AU Course MDDE 651: Gender Issues in Distance Education

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This Winter 2016, the Centre for Distance Education will be offering the course MDDE 651:Gender Issues in Distance Education, taught by CDE Instructor Dr. Erin Graham.

Erin brings a uniqwomenhandslaptopue vision to this course, having been a feminist activist, anti-violence organizer and front-line worker for many years. Women’s liberation is a cause that is near to her heart and mind, and she is eagerly looking forward to discovering the ways in which this course can help us expand our horizons of expectations and potential for women.

What does gender have to do with distance education, one may well wonder?

Quite a lot. For one thing, women are more likely to enroll in online or distance education courses than men. At the same time, there are several factors that might inhibit women’s persistence to completion—factors that do not, by and large, interfere with men’s persistence. Why is that, do you think? And what factors could those be?

Worry not! We will investigate these questions and explore some of the practical AND theoretical aspects of women’s engagement in online and distance education. Education is inherently political. As in – it is all about different operations of power – who has it, what they do with it, and how it is held, withheld, and/or wielded. We’ll take a feminist look at these things, as there is a prevalent view that education is a key to women’s emancipation. On the other hand, education, according to some, is also an institution that reproduces structural inequality.

Both of these things are true. And the heady experience of cognitive dissonance is one we will share as we pull apart these seemingly contradictory assertions.

More information about this exciting course can be found below. The deadline to register for this course is December 20, 1015. The course start date is January 11, 2016.


MDDE 651: Gender Issues in Distance Education

Content Goals:

  •    To apply feminist theory and research in order to explore the gendered impacts of technological innovation
  •    To examine how gender can inform distance education
  •    To reflect on how gender affects our ways of interacting, communicating, decision making, and educating
  •    To use feminist gender analysis to critique existing and planned educational programs
  •    To develop gender-inclusive educational content and delivery within a distance educational context
  •    To integrate personal experience, feminist theory, and pedagogy and apply them to educational initiative

Process Goals:

  •    To explore and reflect on the ways in which gender affects ways of interacting and communicating
  •    To develop skills in, and critical awareness of the possibilities and limitations of, computer mediated communication
  •    To experience and reflect on the challenges of working collaboratively
  •    To reflect on and question our personal experiences as teachers and learners

As a participant in this course, you likely have goals of your own that are not reflected in this list. One of the first activities in this course is to articulate these goals to the other participants so that you can work to find ways of attaining them in your exploration of gender and distance education. In this way, the course becomes, at least in part, your own creation, as it is only through interacting, building on others’ ideas, and reflecting on one’s own experience, that a ‘‘course” actually comes into existence.