In STEM Courses, a Gender Gap in Online Class Discussions: What drives collaboration?
It’s not surprising that men and women participate differently in online class discussions. I’m disappointed that the interpretations of the results are not grounded in the literature on collaborative learning. We know something about why people might not want to participate in an online forum (as I wrote about in a previous blog post).
Company officials argued that the differences in behavior by gender represent a “gap in confidence” between women and men enrolled in the courses. It’s a phenomenon that has long interested the company’s founder, Pooja Sankar, who says she felt isolated as one of only a few women studying computer science at a university in India and was too shy to collaborate with male classmates.
Based on reports from hundreds of students and professors who use Piazza, “we know that students answer questions more when they feel more confident,” Ms. Gilmartin said. “We know that they use the anonymity setting when they feel less confident.”