Reclaim Open Learning

better online learning for higher ed


September 19, 2013 by Claudia Caro Sullivan

Susanna Ferrell, FemTechNet
Jade Ulrich, FemTechNet
Alexandra Juhasz, FemTechNet

Feminist Technology Network (FemTechNet) is a network of feminists interested in science, technology, and new media, working together to build the first distributed online collaborative course (DOCC). Through the DOCC, FemTehcNet will bring feminist coursework not only to eighteen different classes around the world, but to numerous online collaborators. Through their website, FemTechNet’s team has invited the open community to view teacher- and student-made video and written content, and share in the conversation by commenting or creating “keyword” video responses.

FemTechNet has prepared numerous digital resources for the upcoming DOCC, from videos on YouTube and Vimeo, interactive websites, to online reading platforms that encourage student commentary. Students become comfortable with creating and editing videos, graphics, and Wikipedia articles. Creating accessible videos and contributing feminist edits to Wikipedia articles (e.g. machine, robotic art), the DOCC’s teachings extend to the general public.

In an innovative teaching effort, students thus contribute to valuable open-access resources. Communication between the courses helps students to learn from a diverse group of classmates foreign to their own environment, who will act as educators themselves by sharing their unique perspectives.

In FemTechNet’s beta course, students learned about not only these personal experiences and practical skills, but feminist principles. Students read a wide range of feminist works, considering the feminine presence in labor, digital art, and archives, and drawing connections between software/hardware and feminism/masculinity. The beta class was very successful, and the project is being brought to a wider audience, expanding globally. In the proposed granting period, the DOCC will expand to eighteen nodal courses. The FemTechNet team is confident that the extensive planning of the course will lead to a creative, open learning environment. Although we cannot predict the unique individual experiences the DOCC’s diverse students will bring, we look forward to learning from their different perspectives.

Additional Resources:
Interview with Anya Kamenetz:


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