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Practices [clear filter]
Tuesday, April 24


Female Role Models in STEM: A Survey of MIT OCW's Video Resources
While women have made substantial gains in positions of responsibility in many walks of life, their numbers still lag as STEM researchers and instructors. There is evidence that recruitment and retention of women in STEM improves as women become accustomed to seeing other women in STEM roles. So the question presents itself: How might OER help girls and women take interest and persevere in STEM fields? I will argue that video can make a powerful contribution to this mission and that seeing women in charge of a classroom, expressing their fascination with their chosen field of study, and discussing their research can have a positive impact on younger women contemplating career options. Over the years MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) has amassed a substantial video library of lectures, recitations, interviews, and presentations. Overall, there are more than 4,000 video files on the site. The great majority of these are in STEM subjects. This portfolio now includes significant numbers of videos featuring women in STEM roles, with women instructors teaching their subjects, expressing excitement about their work, and reflecting on their careers. OCW also has videos of female students giving presentations on their STEM course projects, working productively in teams, and offering their reflections on their experience in STEM classes. My presentation will survey the kinds of OCW video resources (lecture, interview, etc.), the subject areas in which women appear in video (biology, chemistry, etc.), and the different roles of the participants (professor, TA, student). A brief video sampler will show some of these women in action. The presentation will then be followed by a discussion of the value of these videos in encouraging women to pursue STEM careers, what new kinds of video resources might be created to enhance such an effort, and how resources like these might best be shared.


Joseph Pickett

Publication Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:45 - 11:10


The ORCHID project: Open Research Champions for Women’s Empowerment in Development Contexts
Digital inclusion can contribute to women’s empowerment via the expansion of choice and capability (Gurumurthy and Chami, 2014). More specifically, OER and OEP have the potential to increase the scale of digital inclusion’s impact on women’s empowerment by opening access to resources, communities and peer support and, through open licensing, allowing resources to be freely adapted for diverse contexts and needs (Perryman and de los Arcos, 2015). However, despite the transformative potential of ICTs, OER and OEP for marginalised women there remain substantial barriers to women’s participation in the digital world in the global south (World Wide Web Foundation, 2015). In addition, there is a paucity of female researchers in the developing world and research on women’s needs tends to be conducted on, rather than with those women.

The ORCHID (Open Research Champions for women’s empowerment In Development contexts) project is designed to help remove some of the barriers to women’s digital inclusion. Still in the planning stage, the project involves 80 female ‘Research Champions’ – aspiring researchers from the global south – receiving Masters-level distance learning research training, mentoring by experienced female academics, skills and career development, and support in conducting community-based research into marginalised women’s needs in their home countries. Partners from several global south nations, including members of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC), will support these Research Champions, in addition to collaboratively developing open courses in women’s empowerment-related research and joining the mentors and research champions in a global community of practice with peer support and advocacy functions.

The ORCHID project has not yet gained funding. However, in sharing the project plans with the OE Global community we hope to enrich those plans, build interest in ORCHID, attract potential collaborators and mentors, and explore ways of giving the project pre-funding momentum.

avatar for Leigh-Anne Perryman

Leigh-Anne Perryman

Qualification Director, Masters in Online & Distance Education, The Open University
I'm passionate about open education, about social justice, about redressing the imbalance between the world's most and least privileged people, about teaching and learning, about openness and about women's empowerment.

Tuesday April 24, 2018 11:10 - 11:35