2016 » Papers » Volume 2 » MOOCs as a Promoter of Gender Diversity in STEM?
|1. MOOCS AS A PROMOTER OF GENDER DIVERSITY IN STEM?|
Volume 2 | DOI: 10.12753/2066-026X-16-164 | Pages: 516-521
A very high number of learners take part in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) anywhere and at any time. Some researchers give a broad overview about typical learners in MOOCs, but many questions about social, cultural and ethical dimensions of eLearning are not answered yet. Notwithstanding the above, there are a lot of worldwide initiatives for supporting girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Nevertheless in some countries, especially in Western Europe, we are still far away from gender parity in STEM.
In line with these two aspects this paper focuses on 100.000 learners from more than 190 countries (data collected since 2012 and enhanced with survey data) who take part in MOOCs on computer sciences offered by the online learning platform "openHPI". Our primary interest concerns to the following research questions from a sociological point of view: Who takes part in STEM-MOOCs (selectivity)? Which factors influence the successful participation of men and women in STEM-MOOCs and under which conditions are MOOCs able to promote gender diversity in STEM (e. g. second-chance education and re-entry into the labour market)?
The aim of this paper is to raise the potential of MOOCs to educate underrepresented groups in specific fields like women in STEM by analyzing the learning behavior of different kinds of people and giving recommendations for further MOOC offers.
Therefore we analyze eLearning in MOOCs in regard of the following social, cultural and ethical dimensions:
o age, gender, socio-demographic background, subject field, working experience, social interaction among students (in the forum and in learning groups) and between students and teachers/tutors;
o country of residence, values, gender roles;
o fairness (e. g. in behalf of peer assessment) and conformity with regulations (e.g. concerning the communication via the forum).
We report new results of our multivariate statistics and give recommendations for attracting more women to take part in STEM-MOOCs, e. g. with regard to the role of teachers, course design, learning materials, examples and speech geared to a diverse target group and a suitable learning environment for a very heterogeneous group of learners.
MOOCs, STEM, learning analytics, empirical study, diversity, gender, lifelong learning