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University of Michigan School of Information


547 - Engaging with Communities

Engaging with Communities --- Information-based community engagement work requires a special set of knowledge, skills, context sensitivity, self-awareness, and comportment. This course provides multidisciplinary approaches to soliciting, identifying, and meeting community needs to ensure truly collaborative endeavors. As a client-based course, it examines the principles, methods, and ethics to respectful, informed, and beneficial community collaboration across the engagement's lifecycle. It will highlight contextual inquiry, relevant data gathering and analysis methodologies, user centered design, project management, conflict resolution, relationship building, and other approaches to join student skillsets with community knowledge and expertise to best ensure pertinent, usable, and sustainable inputs. We will unpack key issues that can enhance, impair, and even derail engagement such as power dynamics, trust, social identities, race and class, and cultural and professional humility. Understanding community members' wants, needs, and aspirations can help information-based projects have greater impact, value, and enhance prospects for adoption and sustainability.
Credit Hours 3


  • Co-requisite: SI 501 or waiver; (C- or better)