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Cargo Cults and Cognitive Apprenticeships: Two Frameworks for Adopting Unfamiliar Curricular Cultures

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Faculty Development

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Mel Chua Olin College of Engineering

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Mel is an engineering education researcher who works with postmodern qualitative methodologies, curricular cultures within and inspired by hacker/maker communities, and engineering faculty formation. She is also an electrical and computer engineer and auditory low-pass filter who occasionally draws research cartoon

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Lynn Andrea Stein Olin College of Engineering

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Lynn Andrea Stein is Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. Stein's research spans the fields of artificial intelligence, programming languages, human-computer interaction, and engineering and computer science education.

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This theory paper suggests a contrasting pair of frames through which to view faculty attempts to adopt curricular cultures, as when introducing new pedagogies into courses. Attempts that use a cargo cult framing treat novel pedagogies as writ, copying practices without interrogating underlying meaning. In contrast, attempts that use a cognitive apprenticeship framing presume that expertise comes through scaffolded, reflective, and social performance leading toward contextually adaptable mastery. These contrasting frames, supported by case studies, provide a theoretical basis for improved curricular culture change.

Chua, M., & Stein, L. A. (2017, June), Cargo Cults and Cognitive Apprenticeships: Two Frameworks for Adopting Unfamiliar Curricular Cultures Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28014

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