Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change: PBL to explore its deeper rationale

Continuing a series of posts on the development of the Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change within the framework of Ben Schwendener’s Seminar on Creativity.

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12 June ’11
Decided to do a test run of the Collaborative around a PBL case on helping me tease out the deeper rationale (vertical-unity) of the Collaborative.  Invited 17 people to participate in an initial exploration [which eventually resulted in about 10 signing up to start on 6/23)]

  • In this initial PBL for CESPOC, participants are asked to join with Peter Taylor to articulate this deeper rationale, one that captures how participation in CESPOC could help a person identify and affirm their aspirations and thus be moved to continue participating. Contributions to this PBL might take the form of examples that illustrate what CESPOC could be; design principles and processes for developing the Collaborative; a teasing out and clarification of Peter Taylor’s motivation for wanting to initiate this; theory and results about how self-organizing groups develop, persist, and dissipate; a schema of the spaces of interaction implied by such a Collaborative; or whatever else engages the interest of the participants in this initial PBL. Like all PBLs, some surprising directions of inquiry and reframings of the problem may emerge.
  • Note: This PBL operates on three levels: 1) Making contributions to the topic itself (i.e., the deeper rationale for a Collaborative); 2) An experience to reflect on so as to gain more insight about “how participation in CESPOC could help a person identify and affirm their aspirations and thus be moved to continue participating”; and 3) An experiment in convening a group for 3 weeks online (which can also be evaluated so as to gain insight about “how participation…”).

Important to keep a log of what I’ve been doing.

Other goals:

  • Move away from developing the Collaborative on my own. Provide an opening for others to shape the entity even as I remain with a special role.
  • Possibly the seed for a movement that is more rewarding than editing a journal and that extends the New England Workshop on Science and Social Change.
  • Make use of having a 50% time assistant for Science in a Changing World graduate track.
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About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he teaches and directs undergraduate and graduate programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society. His research and writing focuses on the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context, incl. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (U. Chicago Press, 2005) and Nature-nurture? No (2014, http://bit.ly/NNN2014). On reflective practice, see Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research & Engagement (with J. Szteiter, 2012, http://bit.ly/TYS2012).

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