Kevin O'Connor

Kevin O'Connor

Ph.D Clark University, Psychology

About

43
Publications
13,393
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792
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2010 - June 2018
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • Faculty Member
July 2005 - June 2010
University of Rochester
Position
  • Faculty Member

Publications

Publications (43)
Article
Full-text available
More than 20 years ago, the New London Group (1996) framed a powerful vision for literacy pedagogies informed by the emerging networked world defined by local diversity and global connectedness, new digital media and fast capitalism. We now fully inhabit the world they described, but the contours of that world’s racial dynamics and growing inequali...
Conference Paper
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Mathematics has long been understood to be a "gatekeeper," which functions to restrict access to educational opportunities due to (a) its central role in formal educational sequences, and (b) the high failure rates often observed in mathematics courses. Failing is an encounter with a type of border: a border that divides a continuous scale into two...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The calculus sequence is widely recognized by engineering students and faculty and by engineering education researchers as one of the course sequences that “weed out” students who are unlikely to survive the rigors of the engineering curriculum [1, 2, 3]. While this “weeding out” process is often critiqued, it nevertheless has remained prominent in...
Article
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Situated learning theory proposed the notion of legitimate peripheral participation as central to a newcomer’s trajectory toward membership in a community of practice. Left underdeveloped were questions of legitimacy was conferred or denied. The work of Leigh Star points to ways of addressing these questions by considering the relation between traj...
Conference Paper
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The University of Colorado Boulder Engineering GoldShirt Program was created and launched in 2009, with the aim of providing an alternative pathway to and through university engineering programs. Using an Inclusive Excellence framework, the program provides a system of initiatives to broaden the participation of students traditionally underrepresen...
Chapter
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Activity theory focuses on how culture, history, and social interaction shape individual consciousness and the organization of collective activity. It is concerned with conceiving of human mental functioning and action in ways that go beyond the traditional psychological focus on the individual as the analytic unit. This entry discusses the foundat...
Chapter
Introduction. The focus of our chapter is on current research-based understandings of professional engineering work. We argue for the relevance of these understandings to engineering education. We will also argue, as others have as well (Barley, 2004; Trevelyan, 2007, 2010; Vinck, 2003), that research on professional engineering work is too sparse....
Chapter
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Introduction. There is increased concern with developing a better understanding of how people learn engineering, as prior efforts to improve engineering education have often followed an ad hoc trajectory. The field lacks a systematic understanding of how engineering learning occurs and there is a paucity of knowledge on which to draw (Felder, Shepp...
Chapter
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In this paper, we develop a perspective on learning through an examination of the film Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993). In doing so, we follow others who have claimed that we stand to gain insight into human phenomena through means other than the narrowly empirical approaches of mainstream social, psychological, and educational sciences.
Chapter
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Article
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This is an empirical ethnographic study of how engineers in both undergraduate design courses and the professional workplace engage in engineering design. The findings suggest that the organizational contexts constitute processes of design differently, in ways that challenge the typical rhetoric of undergraduate education that project courses are i...
Article
The purpose of the workshop is to explore the closely related frameworks of mediated action (MA) (Wertsch, 1998) and mediated discourse analysis (MDA) (Scollon & Scollon, 2004). In the spirit of a study group, participants will 1) engage in a dialogue around what these frameworks can bring to the learning sciences, 2) get hands-on experience analys...
Article
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This article considers “concept formation in the wild” among community organizers aiming to initiate change through processes involving resident participation and dialogue with community members. While this approach is thought to be more effective than “top down” processes, there is little clear understanding of how conceptualizations of resident p...
Conference Paper
Lave and Wenger's (1991) notion of situated learning critically highlights processes of learning that are central in designing for future practices, kinds of people, and values. A main principle of their perspective is that knowing and becoming are fundamentally social, cultural, and historical processes. However, much research aligning itself with...
Conference Paper
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Article
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This article examines discourse in a community change project committed to undoing “business as usual”—attempts to “fix” problems within the community without involvement of residents in the process. We show how, despite commitments to recognizing community “voice,” participants' orientation to powerful “centering institutions” (Jan Blommaert 2005)...
Article
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In this chapter, we argue for a perspective on learning as the organizing of access to valued social futures. Why think of learning in terms of orga-nizing? Such a perspective, we believe, follows from a particular view of the human sciences, one that sees people as always engaged in organizing , collectively, the conditions for and meaning of thei...
Article
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Taken as a whole, this volume can be viewed as an argument for refram-ing learning research as a human science, one focused on interpreting learning situations and organizing for improving learning in ways that put human agency, values, and engagement with social practices at the center. Each chapter illuminates one or more elements of a human scie...
Article
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In this paper we develop an analytical framework we refer to as "Becoming an Engineer" that focuses upon changes occurring over time as students traverse their undergraduate educations in engi- neering. This analytical framework involves three related dimen- sions that we track over time: disciplinary knowledge, identifica- tion, and navigation. Ou...
Article
Recent educational theory emphasizes the importance of considering identity processes in studying learning and development. In engineering education, identity has been cited as central in student development, for example, as a key factor in retention of students in the discipline, in particular with regard to underrepresented groups. This paper ado...
Chapter
Full-text available
Theories of situated cognition maintain that intelligent human action has evolved within and is shaped by and adapted to the specific forms of activity within which it occurs, and that cognition must therefore be understood and studied as an aspect of embodied practical activity.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent educational theory emphasizes the importance of considering identity processes in studying learning and development. In engineering education, identity has been cited as central in student development, for example, as a key factor in retention of students in the discipline, in particular with regard to underrepresented groups. This paper ado...
Article
Full-text available
Recent educational theory emphasizes the importance of considering identity processes in studying learning and development. In engineering education, identity has been cited as central in student development, for example, as a key factor in retention of students in the discipline. This paper examines how identity relates to students' decisions abou...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, I consider some ways in which linguistic anthropology can contribute to understanding "the cultural production of the educated person" (Levinson & Holland, 1996), to use a phrase that nicely captures an important focus in recent anthropological approaches to education. Work on cultural production is part of a broader project in the...
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This article identifies theoretical and analytical tensions between two approaches to situated learning: prescriptive approaches design learning contexts intended to produce improved participation in some “official” practice; critical approaches have begun to focus on how participants use resources from multiple practices to negotiate what it means...
Conference Paper
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This paper discusses results of the first two offerings of an experimental and innovative first-year chemical engineering curriculum. The curriculum is project-based in that it emphasizes learning through engagement in open-ended projects from early in the curriculum. It is spiral in that it revisits concepts periodically with increasing sophistica...
Article
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Individuals' representations of history involve a process in which narratives provided by the sociocultural setting are appropriated and used in specific settings to produce concrete texts. This process involves various forms of multivoicedness. The distinction is made between heteroglossia and means conflict as forms of multivoicedness, and these...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological approaches have traditionally taken knowledge and identity to be located in individuals as part of a mental core that underlies and even causes action in the world. In contrast, social practice theories as developed in sociology, anthropology, and psychology take action, or practice, to be primary, with individual or social structurin...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Studying the organizational infrastructure of a prominent engineering school, and how that infrastructure works to produce students as particular kinds of people.