Dr. Jianwei Zhang is the Department Chair and associate professor in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University at Albany, State University of New York. His research explores social and cognitive dynamics of collaborative learning and knowledge building supported by new technology-based environments. Funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) and other sources, Dr. Zhang is leading an interdisciplinary team to create pedagogical and technological support for sustained knowledge building using a principle-based, emergent structuration approach. Beyond short inquiry activities to construct knowledge following given procedures and structures, students co-generate and adapt collective structures of inquiry (conceptual directions, cycles of inquiry, participatory structures) to guide their progressive inquiry and discourse over multiple months. This process is supported by the Idea Thread Mapper (ITM) (created with Mei-Hwa Chen), a software tool to trace collective progress in extended online discourse, feedback on emergent structures, and connect idea threads across communities for mutual build-on and dynamic collaboration. Dr. Zhang’s research has appeared in prestigious journals such as the Journal of the Learning Sciences and Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D). His work has been recognized through a number of awards, including two Outstanding Article awards from ETR&D. He currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of the Learning Sciences and as a board member for the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (ijCSCL) and several other journals.
Dr. Zhang earned his doctorate (educational psychology) from Beijing Normal University. Prior to coming to Albany, he had been a postdoctoral fellow at OISE/University of Toronto and a faculty member at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
2014-2018 DIP: Connecting Idea Threads across Communities for Sustained Knowledge Building. Sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF Award IIS- 1441479) through its Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies program and Discovery Research K-12 program ($1,342,537.00).
2014-2015 CAP: CSCL 2015 Doctoral Consortium and Early Career Workshop. Sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF Award IIS-1441128) through its Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies program ($26,310).
2011-2014 Fostering Collective Progress in Online Discourse for Sustained Knowledge Building. Sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF Award IIS-1122573) through its Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies program ($549,459).
Zhang, J. (2013). Collaboration, technology, and culture. In Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Angela O'Donnell, Carol Chan, & Clark Chinn (Eds.), International Handbook of Collaborative Learning (pp.495-508). Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis.
Zhang, J., Hong, H.-Y., Scardamalia, M., Teo, C., & Morley, E. (2011). Sustaining knowledge building as a principle-based innovation at an elementary school. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20 (2), 262–307.
Zhang, J., & Sun, Y. (2011). Reading for idea advancement in a grade 4 knowledge building community. Instructional Science, 39 (4), 429-452.
Zhang, J. (2010). Technology-supported learning innovation in cultural contexts. ETR&D (Educational Technology Research and Development), 58 (2), 229-243. (Outstanding Journal Article award from the International Division of AECT)
Sun, Y., Zhang, J., & Scardamalia, M. (2010). Knowledge building and vocabulary growth over two years, Grades 3 and 4. Instructional Science, 38 (2), 247-271.
Zhang, J. (2009). Towards a creative social Web for learners and teachers. Educational Researcher, 38, 274-279.
Zhang, J., Scardamalia, M., Reeve, R., & Messina, R. (2009). Designs for collective cognitive responsibility in knowledge building communities. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 18(1), 7-44.
Zhang, J., Scardamalia, M., Lamon, M., Messina, R., & Reeve, R. (2007). Socio-cognitive dynamics of knowledge building in the work of nine- and ten-year-olds. Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D), 55(2), 117-145. (Outstanding Journal Article of the Year Award in the Field of Instructional Design, from AECT)
Zhang, J. & Sun, Y. (2005). Constructive Learning: An Integrated View from the Learning Sciences. Shanghai: Shanghai Education Publishing House. (in Chinese)
Zhang, J., Chen, Q., Sun, Y., & Reid, D. J. (2004). A triple scheme of learning support design for scientific discovery learning based on computer simulation: Experimental research. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(4), 269-282.
Reid, D., Zhang, J., & Chen, Q. (2003). Supporting scientific discovery learning in a simulation environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19(1), 9-20.