College of Education

About Us Admissions & Academics Research & Engagement Departments & Faculty Current Students

Nicholas Burbules

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Professor, Coordinated Science Lab, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Professor, European Union Center, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Research & Service

My research focuses on philosophy of education; teaching and dialogue; critical social and political theory; and technology and education.

My major current projects include work on ethical and policy issues concerning new technologies in education; virtual reality; collaboration; and dialogue and "third spaces."

Publications

Burbules, N. C. (2022). Promoting Critical Thinking in Anti-Critical Thinking Times: Lessons from COVID Discourse. Philosophical Inquiry in Education, 29(1), 5-10.

Farley, I. A., & Burbules, N. C. (2022). Online education viewed through an equity lens: Promoting engagement and success for all learners. Review of Education, 10(3), [e3367].  link >

Jackson, L., Davids, N., Thompson, W. C., Lussier, J., Burbules, N. C., Alston, K., Chatelier, S., Taganas, K. M. B., Mendoza, O. S., Cong, J. L., Frattura, A., & Webb, A. A. P. T. (Accepted/In press). Feeling like a philosopher of education: A collective response to Jackson’s ‘The smiling philosopher’. Educational Philosophy and Theory.  link >

Jackson, L., Alston, K., Bialystok, L., Blum, L., Burbules, N. C., Chinnery, A., Hansen, D. T., Hytten, K., Mayo, C., Norris, T., Stitzlein, S. M., Thompson, W. C., Waks, L., Peters, M. A., & Tesar, M. (2022). Philosophy of education in a new key: Snapshot 2020 from the United States and Canada. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 54(8), 1130-1146.  link >

Burbules, N. C., Fan, G., & Repp, P. (2020). Five trends of education and technology in a sustainable future. Geography and Sustainability, 1(2), 93-97.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2020). Phronesis y complejidad. Teoria de la Educacion, 32(1), 11-22.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2020). Reflections on my work.”. In Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Education Institute of Humanities and Social Studies, Iran.

Burbules, N. C. (2020). Slowness as a Virtue. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 54(5), 1443-1452.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2020). Why Publish? Journal of Philosophy of Education, 54(3), 655-665.  link >

Peters, M. A., Rizvi, F., Mcculloch, G., Gibbs, P., Gorur, R., Hong, M., Hwang, Y., Zipin, L., Brennan, M., Robertson, S., Quay, J., Malbon, J., Taglietti, D., Barnett, R., Chengbing, W., Mclaren, P., Apple, R., Papastephanou, M., Burbules, N. C., ... Misiaszek, L. (2020). Reimagining the new pedagogical possibilities for universities post-Covid-19: An EPAT Collective Project. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 1-45.  link >

Blanken-Webb, J., Palmer, I., Campbell, R., Burbules, N. C., & Bashir, M. N. (2019). Cybersecurity Ethics. In J. T. F. Burgess, & E. J. M. Knox (Eds.), Foundations of Information Ethics ALA Neal-Schuman.

Burbules, N. C. (2019). From The Editor. Educational Theory, 69(4), 375-376.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2019). Thoughts on phronesis. Ethics and Education, 14(2), 126-137.  link >

Blanken-Webb, J., Palmer, I., Deshaies, S. E., Burbules, N. C., Campbell, R. H., & Bashir, M. (2018). A case study-based cybersecurity ethics curriculum. Paper presented at 2018 USENIX Workshop on Advances in Security Education, ASE 2018, co-located with USENIX Security 2018, Baltimore.

Burbules, N. C. (2018). Dialogue and Critical Pedagogy. In M. A. Peters (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory (pp. 553-557). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2018). Philosophy of Education. In P. Smeyers (Ed.), International Handbook of Philosophy of Education (pp. 1417-1427). (Springer International Handbooks of Education). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C., & Stone, L. (2018). Postscript Humanistic Study, Collaboration, and Interdisciplinarity: A Dialogue on the Leuven Research Community. In S. Ramaekers, & N. Hodgson (Eds.), Past, Present, and Future Possibilities for Philosophy and History of Education: Finding Space and Time for Research (pp. 131-139). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2018). “The limits of the ‘foundations’ metaphor in education.”. Educational Foundations, Vol. 31 (No. 3-4 ).

