Constructing knowledge on the web: New dissertation

by | Monday, November 26, 2012

I am pleased and proud to announce that Mike DeSchryver recently defended his dissertation, titled:

Toward a Theory of Web-Mediated Knowledge Synthesis:  How Advanced Learners Used the Web to Construct Knowledge about Climate Change Behavior

This is an excellent piece of research pushing new boundaries in our developing understanding of the process of learning from the Web.

I see this research contributing not just to the evidence on how people learn but also to practice and pedagogy. I think the most significant contribution is his articulation of the idea of “creative synthesis” in reading—as expert readers actively work across a “creative stew” developed from multiple texts and ideas through repurposing, meaning-making, and in-the-moment-insights. Though the full dissertation is not available at this time you can get a sense of the scope and findings of his study through this abstract.

This dissertation utilized a multiple case study design to explore how advanced learners synthesize information about ill-structured topics when reading-to-learn and reading-to-do on the Web.  Eight graduate students provided data in the form of think-alouds, interviews, screen video, digital trails, and task artifacts.  Data analysis was based on abductive coding, first examining synthesis through the theoretical lenses of reading comprehension, Cognitive Flexibility Theory on the Web, and creativity, followed by a constant comparative exploration of emergent phenomenon in the data. The empirical findings from this study provided the foundation for a Theory of Web-mediated Synthesis comprised of interdependent elements – divergent keyword search phrases, synthesis for meaning, in-the-moment insights, repurposing, reinforcement and note-taking – which together lead to creative syntheses.  Illustration and elaboration of these elements are provided in the context of two in-depth case studies. In doing so, this dissertation provides a post-comprehension lens through which to better explore and understand generative reading and learning activities on the Web.

Congratulations Mike on a job well done!

Topics related to this post: Uncategorized

A few randomly selected blog posts…

The more things change…

I had posted earlier about a recent commercial that, though arguing at one level that technology can fundamentally change education, seemed to stick to the standard-lecture (albeit in different and cooler modes of transmission). Just how little the discourse around...

Natural v.s. Artificial Intelligence in Teaching

The field of educational technology is littered by attempts to replace the teacher by creating some kind of a technological learning system that would make the teacher redundant. All such attempts have failed. This has, however, not prevented people from trying. This...

TE150 presentation in streaming video

Terri Gustafson has created streaming downloads of the presentation recently made by the TE150 (Reflections on Teaching, Reflections on Learning) Online team (see this for more context). The video can be seen in two parts: Part I: The presentation "Reflections on...

TPACK in Science: New book & chapter

I was invited to write an epilogue for a new book on the development of science teachers TPACK (with a specific focus on East Asia), and I "volunteered" my colleague Danah Henriksen to help with it (thanks Danah). The book was recently published. Here is the citation...

Senseless signage

Great examples of funny, absurd and weird signage from across the world. Archived for use in my 817 or 917 classes. Check out Senseless signage, parts I through 10.

Posting from an iTouch

typing on this keyboard is still kind of painful, though I am getting better every word I type.

Connections: Photo Haiku from Summer 2016

Connections: Photo Haiku from Summer 2016

For the past 17 years (with just two exceptions) my summers have been spent teaching in the MAET program. 2016 was the last time I did that, teaching in Chicago the third cohort of the MSUrbanSTEM project. The MAET program runs somewhat concurrently in three...

All you can cheat, the web & learning

Now here's an important story coming out of Denmark: Students in Denmark Allowed Full Access to the Internet During Exams I have always been a believer in allowing students to use any resources they can during examinations. If we care about authentic assessment, what...

Textbooks meet Bittorrent!

NYTimes article on how publishers are responding to the advent of peer-to-peer sharing of textbook files. Check out First It Was Song Downloads. Now It’s Organic Chemistry.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *