While massive open online courses (MOOCs) are leading a revolution in higher education, they are at the same time missing a valuable opportunity, according to Lisa Martin and Barbara F. Walter, political science professors at te University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California San Diego, respectively, in an op-ed piece they co-wrote for the Los Angeles Times and appears in eCampus News.
The professors suggest MOOCs have a chance to export gender equality and that classes taught by women could influence how people around the world think about the roles women play in society if only more of the courses were taught by women. They point out that of the 205 courses offered by Coursera, just 34 are taught by women and another 14 are taught by both men and women.
On a university level, 33% of the Princeton permanent faculty is female and yet no women are teaching any of the MOOCs the school offers through Coursera. The figures are a bit better at the University of Pennsylvania where 12.5% of the MOOCs offered are being taught by women, who make up 33% of the faculty.
Martin and Walter say it’s unclear why so few women are MOOC instructors, but believe female academics have a chance to lead the way in broadening equality and education if they take the lead in teaching MOOCs.