Purdue intercultural learning center flourishes with the help of HUBzero

Purdue’s Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR) has turned to HUBzero, an ITaP-developed cyberinfrastructure for building interactive science websites, to better achieve their mission of bringing intercultural learning into the classroom and publishing research in the field.

Intercultural learning, which focuses on preparing students to learn from and work with people from other cultures, is increasingly important in a global society. CILMAR, which was founded in 2016, works with faculty to introduce their students to intercultural learning through a variety of different educational tools. In turn, CILMAR’s intercultural learning specialists collect data about which tools work best in various situations.

Before collaborating with HUBzero, CILMAR staff members were trying to keep track of all that data in a cumbersome Excel spreadsheet, explains Annette Benson, communication strategist and intercultural learning specialist for CILMAR. They needed a way to make the data more manageable, as well as more accessible to the public.

The HUBzero team built a web-based science gateway, known as the Intercultural Learning Hub (HubICL), that eliminated the Excel spreadsheet and created an easy-to-use interface where users can search for intercultural learning tools by a variety of attributes (for example, the intercultural development of the audience or the facet of intercultural learning to be taught). Wherever possible, links to the materials are provided, and the graphical interface lets users easily add their own tools to the database.

“I was amazed at their ability to translate what we needed into computer speak,” says Benson of the HUBzero team and especially Anthony Fuentes, who was the HubICL’s dedicated developer. “Anthony was really responsive. His agile approach to development was much appreciated.”

The finished HubICL isn’t just a place for the CILMAR team to store and categorize the tools they use. It also contains a forum and collection section where intercultural learning specialists can meet and connect with one another, and a research repository where people can share white papers and presentations related to intercultural learning.

Now, when Benson gives presentations at conferences, she can steer attendees toward all of the resources and research behind her presentation with a single link to the HubICL.

The HUBzero platform currently powers more than 60 interactive, web-based hubs driving research and education in fields such as nanotechnology, medical device informatics, cancer treatment, pharmaceutical manufacturing, volcanology, environmental modeling, biofuels, and the bonds between humans and companion animals.

HUBzero also offers a simple sustainability option. When someone builds a community with the HUBzero platform and uses HUBzero’s No Hassle option, HUBzero will sustain the community past grant funding through http://onescienceplace.org{OneSciencePlace}.

To learn more about using HUBzero for research or education needs, contact Claire Stirm, HUBzero engagement manager, cfrist@purdue.edu.

Writer:  Adrienne Miller, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-496-8204, mill2027@purdue.edu

Last updated: March 11, 2019