fall forum



Gender and Diversities Fall Forum

Building Real Bridges: Placing Race, Gender, and Culture at the Core of E-learning

What if gender and diversities were the beginning point for the design and facilitation of online learning? If gender and diversities were truly valued, what would e-learning look like? Would software be different? Would the construction of course content be different? If we took all we know about different learning styles, cultural differences, gender, race, ethnicity, economic status, or disability, how would we construct online courses so they were exciting, inclusive, and engaging?

These and other global questions framed the discussion in the Gender and Diversities Institute fall forum, which brought together a small group of experts to explore the potential of the Internet. This invitational forum was hosted by the GEMS project as part of its annual advisory meeting. Participants included Allan Fisher, President of Carnegie Technology Education, a nonprofit subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon University; Marion Usselman, program manager and research scientist for the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computers at Georgia Tech; Glenn Kleiman of EDC vice president and director of the Center for Online Professional Education (COPE), and GDTI director Katherine Hanson. Maria Paz Beltran Avery, director of the Gender Healthy Respectful Schools and co-director of the New England Comprehensive Assistance Center moderated the discussion and Vivian Guilfoy, EDC vice president and director of the Center for Education, Employment, and Community was discussant.

The panel's informal discussion focused on how diversities are reflected in the design of online course environments, in course content, and in facilitation/teaching on-line. This wide-ranging conversation pointed to new directions for e-learning and to new technologies that would support different kinds of learners. During the next few months, the Institute will build on this discussion to create a publication that can help us all to think differently about the development of equitable e-learning environments. If you wish to be notified when the publication is available online, contact us at genderdiversities@edc.org.

This fall forum on technology is the second in a series of occasional forums hosted by the Institute. Each forum is designed to begin an ongoing discussion among practitioners and researchers about a critical education topic. The first forum focused on raising and educating boys. The Institute's winter forum, co-sponsored by the University of Costa Rica, will bring US and Latin American educators and practitioners together to explore education's role in preventing gendered violence.