Community-based learning: The core competency of residential, research-based universities

  • Gerhard Fischer
  • Markus RohdeEmail author
  • Volker Wulf


Traditionally, universities focus primarily on instructionist teaching. Such an understanding has been criticized from theoretical and practical points of view. We believe that socio-cultural theories of learning and the concepts of social capital and social creativity hold considerable promise as a theoretical base for the repositioning of universities in the knowledge society. To illustrate our assumption, we provide case studies from the University of Colorado and the University of Siegen. These cases indicate how approaches to community-based learning can be integrated into a curriculum of applied computer science. We also discuss the role these didactical concepts can play within a practice-oriented strategy of regional innovation.


Social capital Social creativity Community-based learning Symmetry of ignorance Distributed intelligence Courses-as-seeds Courses in practice (CiP) Undergraduate research apprenticeship program Transdisciplinary education Communities of practice (CoPs) Networks of practice (NoPs) Communities of interest (CoIs) Regional industrial clusters 


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science+ Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for LifeLong Learning & Design (L3D)University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Information Systems and New MediaUniversity of SiegenSiegenGermany
  3. 3.International Institute for Socio-InformaticsBonnGermany
  4. 4.Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Systems (FhG-FIT)Sankt AugustinGermany

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