Existing as part of a community is a fundamental human attribute. Human collaboration has been embraced in the modern American workplace and classroom through team activity and projects. Teachers at universities and colleges, however, frequently toil in isolation enforced by principles steeped in academic tradition.
The concept of making meaning through community is well grounded in the theory of social constructivism and through historical learning principles evidenced at colonial colleges. An innovative approach to higher education emphasizing teamwork and collaboration is the Learning Community linking teachers and students together in interdisciplinary collaborative projects or coursework to create shared knowledge.
Through collaborative inquiry and participatory action, this study examined the impact on community college faculty who participated within a learning community of students, teachers, and broadcasters. As a means to this exploration, this study focused on a specific project within an urban community college district charged with the responsibility to create both common coursework and a town hall meeting on the issue of stem cell research. The end result of this study was a broadcast documentary, employing the technique of participatory documentary production, which explored the meaning of collaboration as lived and reflected upon by the faculty and broadcast teams who partnered on this project. Data sources included collaborative meetings of the learning community, classroom sessions, broadcast team meetings, the town hall event, one-on-one interviews with participants and group reflective discussions.
The faculty participants of this study call this inter-disciplinary experience exhilarating and memorable. They believed the project positively impacted their practice, students, and community. They were surprised by the strong emotional impact broadcasting added to the results. They expressed that the broadcast element deepened their sense of self worth while increasing their sense of personal responsibility.
This study impacted the community college district in which it was conducted, as this learning community project became a prototype for encouraged and prioritized activities. It can also serve as a model for other higher education institutions who own broadcast assets, to use their production facilities to collaborate with faculty and students on important, curriculum-based projects in learning communities.*
Keywords. faculty collaboration, learning communities, urban community college, participatory broadcast documentary, social constructivism, participatory action research, collaborative inquiry, stem cell research.
*This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation). The CD requires the following system requirements: Adobe Acrobat; QuickTime.
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|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 68/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community colleges, Adult education, Continuing education, Mass media|
|Keywords:||Broadcasting, Faculty collaboration, Learning communities, Social constructivism|
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