Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 651

Gender Issues in Distance Education

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Group Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None.

Availability: Normally, Winter Term Only

Note: MEd program students must complete Mdde601 & Mdde602 prior to all other courses
Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


MDDE 651: Gender Issues in Distance Education uses feminist principles and theory to explore the practice of contemporary distance education. The course is written from a feminist perspective (i.e. it is women-centered). It explores and critiques feminist literature, which in turn is used to explore and critique distance education.

Course Goals

The course is designed to achieve the goals listed below.

  1. To apply feminist theory and research in order to explore the gendered impacts of technological innovation
  2. To examine how gender can inform distance education
  3. To reflect on how gender affects our ways of interacting, communicating, decision making, and educating
  4. To use feminist gender analysis to critique existing and planned educational programs
  5. To develop gender-inclusive educational content and delivery strategies within a distance educational context
  6. To integrate personal experience, feminist theory, and pedagogy and apply them to educational initiatives

Course Outline

The course consists of four units:

Unit 1: Feminist Theory and Pedagogy

  • The first unit in the course examines the utility of theory in general and some current feminist theories of education in particular.

Unit 2: Overview of Gender Issues in Distance Education

  • The second unit considers how technological innovation privileges one gender, and to what extent it is possible for educators to use gender analysis to make informed, gender inclusive choices in program content and delivery. This unit also examines case studies that highlight some of the issues raised in the first two units of the course.

Unit 3: Case Studies
Many of the articles in the Readings, in the textbooks, and on the Web are case studies that deal with a wide range of issues centring on women’s experiences in distance education as learners, teachers, and administrators. These case studies will be the medium for exploring in more depth a number of aspects of women’s relationship to distance education, including the following:

  • access and success to education for women in developed and developing countries;
  • learning design and support systems;
  • technologies;
  • content and curriculum and issues for practitioners.

Unit 4: Project

  • In the final unit, students will apply their own context and issues to the lessons learned from working through the readings and related activities. The student project can take any number of forms. The purpose is to explore significant educational or training feature of their own work environment as it relates to distance education — whether that ‘‘work” is as a learner, teacher/trainer, or administrator — and describe how that feature could be transformed to make it more women-positive.

Student Assessment

Student grades will be based on three assignments and their participation in the course.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Based on the reading of articles, students will write an essay to present the synthesis of issues arising from the articles. 20%
Assignment 2: Collaborative Case Study, students will work with a partner to develop a presentation on the issues about your chosen topic. 30%
Assignment 3: Explore a significant educational - or training-related feature of your environment that relates to distance education. Develop a plan to transform that feature to make it more women-positive. 40%
Course Participation: Students are expected to participate in the course forums. 10%
Total 100%

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.