Gender Communication Summer 2009

A space to critically engage gender and communication topics

Student Response June 17, 2009

Filed under: course info — daniellemstern @ 11:44 am

Wow. Your journal entry responses regarding our experience during this brief summer course have been overwhelmingly supportive. I plan to incorporate your suggestions as much as possible when I teach gender online again next summer. I’ve summarized your constructive feedback here. I can’t wait to view your web portfolios. I encourage you to keep your blogs open when the course is over. However, this is entirely your decision, as your blogs are YOUR spaces. If any of you object to me linking to your blogs in my future courses (such as I did from previous students’ blogs that you used as guides this time around), please let me know. We still have one blog post to wrap tonight. Please check back to this shared space at week’s end and/or early next week to read my closing thoughts and, of course, contribute your own if you like.

Suggestions to improve course design:
Meet once or twice more as a “check in.”
Integrate assignments into more of a group setting beyond individual blog posts.
More descriptive grading guidelines/feedback
Space out due times during heavy assignment week
Staggered deadlines for blog comments
Anonymous Blackboard forum for comments/suggestions

Selected feedback:
I also enjoyed the Gender Communication and the family chapter. The thing I liked about this was there was a controversial topic in the blog about gay marriages and children being raised by same sex parents. I thought people were honest and even online you could tell some talks became arguments and people were getting upset, but nobody from what I could tell took it personally which I really enjoyed because that does not happen often.

And I also liked the blogs because I had the opportunity to see how my peers thought about different topics and issues which helped to further my understanding of something and it got me thinking about a different side to things.

While I believe I may have gotten more out of a lecture class, I found that using the blog allowed me to express my opinions that I would have otherwise kept to myself. I’m not one to speak out and argue in class, therefore taking this class online allowed me to be more verbal. This actually was a concept talked about in the education chapter of the text.

Also, I have found that in regular classrooms generally the same people are always speaking and answering the questions to make a discussion.  Here, we were able to hear what everyone had to say and we got a wider range of opinions that led to a broader discussion.

I actually really liked the course blog.  It’s nice to be able to read and re-read everybody’s ideas, and i think it provided a freedom that could not have been possible in the classroom.

I found that I was more inclined to be very upfront about my opinion on the blog.  I took a women and politics class where we discussed many of these issues, and did not participate as much.  I had the same opinions, but didn’t think what I had to say mattered.  More often than not, I didn’t voice my opinion because I felt people would disagree, and it just wasn’t worth arguing about.  As a female, I feel as if I fit the stereotype for girls in regards to education.  I often am shy in the classroom setting.  The blog allowed me to say my thoughts and react to others, without worrying what was thought, or if I would be attacked. Because of this, the blog without a doubt made me more inclined to participate.

Blogging is a way to have continual discussion throughout the day and if what had been said previously is forgotten, you simply have to scroll up to read the previous discussion.  I really liked being able to read what others wrote and know that in a regular classroom setting many of the comments and replies would not have been said because of time restraints and because of the aversion some students have to speaking up in class.

I also think that if there was somehow a group project involved, yes I know it is very hard to have a group project considering that the class could be spread out all over the world.  But if there was a group project then there would be lines of communication between males and females and we could practice what we learned in the class with other individuals that are also trying to practice as well.

The journal entries helped me relate what we wrote to my everyday life. I love being able to apply things, because to me that’s the whole purpose of learning- to let it affect your life. I usually wrote my journals in a more conversational style so that it seemed like I was discussing this with friends or on our classroom blog.

As a girl I feel that I have to be very careful in what I say or else it will be attacked.  Naturally I want to please everyone, but I feel safe on this blog and don’t feel threaten by speaking out.

When my boyfriend told me this class has turned me into a feminist, I tell him that yes, it has, followed by an explanation of the different types of feminism. He tells me this because since the onset of this course, I have become more aware of how greatly gender plays a role in society from how we interact with one another to how men and women are portrayed by the media.

