Education for knowledge creation: Fostering collective cognitive responsibility in the Nunavut Med
Alexander McAuley & Fiona Walton, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
Collective cognitive responsibility, the extent to which all members of a group contribute to the joint advancement of knowledge, is one characteristic of a high-functioning knowledge creation community. (Scardamalia 2002) Like knowledge creation itself, however, it does run contrary to the individualistic knowledge acquisition models that tend to dominate the majority of educational settings. Education for knowledge creation, then, implies that educators must have ways to see how their instructional decisions and teaching styles play out in the creation of knowledge in their classrooms if they are to counter this tendency. They must experience and understand collective cognitive responsibility themselves if they are to support it in their students.
Drawing from two consecutive and in many respects very similar courses near the end of the three-year Nunavut Master of Education (MEd) program, this case study uses social network analysis to illustrate the impact of different instructional approaches on patterns of student-student and student-instructor communication in the Knowledge Forum database at the heart of the courses. Based on qualitative analysis of the notes contributed, it then explores the relationship between the instructional models and collective cognitive responsibility. Finally, given that students and instructors alike were quite experienced with the Knowledge Forum environment, it identifies challenges to knowledge creation in education in general and, more particularly, makes suggestions which educators designing knowledge creating classrooms or experiences may find helpful in addressing the challenges.