Blog Post

FemTechNet's White Paper: Understanding the DOCC


FemTechNet has released their white paper explaining some of the pedagogical philosophies behind this fall's inaugural DOCC course. There has already been some discussion of the new Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC) model here on HASTAC, but I feel like the white paper offers some valuable explanations into the projects core ideas. Read the full white paper here:


Some key points from the white paper:


1) Effective pedagogy reflects feminist principles: "Feminists often describe their classroom as collaborative, engaged, and interdisciplinary." By exploring how to bring these values further into higher education it will value not just feminist courses, but all fields could replicate and explore.


2) Several currently existing reforms efforts do little to change the status quo: "MOOC efforts often represent a step backwards, by promulgating a standardization of format rather than a focus on processes that support global access to learning and the reciprocity of teaching and learning." FemTechNet has thought a lot about various ways to not leave disenfranchised isolated students out of the learning process.


3) Access to technology does not guarantee access to knowledge, and respecting the investment of labor is critical to facilitating real learning: "The celebration of MOOCs discounts the financial and affective costs that they in fact require." There are broad structural implications of relying on technology to create reform. It's important to also think of wider social issues as well as the examine the full costs of MOOCs.


4) Technoscientific choices are not values neutral, and building infrastructure is not simply about choosing components among corporate, consumer products: "Although universities often make large investments in hardware, building the infrastructure that we need in higher education actually involves rethinking traditional notions of ownership of property." 


5) The FemTechNet DOCC is an innovative experiment from which many stakeholders will learn: The DOCC 2013 is an experiment created by scholars in a wide number of fields and we hope that through a variety of assessment measures, not just numeric ones, we can learn best practices that could serve many people.


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