In 2013, FemTechNet initiated a networked learning experiment involving instructors and students from several institutions in the creation of a collaborative open course structure called a DOCC: Distributed Open Collaborative Course on the topic of “Dialogues on Feminism and Technology”
The first iteration of the DOCC 2013 will take place from September-December, 2013. Ideas for DOCC courses to interact are listed here, with instructions.
Feminism and feminists have been integral to technology innovation, yet as recently as June 2012, the New York Times carried an article about Silicon Valley that opened with the line: “Men invented the Internet.” As technology remakes academia and the arts, critical analysis of gender, sexualities, and race have been absent in much of this re-thinking of disciplines and practices. Since the early years of Internet availability, cyberfeminists have explored the use of the Internet for dialogue and participation across various socio-economic layers worldwide. Access and skills for women and various economically underprivileged communities of the world (such as populations from the developing world and inner cities of the U.S.) was a central concern for feminists in developing distributed and participatory environments for learning, training and information exchange.
Since the mid 1990s, cyberfeminists have spent significant time and energy in developing methods for inclusive teaching. The DOCC 2013 has been created as an alternative genre of MOOC, to demonstrate the innovative process of feminist thinking that engages issues of networked infrastructures for learning, learner-centered pedagogies, collaborative knowledge creation, and transformational practices of design and media making.
A MOOC (massive open online course) is typically organized and branded by a single (elite) institution. A DOCC recognizes and is built on the understanding that expertise is distributed throughout a network, among participants situated in diverse institutional contexts, within diverse material, geographic, and national settings, and who embody and perform diverse identities (as teachers, as students, as media-makers, as activists, as trainers, as members of various publics, for example).
The organization of a DOCC addresses the collaborative nature of learning in a digital age. A DOCC is an alternative genre of MOCC. A MOOC (massive open online course) is pedagogically centralized and branded by a single institution. The fundamental difference is that a DOCC recognizes and is built on the understanding that expertise is distributed throughout a network, among participants situated in diverse institutional contexts, within diverse material, geographic, and national settings, and who embody and perform diverse identities (as teachers, as students, as media-makers, as activists, as trainers, as members of various publics, for example). The organization of a DOCC addresses the collaborative nature of learning in a digital age. The DOCC2013 engages participants (from North America in this version) to teach NODAL courses, each of which is configured within a particular educational institutional setting. There is no single credit granting institution. Credit is offered to students through mechanisms that are already established within particular/situated institutions.
Instructors at fifteen universities and colleges will participate in the DOCC 2013. Each instructor of a NODAL course will create a course that is best suited to her or his students, institution, locale, and discipline. FemTechNet will deliver ten weeks of course content covering both the historical and cutting edge scholarship on technology produced through art, science, and visual studies. The core content consists of 10 Video Dialogues that feature discussions among prominent and innovative thinkers and artists who address the question of technology through feminist frameworks. Course content will grow through the exchange among participants. Dialogues on Feminism and Technology, uses technology to enable interdisciplinary and international conversation while privileging situated diversity and networked agency.
FemTechNet will facilitate a shared pedagogical activity called Storming Wikipedia designed to write women and feminist scholarship of science and technology back into our web-based cultural archives. By engaging in the practices of editing and revising Wikipedia pages, participants will address the gendered division of labor of online encyclopedia authoring and editing which is skewed now toward male participation. Through the StormingWikipedia activities we also seek to engage a wider group of participants in the effort of writing and maintaining a digital archive of feminist work in science, technology and media so that the histories of the future will be well populated by the ideas and people that took feminism seriously as a source of inspiration and innovation in the creation of new technocultures.