Community Science Labs, Science Shops , Amateurs and Experts

I was perusing a journal article today and found a reference to “Science Shops” which have been around for quite some time now in Europe. Yes, I’m on a voyage of discovery, always and so I stumble upon things which may be known facts to others. What’s interesting to me, one aspect at least, is that I’ve only now stumbled on this. In all the conversations I’ve had over the past couple of years no one has mentioned them as entities/ideas worth exploring.

(What, you may ask, as I did, are science shops? Science Shops are not “shops” in the traditional sense of the word. They are small entities that carry out scientific research in a wide range of disciplines – usually free of charge and – on behalf of citizens and local civil society.“)

This ties back to an earlier post I have about community science labs. While not the same, similar in providing access to experts and expert knowledge in the service of citizens and communities. It (science shops) also echoes elements of extension work, quite strongly.

I’m also spending some time contemplating amateurs and experts and the relations between them. Not new ground I know, been well trod before but it interests me. What is the role of the expert, the scholar, in relation to community? What are the stakes, as well, for each both in relation to each other and in self interest.

How, When and Why of Forest Farming – Designing a site/community

Below is an attempt to lay out the design rationale for development of an online course and learning community for forest farming. This process is underway now and involves a core group which is geographically dispersed over New York and Pennsylvania.

“Our initial motivation in using MOODLE to work with, as the core HWWFF group, was that it would allow all of our members to become acquainted with the tool they would ultimately be using to host online learning communities. MOODLE is a learning content management system which relies strongly on the social aspects of learning and knowledge construction. It has a range of tools which bring learners together online to engage in activities and discussions meant to form a “community of learners”.
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