Highlighted Selections from:

Transforming Higher Education with Distributed OpenCollaborative Courses (DOCCs): Feminist Pedagogies and Networked Learning


Losh, Elizabeth (Committee Chair). “Transforming Higher Education with Distributed OpenCollaborative Courses (DOCCs): Feminist Pedagogies and Networked Learning.” FemTechNet White Paper Committee. (2013): 1–11. Web. http://femtechnet.newschool.edu/femtechnet-whitepaper/

p.2: Previous feminist initiatives to transform higher education have introduced approaches that are now recognized as best practices in higher education. In contrast, the “reform” efforts represented by the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) trend actually do little to change the status quo and can even be counterproductive because MOOC promoters oversimplify questions of access, underestimate investments of labor in instructional technology, deny the importance of infrastructure and its human and discursive aspects, and reinforce ideologies about technology being values-neutral. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.2: Using a feminist critique of the dominant form, our pedagogical approach embraces multiple techniques for engaging student attention and for acknowledging and understanding diverse learning styles and lived histories. Feminist teachers strive to create and support egalitarian relationships in the classroom by valuing students as individuals who make choices about what and how they learn. This approach pays particular attention to classroom communication structures and practices, especially in highly mediated digital environments. Feminist pedagogy, therefore is not merely or only a set of practices for teaching women, but rather a pedagogical framework built on the analysis and exploration of visible and invisible modes of learning. We believe this is the necessary foundation for understanding how to best serve and engage all students, particularly those who are socially and materially underprivileged, so that they can acquire skills and knowledge to achieve their aspirations. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.4: This shift from “sage on the stage” to “guide to the side,” celebrated in so-called “flipped” classrooms, has a long pre-history in feminist teaching and research which shows, however, that superficial flipping does little to deconstruct true power divisions. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.4: The FemTechNet DOCC rests on a pedagogical framework that we identify as “cyberfeminist.” For the past twenty years, cyberfeminists have worked diligently on projects to provide broader access to technology for women in diverse global contexts. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.4: This explicit focus on access, not primarily technological access, but more importantly the access that is made possible through embodied practices and collaborative relationships, differentiates the DOCC approach from a typical Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) model. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.5: The video coursecasts, interactive quizzes, and peer grading activities provided to hundreds of thousands of students from around the world largely reinforce the constraints of conventional education and promote outdated ideologies of scientific management. Crowdsourcing and peer evaluation are used as a labor management techniques rather than as opportunities for educationally transformative collaborative engagement both student to student and teacher to student. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.5: MOOCs strive to be blind to borders, class systems, economics, gender, and race; although MOOCs have tried to defy the digital divide, they actually reinforce it. They place the burden of learning almost entirely on the lone learner. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.6: MOOC efforts often represent a step backwards, by promulgating a standardization of format rather than a focus on processes that support global access to learning and the reciprocity of teaching and learning -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.7: However, feminist scholarship has also taught us that technological innovations alone do not make structural changes – just as new cleaning technologies have not reduced the average amount of time that women spend on unpaid domestic labor. The “freedom” of cyberspace is not free of racism or sexism; the portable computers, smartphones and tablets that liberate us from the office do not free us (particularly women) from unremunerated overtime work. The celebration of MOOCs discounts the financial and affective costs that they in fact require. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014

p.8: but when the domestic division of labor by gender remains stubbornly unchanged by technological innovation, this pressure has proven particularly hazardous for female faculty. -- Highlighted mar 18, 2014