Community Inquiry Labs: Developing shared capacity to

Community Inquiry Labs
Chip Bruce
Library & Information Science
U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
VMT Project CSCL Workshop, Drexel University,
June 9-11, 2004
Research Questions
1) What theory adequately accounts for
the complexity and diversity of
(distributed) collective practice?
2) What tools are needed to mediate
work on concrete tasks?
3) What is the most effective process for
developing shared capacity in the
form of knowledge, skills, & tools?
4) How do actual communities work to
address their problems?
(1) Pragmatism
“the desire to make the entire social organism
democratic, to extend democracy beyond its political
expression,” Jane Addams
“only by extracting at each present time the full
meaning of each present experience are we prepared
for doing the same in the future,” John Dewey
“A community of action has to work towards ...(i)
transforming an external situation...and (ii)
allowing its members to develop mutual knowledge
and identities,” Manuel Zacklad
(2) Community Inquiry Labs
A place where members of a community come together to
develop shared capacity and work on common problems.
Community – support for collaborative activity and for creating
knowledge that is connected to people's values, history, and lived
Inquiry – support for open-ended, democratic, participatory
Laboratory – a space and resources to bring theory and action
together in an experimental and critical manner
Setup Bricks
(3) Development Process
“improve the improvement process,” Doug Engelbart
“participatory design requires a shared form of life,” Pelle
Open participation in iLabs design, creation, membership, &
Accessible for low-end users => Open-source, W3C, CSS,
Modifiable--brick selection, customization, development
Use ==> Build ==> Design
Opening the
(4) Paseo
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
in Chicago's Humboldt Park
Galvanizes neighborhood
residents around community
Addresses critical issues:
gang violence, AIDS, social
and environmental justice,
literacy, and economic
LIS 391: Literacy in the
Information Age Course
Website maker
Bulletin board (phpBB)
Syllabus tool
Signup sheet (readings, class notes,
computer help)
Inquiry units
GK-12: Graduate Teaching
Fellows in K-12 Education
•graduate students
collaborate with
faculty and K-12
teachers to integrate
modeling and
scientific visualization
into education
Ethnography of the University
sponsors undergraduate
research on the university and
archives it in web-accessible
functions as a learning group for
students, staff, and faculty
interested in what it means to
conduct research on universities
as institutions

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