Like Rosy, I've been sitting on this wondering what to say, and am now
following Karen, even though I wish I had more in the way of
anthropological or statistical insight...
Anyway. I recommend reading Unlocking the Clubhouse, which sheds a lot of
light on the sometimes-subtle factors that disincentivize women's study of
I'd familiarize yourself with Boston Python Workshop, Railsbridge, and
Hacker School -- not just their curricula but what they do to build
inclusive cultures (notably Hacker School's explicit social rules:
The one time I TAed at Boston Python Workshop, I found the things that had
the most visible positive impact on students' engagement and confidence
1) Naming impostor syndrome when it arose. Telling people it was a real
thing with a name and they were not the only ones to experience it.
(People's eyes got really wide over this one.)
2) Modeling fallibility: making it normal and okay to not know everything,
to need to ask someone else or Google it. Making it clear you don't have
to be omniscient to be a real technologist. (Students' relief over this
was so strong it was painful to see.)
Then I'd try to be very aware of who speaks up in class, and whether
might be unintentionally encouraging some people more than others or
allowing some to dominate, and keep in mind that people's silence may have
more to do with confidence than competence.
And I'd try to avoid reinventing the wheel. The Ada Initiative has done
some of this work. So has GeekFeminism. So has Open Hatch.
Lastly there's really no substitute for building a real thing that works,
is there? Getting that high? Do what you can to give your students quick
wins, not only so that they get that high, but so that they can build a
self-image of themselves as capable of this stuff (which they may need to
persevere as the material gets more challenging throughout the semester...)
On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:34 AM, Shearer, Timothy J <[log in to unmask]
> Hi Folks,
> I'm teaching systems analysis at SILS (UNC CH) this semester.
> Though the course is required for the IS degree, it's not required for the
> LS degree.
> However, the majority of my students this semester are LS. And the vast
> majority are women.
> Apropos of the part of the thread that dealt with numbers:
> For those of you who came into this community and at some point went
> through a MSLS or MSIS program I am wondering if there are things I could
> try to do that might have an impact on better aligning the ratio of men to
> women in code4lib and the technology end of the field in general to that
> in the general population?
> Was there a moment of clarity? A person who said or modeled the right
> thing? A project that helped uncover a skill you didn't know you had?
> And, I am not just interested in what I can do through one class, but also
> what the curriculum and school could do more holistically.