Burbules, N. C. (2018). What educational psychology can contribute to educational philosophy. In Educational Psychologist (3 ed., Vol. 38, pp. 183-185). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2018). Wittgenstein’s Pedagogical Metaphors. In M. A. Peters (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory (pp. 2390-2394). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2017). Wittgenstein’s Metaphors and His Pedagogical Philosophy. In M. A. Peters, & J. Stickney (Eds.), A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education (pp. 123-133). Springer.  link >

García-Sánchez, S., & Burbules, N. C. (2017). A revision of activity theory to foster communicative twenty-first-century skills. International Journal of Learning, 24(1), 1-12.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2016). How We Use and Are Used by Social Media in Education. Educational Theory, 66(4), 551-565.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2016). Some Problems with the Neuroscience Research Program. In C. W. Joldersma (Ed.), Neuroscience and Education: A Philosophical Appraisal (pp. 194-207). (Routledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education). Routledge.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2016). Technology, Education, and the Fetishization of the ‘New’. In P. Smeyers, & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational Research: Discourses of Change and Changes of Discourse (pp. 9-16). (Educational Research; Vol. 9). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2015). The changing functions of citation: from knowledge networking to academic cash-value. Paedagogica Historica, 51(6), 716-726.  link >

Burbules, N. C., Bridges, D., Griffiths, M., & Smeyers, P. (2015). Varieties of Interpretation in Educational Research: How We Frame the Project. In P. Smeyers, D. Bridges, N. C. Burbules, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research (pp. 3-16). (Springer International Handbooks of Education). Springer.  link >

Smeyers, P., Bridges, D., Burbules, N. C., & Griffiths, M. (Eds.) (2015). International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research. (Springer International Handbooks of Education). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2014). Los significados de “aprendizaje ubicuo”. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22(104), 1-10.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2014). Philosophical reflections on editing. Educational Theory, 64(4), 317-331.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2014). The Personal and the Philosophical. In L. J. Waks (Ed.), Leaders in Philosophy of Education: Intellectual Self-Portraits (Second Series) (pp. 49-57). (Leaders in Educational Studies). Sense Publishers.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2014). Ubiquitous Learning and the Future of Teaching. In R. Bruno-Jofre, & J. S. Johnston (Eds.), Teacher Education in a Transnational World (pp. 177-187). University of Toronto Press.

Burbules, N. C. (2013). Learning Is Not Education. In P. Smeyers, & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational Research: The Attraction of Psychology (pp. 159-166). (Educational Research; Vol. 6). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2013). Reasonable doubt: Toward a postmodern defense of reason as an educational aim. In Critical Conversations in Philosophy of Education (pp. 82-102). Taylor and Francis Inc..

Burbules, N. C. (2013). Spaces and Places in the Virtual University. In P. Smeyers, M. Depaepe, & E. Keiner (Eds.), Educational Research: The Importance and Effects of Institutional Spaces (pp. 167-176). (Educational Research; Vol. 7). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2013). The Paradigmatic Differences Between Name/Date and Footnote Styles of Citation. In P. Smeyers, & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational Research: Material Culture and Its Representation (pp. 191-199). (Educational Research; Vol. 8). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C., & Warnick, B. R. (2012). Philosophical inquiry. In Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research (pp. 489-502). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Kohli, W., & Burbules, N. C. (2011). Feminisms and Educational Research. (Philosophy, Theory, and Educational Research Series). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Roth, K., & Burbules, N. C. (2011). Cosmopolitan Identity and Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(3), 205-208.  link >

Roth, K., & Burbules, N. C. (Eds.) (2011). Philosophical Perspectives on Cosmopolitanism and Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(3).

Smeyers, P., & Burbules, N. C. (2011). How to Improve your Impact Factor: Questioning the Quantification of Academic Quality. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45(1), 1-17.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2010). Meanings of ″Ubiquitous Learning″. In B. Cope, & M. Kalantzis (Eds.), Ubiquitous Learning (pp. 15-20). University of Illinois Press.

