Reclaim Open Learning

better online learning for higher ed


September 19, 2013 by Claudia Caro Sullivan


FemTechNet ¡Taller! was conceived as the first
community-based, free-and-open-to-the-public, alternative-venue version of FemTechNet’s 2013 DOCC, “Feminist Dialogues on Technology.” “Taller” means“workshop” or “laboratory” in Spanish.

FemTechNet is “an activated network of hundreds of scholars, students, and artists who work on, with, and at the borders of technology, science, and feminism in a variety of fields including Science and Technology Studies (STS), Media and Visual Studies, Art, Women’s, Queer, and Ethnic Studies. Launched in 2012, the network has developed and experimented with collaborative processes to address the educational needs of students interested in feminist science-technology studies. One of the current FemTechNet projects is the creation of an alternative to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) called a DOCC: Distributed Open Collaborative Course, to be offered in September-December 2013. The DOCC2013 topic is: Feminist Dialogues on Technology.”

The FemTechNet ¡Taller! meets on Tuesday evenings, 6:30-8:30pm from September 24 through December 3, 2013 at Geekdom in San Antonio, TX. Geekdom is “a new kind of collaborative coworking space where Entrepreneurs, Technologists, Developers, Makers & Creatives help each other build businesses & other cool things together.”

The FemTechNet ¡Taller! is co-facilitated by Penelope Boyer, Ph.D. and filmmaker/media artist/educator Laura Varela.  A Community Advisory Group and workshop members are invited to participate in planning, preparing and presenting taller sessions.  Following the FemTechNet premise, facilitators are participants and vice versa.
The FemTechNet ¡Taller! Advisory Group consists of:

Artist/activist Sabra Booth
Artist/activist Maribel Hermosillo
Dr. Cathryn Josefina Merla-Watson
Arts Advocate Kelly Schaub
Artist/activist Ethel Shipton
Dr. Amy Stone
Dr. Lisa Cortez Walden
How is this project novel in a digital world?
FemTechNet ¡Taller! is an experiment within the experiment that is DOCC 2013:  FemTechNet ¡Taller! is a community-based, non-institutionally-affiliated embodied alternative to the live nodal courses being taught “simultaneously” this fall at North American colleges/universities (Bowling Green University, Brown University, California Polytechnic State University, California State University-Fullerton, Colby-Sawyer College, The Graduate Center at CUNY, Goldsmiths-University of London, Macaulay Honors College-CUNY, Ohio State University, Ontario College of Art and Design University, Pennsylvania State University, Pitzer College, Rutgers University, The New School, University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign, Yale University).

All share a series of themed FemTechNet-produced, online-or-streamed videos released weekly from September 23 through December 2, 2013. The weekly themes are Labor, Sexualities, Race, Differences, Body, Machine, Systems, Place, Infrastructure, Archive, Transformation.

Also shared are FemTechNet’s Five Key Learning Activities:

1)    Wiki-storming (editing~revising~adding Wikipedia entries to reflect feminist concerns),
2)    Key-Word Videos (DIY/DIWO short low-tech video projects describing a media—or other–term from a feminist POV),
3)    Feminist Mapping (tracing social, environmental, political, and/or health performance on visual maps or tropes, codes, lived-experiences, concepts, biases, awarenesses, values on Google maps, videos or NVivo to make interactive visual maps),
4)    Object-making & Exchange (produce DIY/DIWO object or craft, represent it digitally, others put a “value” on it, give object to whoever places highest value on image–whatever “value” may mean), and
5)    Blogging.

FemTechNet ¡Taller! was the subject of the cover story of the San Antonio CURRENT for the week of September 16-24, 2013.  The link to that story is:  And here’s a blog about the schedule:

The San Antonio ¡Taller! Facebook page is at

Penelope Boyer, co-facilitator of the ¡Taller!, applied ¡Taller! organizing principles to direction and design of the FemTechNet Self-Directed Learners site on the FemTechNet Commons  She also worked with a German-based, German self-directed learner to plan the interactive FemTechNet Self-Directed Learners’ Google+ site at

FemTechNet ¡Taller! spawned a second community-based free-and-open-to-the-public version of DOCC 2013 called Mass FemTechNet in Northampton, MA.

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