The capstone course for the MA-HRIR program had a unique class list this fall. Taught by Stacy Doepner-Hove, program director of the MA-HRIR program, the course included not only 28 University of Minnesota students but 21 students from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia.
The Strategy Ethics and Execution course met once a week for seven weeks. Doepner-Hove teamed up with Professor Bernd Irmer from QUT to co-teach using technology-enabled classrooms. The two-credit class consisted of lectures and small group work, with groups comprised of both Australian and U.S. students. The small groups met each night and worked via Skype, WebEx, and Google Hangout in breakout rooms equipped with large-screen TVs and microphones.
“The course would not have been so successful without the help of our tech person, Vikki Anderson, and her Australian counterpart Gareth Simpson,” notes Doepner-Hove.
The class also addressed a case presented by corporate partner General Mills. Alumni Kristina Morton, ’99 MA-HRIR, and Camri Jacobson, ’00 MA-HRIR, presented the organization’s case to the class.
One obstacle the joint class overcame was the time difference between Minneapolis and Brisbane. The Carlson School students attended the course as an evening class each week, from 5:45 to 9:05 p.m., while the class time was 8:45 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. for the QUT students. The students’ small groups compromised on convenient times for team members on both sides of the ocean.
Between the two classes, 12 countries were represented: each class consisted of international students as well as domestic Australian and U.S. students.
"This class is a great way to prepare these students for the real professional world," says Doepner-Hove. “At some point in all of their HR careers, they will most likely have global dealings.” It is also a good way to increase cultural understanding and working through technological means, she says.
Although this is the first year she taught the capstone course jointly, Doepner-Hove does not expect it to be the last.
“The class provided numerous complementary learning opportunities," says David Concannon, one of the Australian students. "From working in virtual teams, working with culturally diverse teams, and working on a real company case, in addition to the academic side of expatriate management."