William P. Helling

Lecturer and Associate Program Director

Library and Information Science, School of Informatics and Computing

Internationalized Course:

Information Structures for the Web

My course Information Structures for the Web (S531/I400) incorporated a virtual exchange with our partners in Finland. This course combines IUPUI graduate and undergraduate students with counterparts from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. IUPUI and Haaga-Helia students collaborate on group website projects during the entire spring semester. IUPUI students gain experience in delivering services to international users with this virtual exchange. We work together in Canvas and Microsoft Teams, asynchronously and synchronously with video and audio chat. By working with students from around the world who attend Haaga-Helia, IUPUI students practice intercultural communication and cross-cultural teamwork. IUPUI students from S531/I400 who wish to study abroad can enroll in S604/S400 and extend their international experiences. These students travel to Helsinki for two weeks in late May to meet their collaborators in person and experience intercultural activities that further extend cultural understanding. By incorporating the IUPUI International Learning Goals, I am able to provide an international perspective to information science and enhance student competitiveness in the global marketplace.

"The global pandemic that separated and isolated us in spring 2020 did not dampen our desire for international collaboration. Instead, this event made us realize even more how valuable our global work has become and how creative we must be in the future to maintain and expand our efforts despite any obstacles."Dr. Helling

Benefit to the Students

The students learn to work with international students on an important area of common concern: global information delivery. They acquire the technical skills necessary for the task while enhancing their collaboration skills, their intercultural communication, and learning to work across different time zones and with colleagues with different levels of English to complete group projects that culminate in usable and accessible websites viewable on any device. Students need to work in a setting with international partners. Overcoming language, cultural differences, and even time differences prepare them for future roles in organizations whose reach is expanding. A student's future career may depend on demonstrating the highly desired collaboration skills they acquire in managing global group projects.

Benefit to the Faculty Member

I was able to bring undergraduate and graduate students together from different programs and skill levels so that they could combine their strengths and work with international students. I have partnered with Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences since 2013 on informal collaborative classes, but I am now able to incorporate my earlier success into an officially sponsored set of courses and study-abroad program. I anticipate further advances in successfully teaching all levels in an international setting. Working with an international partner takes continuous commitment. It is easy to lose focus and contact when personnel and situations change over time. However, with this commitment, the virtual exchange provides benefits for one's academic and personal pursuits. The investment in an international partner will pay off in many ways for both sides.

Check out the gateway site to five collaborative website projects created by the IUPUI and Haaga-Helia students. 

 $20,000 Grant for DEI Work Between IUPUI and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

"Building Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Higher Education for Staff, Students, and Teachers"

In addition to his virtual exchange work, Dr. Helling received a grant of  $20,000 from the U.S. Embassy in Finland through the Small Grants Program. This international collaboration between IUPUI and Haaga-Helia is the start of a longer-term engagement in DEI activities. The connections made during this collaborative process will form the basis of a sustainable partnership that can include all the 3UAS members along with other institutions of higher learning in Finland. This experience will help others interested in establishing DEI working groups or simply collaborating on DEI topics and activities.

Helling & Students in front of Helsinki SignIUPUI and Haaga-Helia Students