This study investigates whether engaging college students (n = 42) in a knowledge building environment would help them work as a community to construct their collective knowledge of history of science and, accordingly, develop a more informed scientific view. The study adopted mixed-method analyses and data mainly came from surveys and student online discourse recorded in a database. Findings indicate that students’ knowledge building activities were conducive to the development of their online collaboration as a learning process and the effective collective knowledge work concerning natural science history as a learning outcome. Moreover, students were able to attain a more constructivist-oriented epistemic view that sees scientific theories as invented, tentative, and improvable objects. Finally, based on course reflection, students also regarded their collective learning experiences in this course as meaningful and productive.
Journal of Science Education and Technology, January 2015