Distributed Digital Pedagogies: Collaborating
Across Difference
T.L. Cowan @AgingSupermodel
The New School
Presentation link: http://tlcowan.net/?p=716
Aug 14, 2014 - Digital Pedagogies Institute, UTSC #DigPed14
Introduction to FemTechNet
• an activated network of scholars, artists, and
• working 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
• collaborate on the design and creation of
projects of feminist technological
innovation for the purposes of engaging
the interests of colleagues and students
on advanced topics in feminist sciencetechnology studies
• seeks to engender a set of digital practices
among women and girls, to teach and
encourage their participation in writing the
technocultural histories of the future by
becoming active participants in the
creation of global digital archives
FTN Structure
• The Network
• FemTechNet
• Course Architecture
• DOCC – Distributed Open Collaborative
• The Course
• Dialogues in Feminism &Technology (2013-14)
• Collaborations in Feminism & Technology (201415)
FTN as cyberfeminist praxis
FTN Whitepaper:
The FemTechNet DOCC rests on a pedagogical
framework that we identify as “cyberfeminist.” For
the past twenty years, cyberfeminists have worked
diligently on projects to provide broader access to
technology for women in diverse global contexts.
They have developed strategies to transform Web
environments into generative spaces for dialogue by
drawing on feminist theories in the creation of new
digital applications and web places, to focus explicitly
on the quality of interaction among web users and the
creation of infrastructures of synchronous learning.
This cluster of courses draws on the experiences of
cyberfeminist teachers, scholars and artists who have
worked to develop skills and literacies of traditionally
marginalized groups such as women and people of
color and people working from the underresourced
majority world. (FTN Whitepaper: 4)
Cyberfeminist Pedagogy
“Like the theoretical and activist frames by the same name,
cyberfeminist pedagogy would attend to the ways in which
digital technologies both subvert and reinscribe gender,
race, and other corporeal hierarchies in virtual space; it
would be attentive to the productive and ironic play of
cyberfeminist activism and theory. But cyberfeminist
pedagogy would also commit to the tenets of feminist
pedagogy such as ethics of care, community-based
curriculum, collaboration, and embodied praxis.”
• Rebecca S Richards, “I could have told you that wouldn’t
work: Cyberfeminist Pedagogy in Action.” Feminist
Teacher 22.1 (2013) 6-7
• (As an example of cyberfeminism, check out
Transforming Higher Education with Distributed
Open Collaborative Courses (DOCCs):
Feminist Pedagogies and Networked Learning
FemTechNet White Paper Committee
femtechnet.org | September 30, 2013
FemTechNet White Paper Committee:
Anne Balsamo, The New School, School of Media Studies
Penelope Boyer, ¡Taller! [Workshop] San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
CL Cole, Media and Cinema Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Megan Fernandes, Brown University
Radhika Gajjala, School of Media and Communication Studies and American Culture
Studies, Bowling Green State University
Sharon Irish, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois,
Alexandra Juhasz, Media Studies, Pitzer College
Elizabeth Losh, Culture, Art and Technology Program, University of California, San
Diego (Committee Chair)
Jasmine Rault, Culture and Media Studies, Eugene Lang College, The New School
Laura Wexler, Yale University
Anne Balsamo & Alexandra Juhasz
“An Idea Whose Time Has Come: FemTechNet
– A Distributed Online Collaborative Course
Who, what, how?
What is a DOCC?
Distributed Open Collaborative Course
• a multi-situated connected course on a shared theme
built and sustained by many faculty and students,
using collaboratively designed Key Learning Projects,
Interactive Activities, and shared, open resources
(Video Dialogues; readings; guest lectures from within
the network), based on the feminist model of
distributed expertise, and feminist methods including
dialogue, accountability, horizontally-oriented, peerengaged transformative learning.
“A DOCC is different from a MOOC in that it
doesn’t deliver a centralized singular syllabus to
all the participants. Rather it organizes around a
central topic,” said Balsamo in an article this
week in Inside Higher Ed. “It recognizes that,
based on deep feminist pedagogical
commitments, expertise is distributed
throughout all the participants in a learning
activity, and does not just reside with one or two
Why Now?
• Feminist epistemologies and pedagogies have taught
us that it matters not just what you learn (i.e., the
hypodermic MOOC method – ‘sage on the stage’) but
who you learn with (‘guide on the side’).
• Adjunct methodology – multi-sited; shared-resources;
insist on redundancy; beyond efficiency; need for
connection; affective network; feminist response to
exploitative labour practices & institutional hierarchies
• Feminist analysis & intellectual & cultural histories more than “add women & stir” method
DOCC Guidelines for
“Collaborations in Feminism &
Technology” 2014-15
Each DOCC 2014-15 will:
Foreground DOCC Methodology for knowledge creation, which
relies heavily on dialogue and other feminist practices.
Engage questions of Feminism and Technology, through the use
of course materials, and at least one Key Learning Project or
student/faculty collaboration.
Contribute something to help build and sustain the DOCC; each
instructor should sit on a FTN committee towards this end -Pedagogy, Assessment, Communications, Archives, Accessibility,
Steering, White Paper, Technology, etc.
Engage foundational works by feminist scholars, artists and
activists—by viewing a video dialogue, wikistorming, using shared
critical resources, etc.
FTN Key Learning Projects
Feminist Wikistorming
Key-Word Videos
Feminist Mapping
Community Participation via Blog
• Object Making/Exchange (final project)
FTN Interactive Projects
(graded or ungraded)
• Twitter Tag
• Exquisite Corpse Video Project
• Situated Knowledges Map
FTN Teaching & Learning
• an open-ended structure for Teaching &
Learning Resources that reflects some of our
shared pedagogical philosophies and priorities—
including anti-racist, anti-colonial, trans-, queer
and crip feminist content and teaching methods.
• Recognizing privilege structures within our
network/welcome (From upcoming manifesto:
Accountability is a feminist technology)
FTN Design – Feminist
Technology in Action
• Videos – archive of feminist thought in action
• Assignments – feminist pedagogy in action
• Wikistorming, Blog Commenting – activist pedagogy
(see video)
• Campus, Community & Self-Directed Learning
– collaborations across difference
“Collaborations in Feminism & Technology”
• new course experiment – Launching Sept 22, 2014
(stay tuned)
Meetings, Office Hours &
Office Hours
Pedagogy Workshops
Town Hall Meetings
Summer Workshop/Institute
Building & Sustaining FemTechNet
Collective Structure
Committees & Working Groups (aka Feminist
Ethnic Studies
Technology (The Commons…)
Distributed, Open, Collaborative
Facebook - (closed
Schedule http://femtechnet.newschool.edu/blog/notes-forftnsummer-workshop/
Collaborative notes - (etherpad > google
Questions? Comments?
T.L. Cowan
FemTechNet Chair of Experimental Pedagogies
School of Media Studies
Lecturer - Culture & Media, Eugene Lang College
The New School
[email protected]

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