features of the introductory course in comparative education as taught at universities around the world. It is an important addition to the growing body of research on the nature of the field itself, including its form and parameters. The project's unique contribution to this research is an accessible archive of key elements of the introductory course including unit topics, referenced articles, journals and texts, as well as the interests and specializations of comparative education course instructors.

There are several specific purposes to CIECAP. First, instructors either planning to teach or already teaching comparative education can use this site as a tool for designing their course syllabi and for comparing their course to what is being taught in other programs. Surveys of CIES members engaged in teaching comparative education have found little consensus in the field regarding influential figures, works, and themes. Rather, the field remains strongly heterogeneous and ever changing. The CIECAP site is able to illuminate this dynamic characteristic of the field in a way that bolsters critical self-inquiry and allows instructors to situate their course within the broader context of what is happening in comparative education programs nationally and internationally.

Closely related to this purpose, through maintaining an archive of articles, texts and journals referenced in introductory courses, CIECAP contributes to the evolving discussion regarding a comparative and international education "canon." In a November 2001 CER article on teaching comparative and international education, Leon Tikly and Michael Crossley defined the field's canon as "a body of literature that is recognized by teachers and practitioners of comparative and international education as encompassing the major areas of knowledge, issues, axioms, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies that define comparative and international education as a field of study." CIECAP operates from this definition of a canon, recognizing, as do the authors, that it is far from being a fixed entity, and that in many cases it comprises a contested terrain.

A third closely related purpose to CIECAP is that over time it will provide a rich source of information for analysis of directions in which the field appears to be moving. Working from the assumption that a field's contours and boundaries are best discerned through assessing the thoughts and actions of its practitioners, we believe that ongoing documentation of the introductory course is an effective form of such assessment. Finally, prospective students interested in pursuing graduate study in comparative education will be able to review course outline information to get a sense of the field. As CIECAP also contains information on instructor interests and specializations, students utilizing the database can make more informed choices regarding the institution at which they would like to pursue their study.