The Asynchronous Learning Network (ALN) as a Gender-Neutral Communication Environment
Event Location / Date(s)
Saratoga Springs, NY / October 22-25, 2008
Conference Name / Publication Title
Proceedings: Frontiers in Education Conference
ISSN or ISBN
Women are under-represented in technology-intensive fields. Arguments abound on the question are there true gender differences. Some see the Internet as the great equalizer. Some studies have shown the gender gap to be narrowing in certain online activities. Distance education often uses discussion forum postings as one of the common learning activities. This research reports on a study with doctoral level students in both a technology intensive class and a more people-oriented class. The directionality of forum discussion postings were examined from both a within gender perspective and a cross gender perspective. The findings did show that the postings in this Asynchronous Learning Environment (ALN) were gender-neutral. In addition, two different configurations were examined: a free-form posting and a structured posting. These configurations were examined from a gender perspective and no difference was found. Lastly, the nature of the program of study was examined in regards to level of interactivity related to gender. Again, there were no significant differences found. This research did demonstrate that an ALN can be perceived as a gender-neutral environment.
Cohen, Maxine S. and Ellis, Timothy J., "The Asynchronous Learning Network (ALN) as a Gender-Neutral Communication Environment" (2008). CEC Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures. 78.