Good afternoon, and thank you for having me. I’m Alexandra Juhasz, Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College, and I’m a co-facilitator, along with Dr. Anne Balsamo from the New School, of DOCC 2013.
FemTechNet is a loose collaborative of several hundred scholars, artists, and students who are interested in both using and teaching about technology from a feminist point of view. Our first large scale project is the DOCC 2013 where we eagerly use technology within and to improve higher education, all the while learning from and improving first generation MOOCs which have used technology in ways with which we and others are highly critical.
I want to be clear that decades of thinking in feminist pedagogy and theory brought us to our critique of the MOOC. But we are certain that this structure will be of real use as a model for technologically enhanced teaching for professors in a variety of fields…. You need not be a feminist to teach a DOCC! However, we are always ready to welcome you into our fold if our materials persuade or excite you.
The DOCC is distributed across 18 nodes thereby challenging more typical MOOCs that place large and prestigious institutions, or corporations, or for-profit businesses as the providers of information to hungry and needy others…In the DOCC, we have 18 equal nodal sites which are based atart schools, liberal arts colleges, Ivy League universities, state universities, and even two community-based groups: in Northampton MA and SA TX.
In contract to the more authoritative, rigid, and unidirectional structures of most current Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs),DOCCs are distributed, equal, and made collaboratively by the professors and students who use them to learn together.
We mix it up, that is to say, online and off, class to class, place to place, peer to peer, because our project is about using technology to enhance conversation, knowledge and opportunities while staying true to the needs of our own learning communities. We used some of my funds from the Institute I run at Pitzer to bring these professors to California just last Thursday. It was great.
At this f-2-f meeting held in February and funded by a small grant from the Pembroke Center at Brown, we see professors from Media Studies, Art, Art History, Communication, and American Culture. They are about to shoot two video dialgoues.
Recently my students took a class with students from OSU, generously taught by Dr. Sharon Collingwood. It was one of their favorite exercises this semester and they want to go back one more time before the term ends. Jade Ulrich, one of my students, then blogged about this on our Commons.
Where the MOOC is massive, we are distributed. Less interested in numbers, and primarily committed (as we’ve always been) to teaching our own students well, at whatever capacity works at our own institutions. Our aim is to collaborate, so as to co-produce knowledge: first at our own school, then across and between nodes, and even reaching outside our classes via our presence on the Internet. Ours is a very Web 2.0 understanding of education born from decades of critical pedagogy that understand the classroom as a dynamic space. It is somewhat dumbfounding to us that MOOCs are written upon such a traditional, and outmoded structure of learning even as they sit upon what might be a most foreward looking set of tools and structures.
Because of our commitment,s we use technology to enable the sharing of resources and experiences across space and time while ever being mindful, no I’d say, while being excited about the differences of situated learning environments. We learn from these differences, too. For example, my students, at an expensive liberal arts college, become very aware of this privilege, which usually sits unnoticed, when they interact with students at large State Universities. Discussing these differences is part of the course experience and content, of course.
In the Beta version of the course, my students and RadhikaGajjala’s at BGSU shared a syllabus. It was exciting and difficult Needless to say, another goal of this course is to bring more women, and people of color, to technology. We are proud of our successes.
This is our Commons. I’ll leave it for you to explore later, but I’d certainly point you to the Archive, where you can see the robust media attention that project has garnered, largely positive but also critical, as well as to the video tab, which takes you to our signature videos: the dialogue videos I’ve mentioned and the Keyword videos which are student projects, and also to the DOCC 2013 tab which leads you to our shared teaching resources.
Each week we offer a video dialogue between two leaders within feminism and technology studies, across a range of disciplines. Professors can choose to teach these in a variety of ways: showing clips, watching the whole dialogue together in class, asking students to watch before hand and comment online, or opting not to teach them at all.
We have five shared learning projects, which are listed on the Commons with detailed instructions, examples, and rubrics. If you choose to assign one, you are all but guaranteed that other schools across the nodes will also be using this assignment. Thereby students can interact, as can professors.
The forty instructors who are teaching the course in its first iteration this Fall have also worked on several other projects together besides developing, building and teaching our course.