At first I thought I would hate the blog. I thought it was going to be so much work. As I got into it, I loved it. It was more of an educated discussion then homework. I feel like people were more honest in the blogs than they would be in person. My favorite was that everyone got a word in. In class, I never really raise my hand. I always felt like I had nothing unique to say. When I would post something on the blog I would get great feedback… I would check the blog religiously to see if someone had commented on my post. The blog got me more involved with the class than any of my past classes have.

I felt entirely more engaged in this class than in any other, got to say everything I wanted to say, really broadened my horizon with the way I think by my own attempts as well as others inputs, never felt stressed about a due date, and had the luxury of “attending” class at my own leisure.

The course blog was helpful to me because I heard different examples and viewpoints.  Reading everyone’s comments helped me solidify the course concepts in my head.  I gained a deeper understanding of how gender is expressed through friendships, relationships, acquaintances, and the media by using the blog.

I believe that by having the class discussions online it helped in the overall participation of the class because people were not speaking in a traditional classroom atmosphere which gave other people confidence and the ability to start the conversations as well as build off of the people before them.  A big thing that I believe was helpful with this was that people who are cautious about what they are saying when it comes to the opposite sex in a traditional classroom setting, they are able to say what they believe and their views right onto the blog and other people can see that and in turn use that to look at their own beliefs.
Speaking of what we learned, I do not think I have ever been able to relate so much material that I have learned in one class to my everyday life as I have from this class. It has been interesting for me to see the concepts that I have learned be present in the interactions that I have with my family, friends, and co-workers… I am currently taking another online class at the same time as this one and in the discussion board part of Blackboard he has an anonymous link where you can post questions or suggestions for the course by revealing your identity or not. This I think is very helpful for both students and professors because students are more willing to post criticisms or suggestions anonymously.

At first, I really though that taking an online course would hinder my learning experience. I was certainly pleasantly surprised to find that it added to my experience. Although for many other subject matters I believe it would still be a hindrance, for a subject such as gender communication that can involve a lot of viewing media and other sources, it was particularly useful… Also, with the classroom being virtual, your ability as the professor to incorporate a number of different sources that we could refer to made the experience more enjoyable.

I honestly think that this is a great class to teach online, especially with the low number of guys, it allows them to be more open in a class full of girls, who might have stronger opinions on certain subjects… I think this course was great, and I think it should be taught like this year round.  If it was taught like this though I think it would be cool to be able to meet up with the teacher like once a week just to talk about how class is going, or just to have some teacher student relationship.  That way technology does not take over completely and we are still able to form connections and relationships.
While I believe the course blog and the overall virtual classroom eliminated several gendered messages, particularly the ones that come at risk from the interaction between professor and students, I believe it supported an educational experience preferred by females.  As the Gambles discuss in the chapter about gender communication in the classroom, females tend to prefer educational experiences that involve interaction (through discussion on the course blog), participation (through posting on the course blog), and reflection (obtained through the journal entries).  However, I have thoroughly enjoyed the class even though it is an educational experience that is more likely to be favored by females.  Taking this course online allowed for me to experience an educational environment different from one that I prefer.  It would be interesting to know how males compared to females in the class enjoyed the design of the course.

Sometimes, based off of individual’s usernames I wasn’t sure if a person was a boy or a girl, making it difficult to how each was represented. For instance, on some topics I found myself searching for a guys opinion, which could be difficult considering the (I believe) limited number of men in this class, and my ability to know which comments belonged to them. On the other hand, the lack of gender knowledge could be seen as creating a dynamic that works toward gender equality. If I was unaware of a persons gender I could not attribute their statements as “oh that just because they’re a boy (or a girl), but instead worked toward refuting the importance of gender.

Blogging was also very beneficial rather than being in a classroom. I know that sometimes when I am in class I am too afraid to speak up or I do not want to be judged for responding to a question. The blog let me speak what was on my mind and not be afraid of how people might view me because of my opinion. I really believe that the course blog really helped me feel more comfortable in a class, even though it is virtual; it really helped my educational experience.

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2 Responses to “Student Response”

  1. Jessie Wright Says:

    Do we need to resend you our URL when we have finished our blog?

  2. daniellemstern Says:

    Unless you received an email from me specifically asking for your URL, then I already have it. 🙂


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