Diversity, equity, access

Making teaching with technology fair and open

Sometimes it is not right to put students in public spaces like the web. Sometimes using technology and heavy on writing can exclude disadvantaged students. Some people can’t have their own computers, private spaces to get to do video conferences etc. Not everyone uses the same platforms online and use of one can exclude groups of people. Create time to talk about the risks on online learning.

Make sure students have the chance to decide if the blog is deleted after class is over. Also pay attention to pronounced used in students. Student portfolios can be tricky for students if they cannot control them.

Female professors are often assumed less competent than male. The stereotypes are not as well studied. Students can react to your identity eg. Black professors get more critical comments. Teachers are heavily surveyed by the students, public, and society.

Make sure students have the space to have office hours with “closed doors”. They need to communicate these things in confidence.

How to build inclusive learning communities

femtechnetFemtechnet (FTN):

  • Scholars and artists
  • Open learning structures used
  • To understand an believe expertise is spread by networks
  • Open hybrid (network + physical space) and media rich, collaborative


Redesign of multi-institutional courses

  • Alternatives to MOOCs = connects huge numbers
  • A doc is a feminist critique on MOOCs = gathers critical mass of people in a network
  • Expertise is distributed in network and top-down learning is not used.
  • Co-creation is important, not just data delivery
  • Collection and field of possibilities to take advantage of
  • Blended learning for small groups within different locations
  • Commons style collection of projects and materials (gift economy)
  • Femtechnet commons replaced scholar, blackboard etc.


  • Authors in Wikipedia are mainly male
  • There was already a feminist Wikipedia project
  • Stage 1: read what is in Wikipedia on feminism and technology
  • Stage 2: make changes in Wikipedia pages (add honorifics to women, add missing women in, other topics brought in)
  • Fox news picked the story up and missed the point of fixing equality
  • Teaches students to engage in productive practices

Technology is actually embodied and involves our feelings. It can actually require more labor too. Technology can introduce inequality due to power structures. Some conversations can be shut out and other privileged. Both students and instructors need to use the same platforms and tools. Old tech still matters. Female contributions have been played down and some of the contributions are lost. For example in Wikipedia some information gets more attention than others as the contributors are 90% male.

Faculty has been better at collaboration than students. Students felt they had to deal with free riders and controlling personalities. They wanted the grades to reflect their own contribution instead of the group. Students tend to use technologies they cannot fully control. Participants however can improvise well. Both face-to-face and online learning were needed. Off the shelf tools used in project did not easily allow fluid collaboration.


Teaching Wikipedia Editing

Why teach with Wikipedia?

  • It is already used
  • It is cultural archive rich in information
  • Unevenly produced by men (compare the pages of men and women who worked together with equal merits, or use of first name in Ada Lovelace’s page to last name of Alan Turing)

Jimmy Wales started Wikipedia like site, which turned into Wikipedia. Category wars centered on an editor’s decision to remove female writers from general American writer’s category to American Women Writers category.

Wikipedia is notorious for under reporting women’s efforts in technology and science. The “wiki-storming” class activity goals were:

  1. Learn to write to global audiences
  2. Learn to do deep research using primary sources
  3. Gain collaborative writing skills
  4. Become members of community, learning how knowledge is produced and become more critical thinkers
  5. Learn foundations of procedural literacies (Literacy of programming, and understanding how things are created)
  6. Learn how to contribute to more equitable ad inviting knowledge space
  7. Learn how to engage in intellectual conversations publicly

Five pillars of Wikipedia

  1. Encyclopedia , not a dictionary
  2. Neutral point of view
  3. Free and editable
  4. Respect and civility among editors
  5. No firm rules

Notability: see notabilia.net for graphics on wiki-pages life.

Teach students to look at the revision history to understand the process and nature the page editing has gone through. Different kinds of pages have different structures. There are conventions for certain kinds of information structures we see in Wikipedia (eg. The gene information and abbreviations on any cytokine or protein).

In wiki-storming students worked on identifying citation practices, inclusion and revision edits in female and male pages. To find omissions you need to know who should be included.

Process of article creation and submission has official and unofficial rules. Adrianne Wadewitz was an ambassador for FemTechNet. She had videos on how this all works. You have to be bold when submitting articles. Official route might not be the best way to go about it. It takes longer and the unofficial way gets you through right away. Getting a Wikipedia ambassador could be a good idea.

Wikipedia Commons collects images for free distribution. For example earlier this year there was a call for getting pictures of historical buildings.

Wiki-storming summary:

  • Inspires fans to contribute to their topics of interest eg. feminism
  • Collaboration was temporal
  • Be bold and take responsibility for future of our history!

4 thoughts on “Diversity, equity, access

  1. Pingback: Big tech, big brother: alguns impactos humanos e sociais da Covid-19 – Sociotramas

  2. lars

    Jimmy Wales started Wikipedia like site, which turned into Wikipedia. Category wars centered on an editor’s decision to remove female writers from general American writer’s category to American Women Writers category.

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