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FemTechNet

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FemTechNet is a feminist network of scholars, artists, and activists concerned with critically engaging with feminist innovations and technologies. As of September 2016, FemTechNet has been a decentralized, horizontally-organized collective. Projects the network has focused on include a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) working group and instructors of distributed, open, collaborative courses (DOCC Instructors), a multi-campus initiative that marshals technological connectivity to build collaborative feminist courses. FemTechNet has also devoted effort and developed resources to critically edit Wikipedia to offset the gender imbalance among editor demographics, and effort called "Wikistorming." FemTechNet has been described as "a new approach to collaborative learning",[1] a "feminist anti-MOOC",[2] and an "awesome" attempt to combat "Wikipedia's boy's club problem."[3]

Background[edit]

The network began in Southern California in 2012 with Anne Balsamo and Alexandra Juhasz as co-founders and co-facilitators.[4] FemTechNet's aim was to be “an activated network of scholars, artists and students who work on, with, and at the borders of technology, science and feminism in a variety of fields including STS, Media and Visual Studies, Art, Women's, Queer and Ethnic Studies.”[5] The network began with a "longing" for a "feminist scholarly and artistic community that deeply understood the histories of feminist work as they also focused on pushing the horizon of contemporary efforts."[6]

Distributed open collaborative courses (DOCC), which have involved critically editing aka "storming" Wikipedia entries, were among the first projects spearheaded by the network. However, the DOCC course structure has used networked technologies in many innovative ways, including developing “nodal” classes around shared themes that are augmented by video discussions available on FemTechNet's website by participating university instructors. The first DOCC, "Dialogues in Feminism and Technology,"[7] was initiated in 2013 as for-credit courses at the following institutions: Rutgers University, The New School, CUNY, University of California at San Diego, University of Illinois, Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, Pitzer College, Colby-Sawyer College, Penn State University, California Polytechnic University, Ontario College of Art and Design, Brown University, and Yale University. Non-traditional students take the course via the FTN website's free, self-directed learner component.[4]

In 2014 - 2015 the second Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC) series was offered at the following nodes: Bowling Green State University, Brown University, Colby-Sawyer College, The College of New Jersey, Cornell University, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Rutgers University, The New School, Graduate Center, CUNY, William E. Macaulay Honors College, University of California at San Diego, University of Illinois, MIT, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Pitzer College, California Polytechnic University, California State University Fullerton, Ontario College of Art and Design, Temple University, Texas A and M University, University of California, San Diego, and Yale University.[8]

In 2013 FemTechNet launched "Storming Wikipedia", which aimed to encourage students to engage in Wikipedia editing. Portrayed as a response to Wikipedia's gender imbalance,[9] the assignment is also used to highlight "the significant contributions of feminists to technology".[10] "Wikistorming" got the attention of mainstream media networks, including a story by Fox News and CampusReform.org, which framed the effort as biased not critically corrective.[11]

Resources[edit]

FemTechNet developed resources for participants, including an hour-long instructional video on editing Wikipedia by FemTechNet participant and Wikipedian, Adrianne Wadewitz, and a FemTechNet WikiParty video which also provides editing advice in two minute segment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Feminist digital initiative challenges universities' race for MOOCs". OCAD University. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ Jaschik, Scott (August 19, 2013). "Feminist Anti-MOOC". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ Baker, Katie J. M. "The Lady Geeks Are Coming For Wikipedia". Jezebel. 
  4. ^ a b Enlow, Callie (September 18, 2013). "FemTechNet Hopes to Revolutionize SA's Higher Education Possibilities". San Antonio Current. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  5. ^ "About FemTechNet". FemTechNet Commons. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  6. ^ Juhasz, Alexandra; Balsamo, Anne; Juhasz, Alexandra; Balsamo, Anne (2012-11-01). "An Idea Whose Time is Here: FemTechNet – A Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC)". Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology (1). ISSN 2325-0496. doi:10.7264/N3MW2F2J. 
  7. ^ Naili, Hajer (August 15, 2013). "Feminists Launch Model for Online Learning". Women's eNews. 
  8. ^ 2013–2014 DOCC Nodes. Femtechnet.org. Retrieved on 2016-05-29.
  9. ^ Liss-Schultz, Nina (August 23, 2013). "Can These Students Fix Wikipedia's Lady Problem?". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ Nadeem, M. (August 21, 2013). "FemTechNet Launches Online Course on Feminism and Technology". Education News. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  11. ^ "Wikistorming: Colleges Offer Credit to Inject Feminism into Wikipedia." Fox News. 6 September 2013.

External links[edit]