Burbules, N. C., & Rice, S. (2010). On pretending to listen. Teachers College Record, 112(11), 2874-2888.

Burbules, N. C. (2010). Postmodernism and Education. In H. Siegel (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Education Oxford University Press.  link >

Rice, S., & Burbules, N. C. (2010). Listening: A virtue account. Teachers College Record, 112(11), 2728-2742.

Burbules, N. C. (2009). Evidence and Argumentation in Educational Research. In P. Smeyers, & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational Research: Proofs, Arguments, and Other Reasonings (pp. 143-148). ( Educational Research; Vol. 4). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2009). The Democratic and Educational Potential of Political Blogs. In M. S. Katz, S. Verducci, & G. Biesta (Eds.), Education, Democracy, and the Moral Life (pp. 47-57). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2008). Tacit Teaching. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(5), 666-677.  link >

Peters, M. A., Burbules, N. C., & Smeyers, P. (2008). Showing and Doing: Wittgenstein as a Pedagogical Philosopher. Routledge.  link >

Silberman-Keller, D., Bekerman, Z., Giroux, H. A., & Burbules, N. C. (Eds.) (2008). Mirror Images: Popular Culture and Education. (Counterpoints; Vol. 338). Peter Lang Publishing.

Smeyers, P., & Burbules, N. C. (2008). Introduction. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(5), 585-590.  link >

Smeyers, P., & Burbules, N. C. (Eds.) (2008). Wittgenstein’s Legacy for Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(5).

Burbules, N. C. (2007). E-lessons learned. Teachers College Record, 109(14), 207-216.

Burbules, N. C., Lawless, K., & Smolin, L. (Eds.) (2007). Information and Communication Technologies: Considerations of Current Practice for Teachers and Teacher Educators. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Burbules, N. C. (2007). Networks as Spaces and Places: Their Importance for Educational Research Collaboration. In P. Smeyers, & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational Research: Networks and Technologies (pp. 43-54). Springer.  link >

Gunsalus, C. K., Bruner, E. M., Burbules, N. C., Dash, L., Finkin, M., Goldberg, J. P., Greenough, W. T., Miller, G. A., Pratt, M. G., Iriye, M., & Aronson, D. (2007). The Illinois white paper: Improving the system for protecting human subjects: Counteracting IRB "mission creep". Qualitative Inquiry, 13(5), 617-649.  link >

Roth, K., & Burbules, N. C. (Eds.) (2007). Changing Notions of Citizenship Education in Contemporary Nation-states. (Educational Futures; Vol. 7). Brill | Sense.  link >

Roth, K., & Burbules, N. C. (2007). Introduction: Understanding the Meaning of Citizenship Education. In K. Roth, & N. C. Burbules (Eds.), Changing Notions of Citizenship Education in Contemporary Nation-states (pp. 1-9). (Educational Futures; Vol. 7). Brill | Sense.  link >

Warnick, B. R., & Burbules, N. C. (2007). Media comparison studies: Problems and possibilities. Teachers College Record, 109(11), 2483-2510.

Bekerman, Z., Burbules, N. C., & Silberman-Keller, D. (Eds.) (2006). Learning in Places: The Informal Education Reader. (Counterpoints; Vol. 249). Peter Lang Publishing.

Burbules, N. C., Callister, T. A., & Taaffe, C. (2006). Beyond the Digital Divide. Advances in Educational Administration, 8, 85-99.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2006). Digital Libraries as Virtual Spaces. In C. Kapitzke, & B. C. Bruce (Eds.), Libr@ries: Changing Information Space and Practice (pp. 3-16). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2006). Rethinking dialogue in networked spaces. Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies, 6(1), 107-122.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2006). Rethinking the Virtual. In J. Weiss, J. Nolan, J. Hunsinger, & P. Trifonas (Eds.), The International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments (pp. 37-58). Springer.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2006). Self-Educating Communities: Collaboration and Learning through the Internet. In Z. Bekerman, N. C. Burbules, & D. Silberman-Keller (Eds.), Learning in Places: The Informal Education Reader (Counterpoints). Peter Lang Publishing.

