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GENDER & GLOBAL E-LEARNING Gender and the Digital Divide Seminar Series September 12, 2002 Barbara Fillip Knowledge for Development, LLC.

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Presentation on theme: "GENDER & GLOBAL E-LEARNING Gender and the Digital Divide Seminar Series September 12, 2002 Barbara Fillip Knowledge for Development, LLC."— Presentation transcript:

1 GENDER & GLOBAL E-LEARNING Gender and the Digital Divide Seminar Series September 12, 2002 Barbara Fillip Knowledge for Development, LLC

2 2 Context This presentation is primarily based on lessons learned from a course on Information and Communication Technologies for Developing Countries offered online to participants around the world through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Graduate School E- Learning Program

3 3 Key points What the literature suggests Access to the course for women Gender differences in interactions Gender differences in learning outcomes Implications for course design/delivery Research agenda

4 4 Literature Review The Third Shift: Women Learning Online, by Cheris Kramarae, American Association of University Women, 2001 -1 st shift = work outside the house -2 nd shift = home responsibilities - 3 rd shift = squeezing in education

5 5 Gender Perspectives and Distance Education (DE) Masculine perspective of distance education Feminist perspective of distance education DE allows delivery of education to more people across greater distance DE as a means to connect people into networks that seek to achieve a common goal.

6 6 Factors Reviewed in the Literature Differences in communication styles. Different ways of knowing and learning. Gender identity and online learning. Motivational factors. Success factors. The literature is only partially relevant when dealing with a global classroom… incomplete…

7 7 Access to the Course for Women Does this add up to new opportunities for women? The Digital Divide - barriers to access for women (and men) in the South. Basic skills for online learning – not a problem in this particular course. Ensuring gender equity – some scholarships reserved for women.

8 8 New Opportunities (?) In traditional societies where female enrollment in formal education is faced by unease of conservative cultures, elearning may present a channel of education that is neutral and does not involve direct interaction between the sexes thus facilitating female participation. Comment sent by participant in Egypt

9 9 ICTs Course Enrollment Stats MenWomen Face-to-face 199915 Face-to-face 200026 Blackboard 2001 15+(1) 10+(2) CD+email I 20027+(5)10+(5) CD+email II 2002 9+(5) CD+ email III 200220?+(13)20?+(7) #s in ( ) are scholarship participants from developing countries +obs Obs. = observers are unregistered participants

10 10 Gender & Interaction (I) Some Questions Do women write more/less messages, shorter/longer messages compared to men? Do women interact more through one-on-one messages with the instructor or through class discussions? Are women more likely to take the course for credit or audit? What motivates them? Do communication styles impact class discussions? More about interactions...

11 11 Gender & Interaction (II) Intimidation factor …at the beginning I felt overwhelmed and intimidated by the high level of background/ experience/ knowledge/ comments of other participants (kept asking myself what I am doing amongst these experts). Comment in the final evaluation survey from a highly educated woman in Africa who made excellent contributions to the discussions

12 12 Gender & Interaction (III) Asking for help This is my first on-line course and I felt little bit nervous about it. Comment on the discussion list sent by a woman participant whose first language was not English. Lack of confidence is something women are more likely to acknowledge… and women are more comfortable asking for help.

13 13 Gender & Interaction (IV) Email as Equalizer Yesterday I was in a meeting where gender dynamics played a role so that the men in the room dominated the conversation. Yet today I can write as much as I want (whether you're listening or not is another story:) ) regardless of gender issues. Comment within the context of group discussion sent by a woman participant in South Africa

14 14 Outcomes Are participants satisfied with the course? How many complete the course? What impacts can we expect? To what extent is gender a key determinant of learning outcomes? And… a steep learning curve for the instructor.

15 15 Implications Implementing strategies for ensuring equal opportunities to enroll in online learning. Designing courses based on the characteristics of the target audience (including gender characteristics). Managing group interactions and gender- specific one-on-one interactions to encourage women to be active participants.

16 16 Research Agenda Better understanding online learning success factors related to gender. Identifying strategies to facilitate interactions in multicultural virtual e- learning settings. Mainstreaming gender issues in E-Learning design.

17 17 E-Learning Opportunities (I) Promoting Gender Equity - online course developed by CIDA - Self-learning course.Promoting Gender Equity Gender and Agriculture - World Bank Training Module. and Agriculture

18 18 E-Learning Opportunities (II) Gender & Peacekeeping Online Training Course – DFID(UK)-DFAIT(Canada)Gender & Peacekeeping Online Training Course Online Gender Learning and Information Module ILO/SEAPATOnline Gender Learning and Information Module

19 19 CONTACT INFORMATION Barbara Fillip, Ph. D. Knowledge for Development, LLC Email:

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