I’m a Professor Emeritus in Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I now live in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
My work has focused on inquiry-based learning, community inquiry, and the information and communication practices that help people in communities learn and work together.
Building on a background in computer science, I’ve had a continuing interest in the promise, as well as the perils, that information and communication technologies offer for understanding, representing, and transforming our lived experiences. Over time, that interest has led to explorations of a variety of questions regarding the nature of knowledge, democratic participation, community, technology, and literacy.
I’ve drawn from John Dewey’s theory of inquiry and the broader pragmatist tradition, including the work of Jane Addams, William James, Ella Flagg Young, Charles Sanders Peirce, and others, and on studies situated in community action.
This work is discussed in recent books, including
- International handbook of progressive education (2015),
- Youth community inquiry: New media for community and personal growth (2014),
- Libr@ries: Changing information space and practice (2006),
- Literacy in the information age: Inquiries into meaning making with new technologies (2003),
various articles, and presentations. It is enacted through many projects of the Community Informatics Initiative (which I co-founded with Ann Bishop), and in the development of computer systems to support collaboration and community action, such as Quill, the Inquiry Page, Community Inquiry Labs, Discoveries, and Statistics Workshop.
I continue to teach in short courses in the US and abroad. My last full appointment was in Library & Information Science at the University of Illinois (2000-2011), now the iSchool. Prior to that I taught in Curriculum & Instruction (1990-2000). I also had appointments in Bioengineering, the Center for Writing Studies, and the Center for East Asian & Pacific Studies. During 2007-08, I held a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the National College of Ireland in Dublin.
Before going to UIUC, I was a Principal Scientist at Bolt Beranek and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1974-90). Prior to that I taught Computer Science at Rutgers University (1971-74). I received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin (1971) and a BA in Biology from Rice University (1968).