Felten, D. L., Vogt, T. M., Gunsalus, C. K., Bruner, E. M., Burbules, N. C., Dash, L., Finkin, M., Goldberg, J. P., Greenough, W. T., Miller, G. A., & Pratt, M. G. (2006). IRBs: Going Too Far or Not Far Enough? Science, 313(5792), 1388-1389.

Gunsalus, C. K., Bruner, E. M., Burbules, N. C., Dash, L., Finkin, M., Goldberg, J. P., Greenough, W. T., Miller, G. A., & Pratt, M. G. (2006). Mission creep in the IRB world. Science, 312(5779), 1441.  link >

Gunsalus, C. K., Bruner, E. M., Burbules, N. C., Dash, L., Finkin, M., Goldberg, J. P., Greenough, W. T., Miller, G. A., & Pratt, M. G. (2006). Response [3]. Science, 313(5792), 1388-1389.  link >

Smeyers, P., & Burbules, N. C. (2006). Education as initiation into practices. Educational Theory, 56(4), 439-449.  link >

Smeyers, P., & Burbules, N. C. (2006). The changing practices and social relations of education. Educational Theory, 56(4), 363-369.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2005). From the editor. Educational Theory, 55(1), 1-2.  link >

Burbules, N. C., & Smith, R. (2005). ‘What it makes sense to say’: Wittgenstein, rule‐following and the nature of education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 37(3), 425-430.  link >

Levin, J. A., Burbules, N. C., & Bruce, B. C. (2005). From Student Work to Exemplary Educational Resources: The Case of the CTER White Papers. E-Learning, 2(1), 39-49.

Burbules, N. C., Warnick, B., Mcdonough, T., & Johnston, S. (2004). Education. In A. T. Marsoobian, & J. Ryder (Eds.), The Blackwell Guide to American Philosophy (pp. 343-363). Blackwell Publishing Ltd..  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2004). From the Editor. Educational Theory, 54(2).  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2004). Navigating the Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Pedagogy. In C. Haythornthwaite, & M. M. Kazmer (Eds.), Learning, Culture and Community in Online Education: Research and Practice (Digital Formations). Peter Lang Publishing.

Burbules, N. C. (2004). PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION. In Routledge International Companion to Education (pp. 3-18). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2004). Ways of Thinking About Educational Quality. Educational Researcher, 33(6), 4-10.  link >

Callister, T. A., & Burbules, N. C. (2004). Just give it to me straight: A case against filtering the internet. Phi Delta Kappan, 85(9), 648-655.  link >

Peters, M., & Burbules, N. C. (2004). Poststructuralism and Educational Research. (Philosophy, Theory, and Educational Research Series). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Biesta, G. J. J., & Burbules, N. C. (2003). Pragmatism and Educational Research. (Philosophy, Theory, and Educational Research Series). Rowman & Littlefield.

Burbules, N. C. (2003). From the editor. Educational Theory, 53(4), 365-366.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2003). "Getting it" or getting together: The challenge of forging new alliances in education. Teaching Education, 14(2), 141-148.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2003). Rhetorics of the web: Hyperreading and critical literacy. In I. Snyder (Ed.), Page to Screen: Taking Literacy into the Electronic Era (pp. 102-122). Routledge.  link >

Burbules, N. C., & Lambeir, B. (2003). The importance of new technologies in promoting collaborative educational research. In M. Depaepe, & P. Smeyers (Eds.), Beyond Empiricism: On Criteria for Educational Research (pp. 41-52). (Studia Paedagogica; Vol. 34). Leuven University Press.

Burbules, N. C. (2003). What Educational Psychology Can Contribute to Educational Philosophy. Educational Psychologist, 38(3), 183-185.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2002). From the editor. Educational Theory, 52(4).  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2002). Like a version: Playing with online identities. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 34(4), 387-393.  link >

Burbules, N. C., & Peters, M. (2002). LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN 1889–1951. In L. Bresler, D. Cooper, & J. Palmer (Eds.), Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education: From Piaget to the Present Day (pp. 15-23). Routledge.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2002). The Dilemma of Philosophy of Education: "Relevance" or Critique? Part Two. Educational Theory, 52(3), 349-357.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2002). The Dilemma of Philosophy of Education: "Relevance" or Critique? Part One. Educational Theory, 52(3), 257-261.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2002). The Global Context of Educational Research. In L. Bresler, & A. Ardichvili (Eds.), Research in International Education: Experience, Theory, and Practice (Counterpoints). Peter Lang Publishing.

