Responsible knowledge workers: Rhetoric, media, and the third environment

Nancy Barron, Sibylle Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We argue that successful participation and effective communication in online and offine communities is based on our knowledge of these communities, and on our interest in engaging in shared practices (Wenger, 1998). To better understand how we can prepare our students successfully for community participation in digital environments, geographically bound enviroments, and environments that merge the digital and the physical, we look at Javier Echeverria's work on telepolis and epistimopolis to show that any environment is constituted of communities that engage in shared practices. No space is ephemeral, but every space is part of a community that is joined into cities and into societies. We also borrow from the feld of business management, specifcally Peter F. (2006) who argues that the 21st century's knowledge society needs knowledge workers. To make sure that knowledge workers understand their roles in their communities, Drucker points out that we need to teach Aristotles principles of rhetoric to make sure that students understand the importance of purpose, intended audience, and speaker or author. Research that only requires an end product without constant analysis of purpose, audience, and writer in mind requires little knowledge (episteme) and focuses mostly on performance (techné). We also look to Drucker's (2006) work to help us think through strategies that can help students to become effective communicators. We provide student project examples as evidence for conscious attempts at participating in communities of practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • Epistemopolis
  • Knowledge workers
  • Responsible citizens
  • Student projects
  • Third environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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