Responsible Knowledge Workers: Rhetoric, Media, and the Third Environment

By Nancy Barron and Sibylle Gruber.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We argue that successful participation and effective communication in online and offline communities is based on our knowledge of these communities, and on our interest in engaging in shared practices (Wenger, 1998). To better understand how we can prepare our students successfully for community participation in digital environments, geographically bound enviroments, and environments that merge the digital and the physical, we look at Javier Echeverria’s work on telepolis and epistimopolis to show that any environment is constituted of communities that engage in shared practices. No space is ephemeral, but every space is part of a community that is joined into cities and into societies. We also borrow from the field of business management, specifically Peter F. Drucker (2006) who argues
that the 21st century’s knowledge society needs knowledge workers. To make sure that knowledge workers understand their roles in their communities, Drucker points out that we need to teach Aristotles principles of rhetoric to make sure that students understand the importance of purpose, intended audience, and speaker or author. Research that only requires an end product without constant analysis of purpose, audience, and writer in mind requires little knowledge (episteme) and focuses mostly on performance (techné). We also look to Drucker’s (2006) work to help us think through strategies that can help students to become effective communicators. We provide student project examples as evidence for conscious attempts at participating in communities of practices.

Keywords: Knowledge Workers, Epistemopolis, Third Environment, Student Projects, Responsible Citizens

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.153-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 814.089KB).

Dr. Nancy Barron

Associate Professor, Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Nancy G. Barron is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing at Northern Arizona University where she teaches courses in the language of peace, multimedia design, the language of struggle, and professional writing. Barron’s work on her position as a non-Anglo faculty member, and her work on confronting identity issues experienced by non-mainstream students (particularly Latinos) in higher education can be found in various journals and edited collections. Her current research interests include issues of diversity in online environments, Latina identity construction in online and face-to-face educational settings, and understanding principles of peace in local, national and international settings. She is exploring venues that expose students to peaceful interactions in diverse settings and promote social action.

Dr. Sibylle Gruber

Professor, Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Sibylle Gruber is a Professor in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing at Northern Arizona University. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy studies, rhetoric and cultures, computers and composition. Her book-length projects include Technologies and Literacies: Histories, Experiences, and Practices, Weaving a Virtual Web: Practical Approaches to New Information Technologies, Alternative Rhetorics: Challenges to the Rhetorical Tradition (with Laura Gray-Rosendale), and Social Change in Diverse Teaching Contexts: Touchy Subjects and Routine Practices (with Nancy G. Barron and Nancy Grimm). Gruber’s work on cybertheories, feminist rhetorics, composition, and cultural studies can be found in various journals and edited collections.


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