Burbules, N. C. (2002). The web as a rhetorical place. In I. Snyder (Ed.), Silicon Literacies: Communication, Innovation and Education in the Electronic Age (pp. 75-84). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Peters, M., & Burbules, N. (2002). Wittgenstein/styles/pedagogy. Theory and Science, 3(1).

Burbules, N. C. (2001). Paradoxes of the web: The ethical dimensions of credibility. Library Trends, 49(3), 441-453.

Burbules, N. C. (2000). A Half-Century Of Educational Theory: Perspectives On the Past, Present, and Future. Educational Theory, 50(3), 279-288.  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2000). Aporias, webs, and passages: Doubt as an opportunity to learn. Curriculum Inquiry, 30(2).  link >

Burbules, N. C. (2000). Does the internet constitute a global educational community? In N. C. Burbules, & C. A. Torres (Eds.), Globalization and Education: Critical Perspectives (pp. 323-356). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Burbules, N. C., & Torres, C. A. (Eds.) (2000). Globalization and education: Critical perspectives. Taylor and Francis.  link >

Burbules, N. C., & Torres, C. A. (2000). Globalization and education: An introduction. In N. C. Burbules, & C. A. Torres (Eds.), Globalization and Education: Critical Perspectives (pp. 1-26). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Courses

Professional Ethics in Educ (EPOL 406) An introduction to professional ethics for educators: helps students reflect on the values embedded in educational aims, the norms regulating educational practice, and the dispositions displayed by excellent practitioners. Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS.

Professional Ethics in Educ (EPOL 406) An introduction to professional ethics for educators: helps students reflect on the values embedded in educational aims, the norms regulating educational practice, and the dispositions displayed by excellent practitioners.

Critical Thinking in Education (EPOL 407) Examination of critical thinking dispositions and abilities as an approach to the foundations of knowledge and structure of thinking in subject-matter areas. Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS.

Critical Thinking in Education (EPOL 407) Examination of critical thinking dispositions and abilities as an approach to the foundations of knowledge and structure of thinking in subject-matter areas.

Technology &Educational Reform (EPOL 480) Examines the normative and policy issues raised by the use of new information and communication technologies in education. The course is interdisciplinary, drawing from social and historical as well as philosophical perspectives on these issues. Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS.

Role of Theory in Ed Research (EPOL 593) Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS, delivered on Zoom.

Professional Ethics in Educ (EPS 410)

Professional Ethics in Educ (EPS 410) Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS.

Critical Thinking in Education (EPS 412)

Technology &Educational Reform (EPS 415) Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS.

Philosophy and Ed Research (EPS 515)

Philosophy and Ed Research (ERAM 551) Examines some crucial assumptions and concepts of contemporary research in education from the point of view both of the consumer and the practitioner of educational research. Topics include paradigm conflicts, causal attributions in social science, assessment, ethical problems in the conduct of research, and the assumptions of quantitative research.

Role of Theory in Ed Research (ERAM 552) All research is guided by theory. Theory provides a vocabulary, a set of laws or generalizations, a background literature, and a conceptual framework for any effort to plan, design, and execute a research study. There is no theory-free inquiry. This is true in the social sciences as well as the natural sciences. All research seeks to explain phenomena: a theory provides an explanation for those explanations. However, these theoretical assumptions are often implicit and unreflective. Researchers may think they have no theory, or have a theory that is so taken for granted that they don’t recognize it as an assumed theory. Much of educational research suffers from this lack of theoretical self-awareness. Like any other aspect of research, theories are falsifiable. They must stand the test of evidence – which may go against them. The goal of the class is not to identify the "right" or "best" theory, but to make the identification and selection of a theory more critical and reflective. Any major theory has insights, and each has limitations. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.