Archive for May 3, 2013

Gender Bias Found in How Graduate Students Review Scientific Studies

We’ve heard stories like this before, about the implicit bias in how STEM professionals are judged.  This one is striking because the participants are graduate students, not established researchers who reflect years of experience in the community.  These are the new researchers, and they’re already biased.

The research found that graduate students in communication — both men and women — showed significant bias against study abstracts they read whose authors had female names like “Brenda Collins” or “Melissa Jordan.”

These students gave higher ratings to the exact same abstracts when the authors were identified with male names like “Andrew Stone” or “Matthew Webb.”

In addition, the results suggested that some research topics were seen as more appropriate for women scholars — such as parenting and body image — while others, like politics, were viewed as more appropriate for men.

These findings suggest that women may still have a more difficult time than men succeeding in academic science, said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the study and associate professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“There’s still a stereotype in our society that science is a more appropriate career for men than it is for women,” Knobloch-Westerwick said.

via Gender Bias Found in How Scholars Review Scientific Studies.

May 3, 2013 at 1:46 am 9 comments

J’accuse: SJSU faculty say MOOC profs are complicit

In an open letter to a Harvard professor who built a MOOC, faculty at San Jose State University urge him and other MOOC-offering professors to stop. “Professors who care about public education should not produce products that will replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.”

“In spite of our admiration for your ability to lecture in such an engaging way to such a large audience,” the letter’s authors write, “we believe that having a scholar teach and engage with his or her own students is far superior to having those students watch a video of another scholar engaging his or her students.”

The letter is part of a brewing debate about how MOOCs might deepen the divide between wealthy universities, which produce MOOCs, and less wealthy ones, which buy licenses to use those MOOCs from providers like edX.

The authors say they fear “that two classes of universities will be created: one, well-funded colleges and universities in which privileged students get their own real professor; the other, financially stressed private and public universities in which students watch a bunch of videotaped lectures and interact, if indeed any interaction is available on their home campuses, with a professor that this model of education has turned into a glorified teaching assistant.”

via Why Professors at San Jose State Won’t Use a Harvard Professor’s MOOC – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

May 3, 2013 at 1:27 am 15 comments

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