Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
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Understanding and enhancing learning communities in tertiary education in science and engineering

Researchers: Michael Forret (Team director), Chris Eames, Richard Coll, Alison Campbell, Michèle Prinsep, and Rainer Künnemeyer, University of Waikato;
Heather Stonyer, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development;
David Dodd and Jim Clark, the Auckland University of Technology;
Kevin Stewart, Waikato Institute of Technology;
Thomas Cronjé and Chrispin Maclean, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

Our work was part of a research project that attempted to provide insights into the nature of learning communities for science and engineering higher education students and staff. A particular feature of this project was the involvement of lecturers and tutors who were part of the teaching staff in New Zealand’s higher education. Being members of the learning communities investigated and thus, acting as ‘insiders’, they provide a unique insight into the nature of these learning communities. The study sought to detail the nature of higher education science and engineering learning communities, and to understand how these communities differ for teachers and learners at different educational levels, all viewed through a sociocultural lens.


A. Campbell, R. Künnemeyer, and M. R. Prinsep. (2008). Staff perceptions of higher education science and engineering learning communities. Research in Science & Technological Education, 26, pp. 279-294.

M. Forret, C. Eames, R. Coll, A. Campbell, T. Cronje, K. Stewart, D. Dodd, H. Stonyer, J. Clark, C. Maclean, R. Kunnemeyer, and M. Prinsep. (2007). Understanding and enhancing learning communities in tertiary education in science and engineering. Report commissioned by Teaching and Learning Research Initiative.

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