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Article of Volume 7, Issue 1, March 2012

Personal and shared experiences as resources for meaning making in a philosophy of science course

Author: Maarit Arvaja

Abstract: The aim of this case study was to explore health-education students’ personal and collaborative meaning making activities during an online science philosophy course in the higher-education context. Through applying the dialogical perspective for learning, the focus was on studying how different contextual resources were used in building understanding within the philosophy of science and what kind of understanding the students constructed and reflected through these resources. The study focused especially on exploring how the students’ life experiences and fellow students served as resources in their meaning making activities. The results showed that prior work and discipline-related knowledge and experiences provided the students with resources for understanding the philosophical texts by applying, conceptualizing, or critically evaluating the philosophical knowledge presented in the texts. In their discursive activities, the students used fellow students as resources in elaborating the theoretical conceptualizations further, or they were engaged in sharing their similar work or discipline-related experiences and conceptions. These different resources offered tools for understanding, conceptualizing, and critically evaluating both the philosophical themes studied and the practices of one’s own work and those of the scientific community.

Keywords: Collaborative learning, Contextual resources, Dialogicality, Intercontextuality, Intertextuality, Meaning making

Citation: Arvaja, M. (2012) Personal and shared experiences as resources for meaning making in a philosophy of science course. ijcscl 7 (1), pp. 85-108

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-011-9137-5

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF arvaja_7_1.pdf

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