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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: June 29, 2000
E-Mail Curran or Takata.

For Learning 2000 Conference

On Thu, 29 Jun 2000, Jeremy Hunsinger wrote:

That's ok, it is why we built this hugely wonderful database system to keep track of all the abstracts,  so here is your abstract, and so you don't feel alone in this, i will tell you that you are not the first or second that has asked for a copy of the abstract back.

Creating a Virtual Community for Academic Discourse

Report of a project in upper division and graduate courses in sociology, human services, criminal justice, in which the University of Wisconsin, Parkside (UWP), and California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), brought their students together in academic discourse, which was formalized with face-to-face presentations at the annual meetings of the Western Social Science Association, in San Diego, California, in April 2000.

The virtual community was established over the universities' shared teaching site, Dear Habermas. Discourse was managed through the use of e-mail discourse which was uploaded to the site, so that all UWP and CSUDH students and faculty could follow the thread and participate. Both universities supported the project with local grants which permitted face-to-face encounters for five UWP students and their teacher, for eleven CSUDH students, their teacher, and a member of the Undergraduate Advising Center at CSUDH, whose focus is on advising as teaching, and for two California State Corrections Officers from the CSUDH college service area. The academic discourse for the four sessions at WSSA was centered on non-violent responses to the structural violence of our present institutions, in particular, that of higher education.

Students presented their discourse on racism, gender discrimination, child labor, construction of a peacemaking identity, downsizing, violence in local communities and amongst our children, criminal justice responses to violence, and means to establishing community discourse on these crucial issues. They were impressive in the ease with which they drew on theory, policy,and practice to illustrate their points. Both UWP and CSUDH students returned to their respective campuses to disseminate their experiences and follow them through with their local academy and community.