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Cecilia Rodrigez Milanes and Aimee Denoyelles

Postdigital Pedagogies of Care

“Finding ways to establish a connection, be present and share online.”

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Reflections on feminist pedagogy from the technological front line.

deNoyelles, A., Milanés, C. R., & Dunlap, K. (2016). Ms/Use of technology: Reflections on feminist pedagogy from the technological front line. Pedagogy, 16(3), 481-509.


This paper examines how classroom incorporation of technology with feminist pedagogy in mind posed both limitations and advantages for a large class setting. It focuses on a Women in Literature undergraduate course taught and managed by the three authors – the instructor, instructional designer (ID) and graduate teaching assistant (TA). Due to budget and administrative reasons, the course was converted from a class of no more than 30 students in a face-to-face seminar setting, to a class of 100 students, who met for 75 minutes weekly, with the rest of the coursework completed online. The technologies used in this blended course were the classroom response system (CRS) for the face-to-face class portion and the learning management system (LMS) for the online class portion, which consisted of discussions, peer review, and group presentations. It was expected that these technologies could provide opportunities to experience the feminist pedagogical practices of egalitarian/democratic class dynamics, the social construction of knowledge, and personal responsibility for learning.


In using the CRS, each student brought a clicker (a remote control-like device) to class, which allowed for immediate student participation in instructor-driven polling. This could enable individual input and encourage classroom interaction as well as serve the purpose of recording the attendance and gauging general attentiveness. It could also engage students in thinking about global practices and values and encouraged them to consciously assess their own habits of mind. However, it posed problem when the polling sessions included questions about the reading assignments, because the CRS allowed to select only one correct answer when the reading quizzes were open to interpretation, with all the answers being correct to an extent. Nevertheless, this inflexible nature of the CRS also had the unintended positive consequence of igniting some critical discussion from students because there was no right or wrong answers with literature. The authors conclude that it would be more helpful to use ‘discussion prompts’ that require student-to-student interaction rather than reading quizzes and then simply grade participation.


The online discussions tool could facilitate the feminist process by allowing students to engage with other students, the teacher and TAs as well as have a say in the direction of the curriculum of the course, thereby facilitating a more democratic class dynamic. It could also enable students to share critiques of the assigned literature and engage the course content and reading more deeply. While the technologies created a grading hassle, the authors argue that it is worth the effort to use a feminist approach for the intellectual and personal gains possible. 


In light of the large blended format, the group presentations and the peer review of them, which were originally done in a face-to-face setting, were converted to an online format. Students were required to create and upload a collaborative slideshow presentation to the course website. The rest of the students were charged with evaluating these presentations through a peer review online grading form. However, the technological shortcomings of the LMS made the instructor spend much time and efforts to grade the peer review manually. While extremely tedious, the authors insist that it was worth the hassle of dealing with such technological issues because peer review was important to the implementation of feminist pedagogy.


While some students enjoyed the process of working with others in the presentation, others complained about the nonstandard presentation format or the inability to present. The authors note that the online group presentation experience could be improved by encouraging students to produce video/audio recordings presenting their project; or the group could bring into class the creative representation (e.g. painting, sculpture, model) inspired by their selected text, allowing students to touch or to see up close the group’s interpretative artwork.


Lastly, the authors offer six recommendations for making feminist pedagogy work in a large class setting incorporated with technologies: (1) informing the students of the pedagogy and the idea behind it as the procedures could seem so radically different from other large blended classes; (2) breaking down the hierarchy of class physically and intellectually with the use of technology; (3) incorporating students’ voices even in large classes with the use of technology; (4) making technology work for you through making conscious efforts to push the boundaries of what is possible as well as testing these technologies beforehand; (5) accessing to resources and connections to other educators instead of taking on technology and/or large lecture classes alone; (6) reaching out to those on campus who could support you (in addition to official technology or teaching support).

Podcast Transcript: Cecilia Rodrigez Milanes and Aimee Denoyelles

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