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v.1.0 (draft) - Radical Realtime Transparency: the peculiarities and possibilities of cognitive apprenticeships in open communities

v.1.0 (draft) - Radical Realtime Transparency: the peculiarities and possibilities of cognitive apprenticeships in open communities

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Published by Mel Chua
The first release of a giant braindump on cognitive apprenticeships in open communities. I'm not very proud of it yet. There are known bugs. I could draw from more resources. I could use more case studies. I could develop the thinking here more. The writing is choppy and the arguments fall through in many places. But here's "release early, release often" in action.
The first release of a giant braindump on cognitive apprenticeships in open communities. I'm not very proud of it yet. There are known bugs. I could draw from more resources. I could use more case studies. I could develop the thinking here more. The writing is choppy and the arguments fall through in many places. But here's "release early, release often" in action.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Mel Chua on May 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/21/2014

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RADICAL REALTIME TRANSPARENCY1
Radical Realtime Transparency
The Peculiarities and Possibilities of CognitiveApprenticeships in Open Communities
April 10, 2012Mel Chuamel@purdue.eduPhD student at Purdue University and member of the teachingopensource.org community
released under a creative commons attribution-share-alike license
 
RADICAL REALTIME TRANSPARENCY2
Question
How can we understand the sorts of learning that takes place within open communities, and whatimplications and effects might they have for undergraduate STEM education?
Credits
I wish to thank the following people before this paper begins:The professors in the Teaching Open Source community, particularly Fardad Soleimanloo of SenecaCollege for his commentary on how open communities make the teacher's job easier, and Heidi Ellis of Western New England University and Karl Wurst of Worcester State University for generously givingtheir time for extended interviews in March. To our knowledge, this was the first time someone hastried to formally capture a teacher's experience in open community involvement in such high detail.Because of the paucity of scholarly work in this area, these interviews ended up being a large part of the data I drew on for my paper.Sumana Harihareswara of the Wikimedia foundation, Sebastian Dziallas of the Fedora Project, andGreg DeKoenigsberg of the Eucalyptus project for giving feedback on initial drafts of this material andkeeping me honest about the nature of open communities.John Smith, Etienne Wenger, and other members of the Community of Practice Foundations Workshopwho answered my incessant questions on the nature of communities of practice; any errors inrepresenting the various thoughts behind communities of practice, legitimate peripheral participation,and so forth are my own.
Abstract
When open communities – open source, open content, and open hardware projects – are healthy andthriving, they act as communities of practice whose cultural practices of transparency enable situatedlearning and cognitive apprenticeships in ways that complement traditional classroom instruction. Their widespread informal mentorship practices lead to ample opportunities for students to engage inlegitimate peripheral participation. Their text-based and asynchronous nature, caused by thedistribution of open community contributors across multiple timezones, make these experiencesaccessible to a broader group of learners than those able to participate in conventional undergraduateinternships or co-ops.This paper uses frameworks and language from academia to describe the learning interactions that take place in open communities. It describes some of the central cultural differences between academic andopen communities and discusses the potential of implementing “the open source way” in academia as awhole. My intent is to help instructors frame their thinking on how to incorporate open community participation into their classes, and to give open community members another set of conceptual toolsthey can use to understand (and hopefully improve) their own activities. Ultimately, I hope this paper will help both groups talk with each other.
 
RADICAL REALTIME TRANSPARENCY3
Introduction
Open source, hardware, and content projects such as Linux, Firefox, and Wikipedia provide richenvironments for authentic student learning by allowing students to participate in an ongoing project of significant complexity. The communities that surround these open projects are particularly interesting,as the transparency of both artifacts and processes contributes to both an individual student's portfolioand their institution's public profile. Such projects allow students to gain real-world experience within a professional environment where the development process is made as visible and explicit as possibleand a culture of inquiry and cooperative learning is fostered. This affords students a view of a creation process that typically cannot be provided by
industry
or within the confines of a conventionalclassroom.In short, there are opportunities for learning here. However, it's difficult for instructors to designclassroom experiences for an unfamiliar world they may have never seen themselves. To manyacademics, it's almost as if open communities speak a foreign language – they certainly have a foreignculture that requires translation into terminologies and ways of explaining that are familiar to anaudience of professors. Prior scholarly work has focused on describing open culture to a variety of academic domains such as sociology, anthropology, economics, and law, but no such translation existsfor education.This paper aims to be one such introductory translation geared towards teachers of engineering at theundergraduate level, a period which serves as the final pre-professional phase of training for most newengineers. The focus, therefore, is on preparing students to function as working technical contributorsin the “real world” while they remain within the relatively safe confines of the classroom, where theramifications of mistakes are less costly. Open communities are good places to experiment withworking in the “real world” because they
are
the real world – but the real world presented in aremarkably flexible way that can be readily adapted to the classroom environment.
Thesis
This paper posits that healthy open source, open content, and open hardware projects (hereafter “opencommunities”) are communities of practice whose cultural practices of transparency enable situatedlearning and cognitive apprenticeships in ways that complement traditional classroom instruction.
Motivation
For those involved in a project, the process of creation involves a rich and delightfully messydiscourse, a conversation between teammates and technology, components, codes, analysis, andconstraints. This conversation is situated in a particular context; one cannot learn “how to talk aboutengineering” through textbook memorization or reading university brochures any more than one canlearn "Italian conversation" through vocabulary memorization or reading tourist guides.However, for those not already involved in the creative process, that's the equivalent of what they'restuck with. The invisibility of "what engineers do" doesn't exactly encourage people to participate inresearch projects themselves, whether that's as subjects or as researchers. It can also help engineers

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