Lingma Lu Acheson
Purdue School of Science
Server-Side Programming and Web App Development
The overall goal in Lingma's effort to internationalize her database and web application development courses is for students to understand the importance of a global mind-set in their profession. Not only will they inevitably have colleagues from international backgrounds, but by nature of their field, they will have international clients and a global audience.
In addition to content-specific learning goals, both courses are guided by five outcomes aligned with IUPUI’s International Learning Goals*. One of many group projects requires students to work as a multicultural team to design a website for a specific country and context, forcing them to think about their audience and how they would do things differently to adjust their language and design for that specific culture. Not only does this project encourage students to appreciate the complexity of contemporary cultural systems and know the fundamental principles of intercultural understanding and communication, but working in mixed-culture groups with classmates who think and work differently presents ample opportunities for students to learn humility in the face of difference, tolerance of ambiguity and unfamiliarity, and willingness to be in the position of a learner when encountering others.
“I am grateful for the lessons Ms. Acheson has integrated into our course as I have already applied them to my work, even before exiting the university” Justin Copeland, Student, Advanced Database course.
Benefit to the Students
Before stepping into the workforce, students are given ample opportunities in class to discover and explore areas of their profession that can be internationalized. These activities prepare them for the intercultural interactions they will have in the workplace and give them tools for conflict resolution. In-class discussions and exercises trigger them to think globally, and students leave Lingma's classes with a raised awareness of themselves, their profession, and how they fit into the greater world of programming and web application design. These in class discussions and exercises teach the students that technology blurs borders especially true for those in the technology field. They realize the importance of understanding another culture and being engaged in international and intercultural events. These practices prepare students to enter the workforce more confidently and perform better from the very start.
Benefit to the Faculty Member
Lingma has found that teaching is more exciting, fun and overall enjoyable when she takes her teaching materials and integrates them into a global context. Seeing students having deeper conversations and sharing their cultures motivates her. When she facilitates discussions and allows students to talk about the different cultures they know, she is also able to learn more about those cultures. Using surveys at the beginning and end of her course, she checks herself to see if she has successfully raised an awareness of global thinking and encouraged a global mind-set in her students, and the results are consistently positive and encouraging.
*Five International Learning Goals used in the courses:
- Have a good working knowledge of the broader world, its natural systems and nations, their characteristics, and their relationships with each other.
- Appreciate the complexity of contemporary cultural systems and know the fundamental principles of intercultural understanding and communication.
- Are humble in the face of difference, tolerant of ambiguity and unfamiliarity, and willing to be in the position of a learner when encountering others.
- Understand the global context of their chosen profession and have blended international perspectives into their professional learning.
- Have developed a sense of responsibility and involvement with pressing global issues concerning health, poverty, the environment, conflict, inequality, human rights, civil society, and sustainable economic development.