Our plans for 2014 and the future mark what we still need and what we still need to work on. Not surprisingly, given the DIY nature of this effort, infrastructural help is what we most need: an office staff, course relief to build things, better technology, and a technology staff.
However, I’ll end with a story that marks our success. Jade and Susie took the course with me last spring and continued to work with me over the summer. I asked them to apply for a Reclaim Open Learning grant (for the project) from DML central. They did, and won, being mistaken for Professors of the class. This Fall, they went to Irvine, joining the many other professors who had also won, speaking to a room of technology giants. They represented the course, its aims for teaching, pedagogy, feminism and collaboration with panache and professionalism. They won, young women emboldened and intelligent, as did FemTechNet.
Presentation for http://www.jiscrsc.ac.uk/yh/online-conference-2013.aspx
Cyberfeminists remodel MOOCs:
DOCC as Feminist Pedagogy,
Learning and Distribution of
Collaborative Courses (DOCC)
Dr. Radhika Gajjala, Dr. C.L. Cole and
the Femtechnet Collective
Highlighting teaching as a practice;
Online teaching as labor.
• Time to take stock and critically reflect upon
current trends in cyberfeminism, namely,
open pedagogy, open learning, and digital
publishing, always in relation to the intensive
labor undertaken by women in accomplishing
of these cyberfeminist
• Technocultural innovation and Collaboration
• Materiality of teaching through online/wireless
• Aspirations towards interdisciplinary and international
conversation and situated diversity and networked
agency and community level peer review process.
• Critical questions raised in relation to the potential of
feminist open source education to transform and shift
hierarchies within the current neoliberal education
system, while maintaining a cautious look at new forms
of countable and unaccountable women’s labor.
What is a DOCC?
• Distributed Open Collaborative Course
• Organized by FemTechNet, an activated
network of scholars and artists
• DOCC 2013
– “Dialogues on Feminism &Technology”
The DOCC uses technology to
• Create and share content, whether feminist or not
• Give students and instructors a suite of tools to
• Augment what is available on individual campuses
• Share resources and build new ones
• Experiment with embodied and
material in a digital age
• Empower students and professors to create, not
College of Art
of New York,
18 Nodal Sites, DOCC 2013 including 2 community sites
Students from Pitzer speak with two visiting profs
Sharon Irish, from University of Illinois and Radhika Gajjala, Bowling
Green State University. The came to our class to shoot a “Dialogue” on
Drs. Kara Keeling (USC), Wendy Chun (Brown), Faith Wilding (Brown),
Maria Fernandez (Cornell), Anne Balsamo (New School), Lisa Nakamura
(Univ of MI).
It’s All in the NAME!
DOCC v MOOC
• Distributed v Massive:
– creating a CRITICAL MASS
• Collaborative v Online
– Experience is Online and Off: Blended Experiences
– Co-produce knowledge accounting for difference
• Distribution and circulation of knowledge
– Not just transmission
Distributed, Networked Dialogue,
Interaction, and Collaboration
Uses the Internet and Technology not to SCALE the learning effort but:
To share things: tools, resources, learning projects, collective efforts
To work together: collaborate (across disciplines)
To interact with those you could never meet (across space)
To save things which can be revised and/or mashed up
To produce archive of things not currently available
Pitzer College and Bowling Green State University
Collaborate Spring 2013
Screen shot of commons
FemTechNet’s Shared Video Dialogues
• 10 nodally-produced videos about shared
course themes, selected by FemTechNet list
• Works as a spine for the courses
• Made at Pitzer, the New School, OCADU,
FemTechNet’s Shared Collective
Accessibility Committee: transcribes, captions Dialogue Videos
Presentations and Workshops
Open office hours and pedagogy workshops
Video Dialogue Production (Brown, OCADU, Pitzer, New School,
• Co-Teaching: Juhasz and Gajjala
-Dr. Mead, Colby-Sawyer and Dr. Keating, OSU
• Sharon Collingwood on Second Life
PLANS FOR 2014; Our To-Do (better) list
• INFRASTRUCTURE: Enhanced roles for
University of Michigan, Yale, UC system
• Too much of this is built on voluntary labor
of professors and students
• ASSESSMENTS using our own metrics
• More robust PLATFORMS FOR INTERACTIONS
with good tech support
• Keep track of CONTENT; create our own