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Collaborative Explorations: Scientific and Political Change — Spring 2014

offered in collaboration with the Science in a Changing World graduate track at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Join us for the January Collaborative Exploration " Science-policy connections to improve responses to extreme climatic events: Briefings requested — quickly!!!" Time and Date TBD. To register go to http://bit.ly/CEApply.

You can see a general preview below (starting at about minute 4:32).

Although massively online open courses (MOOCs) promise wide access to knowledge and new learning communities, there is still a need for more intimate, connective and deep inquiries. Collaborative Explorations or "moderate-sized open online collaborative learning" are a response to these learning desires.

Join us for a month during Spring 2014 for Collaborative Explorations: Scientific and Political Change. Each month revolves around a topic that provides a new opportunity for inquiry into science, technology and society. There is no prerequisite and any engaged and committed learner may apply. The specific time and date will be determined based on the availability of those who commit themselves by applying.

Month Title w/ Link to Description Your Availability Google+ Community Cost
January Science-policy connections to improve responses to extreme climatic events: Briefings requested — quickly!!!! http://bit.ly/CEApply. http://bit.ly/CEJan14 free
February The democratic control of science — A self-guided e-trail http://bit.ly/CEApply. http://bit.ly/CEFeb14 free
March The implications of new genetic technologies, here and there http://bit.ly/CEApply. http://bit.ly/CEMar14 free

Preparing students and citizens to be informed participants in political debates about science, technology and social change

http://bit.ly/CEApply. http://bit.ly/CEApr14 free

Collaborative Explorations (CE) are an extension of Project-Based Learning (PBL) and related approaches to education that begin from a real-world scenario or case in which the problems are not well defined. This designs leads participants direct their own inquiries and develop their skills as investigators and teachers (in the broadest sense of the word). The basic mode of a CE centers on interactions in small groups (online or face-to-face) over a delimited period of time in ways that create an experience of re-engagement with oneself as an avid learner and inquirer.

What makes such re-engagement possible in CEs is the combination of:

  • the tools and processes used for inquiry, dialogue, reflection, and collaboration;
  • the connections made among the diverse participants who bring diverse interests, skills, knowledge, experience, and aspirations to the CE/PBL case; and
  • the participants’ contributions to the topics laid out in the scenarios from which each CE/PBL case begins.


The specific "tangible" goal of any CE is to develop contributions to the topic defined by the case, while an “experiential” goal is to be impressed at how much can be learned with a small commitment of time using the CE structure to motivate and connect participants.

Participating in the CEs

Each online CE takes place over 22 days and consists of four sessions spaced one week apart, in which the same small group interacts in real time live via the internet for 60 minutes. Participants spend time between sessions on self-directed inquiry on the case, sharing of inquiries-in-progress with their small group and the wider community for the CE, and reflecting on the process (which typically involves shifts in participants’ definition of what they want to find out and how).

Our Wider Community

The Critical, Creative and Reflective Practice community at the core of these Collaborative Explorations also have other ways to connect and engage. Feel free to explore these other venues that are part of our community.