Academia, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, life, Professional Development, Research, scholarship, Self-care, Teaching

In honor of International Women’s Day: “Undisclosed stories of instructional design female scholars in academia”

It is International Women’s Day and I would like to re-share a journal article that I co-authored with other Instructional Design Female Scholars: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277539518302231

In addition to sharing a link to the article, I am also sharing a short excerpt from the discussion section of the manuscript (which complies with the copyrights set by the publisher). If you would like to get a copy of the full article, I will gladly share it via email.

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Significance of this Research

Why are these issues that we present through our stories of significance to the ID field? Because we teach, practice, and research this field. We aim to present our field as a process-based, relational, inclusive, equitable, and transformative community.  Yet, instructional design practices, research, and teaching are heavily influenced by the male dominance that permeates higher education institutions. We attempt with this paper to raise awareness, seek understanding, and open the doors for discussion of women’s issues in higher education and the instructional design field.  In the past, “feminist approaches to design have problematized a range of taken-for-granted assumptions (Campbell, 2014, pg. 233).” These assumptions continue to marginalize and oppress through our practice. It is a trickle down effect: if some voices being part of the IDT community are ignored, oppressed, and marginalized , how can we expect the outcome of our design, research and teaching experiences to be inclusive, equitable, and transformative? In the global economy, we talk about reaching out to diverse groups of learners. If those diverse groups can be represented in the decision making mechanisms, then, it might be easier to develop empathic relationship with the diversity, we strive to address.

As an attempt to challenge the hegemony of patriarchy in academia, this paper explores gender-related challenges and issues female scholars experience in their lives. The male dominance in academia and socio-cultural roles assigned to females create conflicting roles. As female academics are assigned with a range of social, cultural, and professional responsibilities in a male-dominant context, it is essential that they are provided with support (Misra, Crist, & Burant, 2003). Changing this mental frame is not easy since it is legitimized and encouraged by power dynamics. As a socially-accepted and culturally-valued role, females are supposed to take care of domestic responsibilities first. The role of parenthood and marriage once combined with the gendered and biased institutionalized norms conflicts with the role of a scholar (Acker, 1992). As a potential strategy to solve this problem, it is essential to recognize gender as a social construct that is shaped by the patriarchy to designate social and cultural roles to women as a tool for suppression and marginalization (Acker, 1992); thereby, allowing us to perpetuate these inequalities that we have been trying to overcome (Valian, 1998).

To make matter worse, the lack of collaboration among the female academics aggravates the practical impacts of these anomalies. Women’s issues are an important part of the female academic identities that are embodied and situated in a social and cultural discourse dictated by the dominant socio-political forces through the gender, power, and context sensitive knowledge creation process (Nightingale, 2003). It is vital for female academics to have an open forum in which they can share their experiences and insights on women’s issues, and triangulate the silences and incompatibilities across the settings. It is important to raise skepticism concerning the neutrality of the knowledge creation through the practice of normal science, and uncover the silenced and empowered voices by the hegemonic forces situated in a social context (Vaivio & Sirén, 2010).

 

Academia, Education, Higher Education, Job, Professional Development, Self-care

Failure

I really enjoy celebrating accomplishments but I also like normalizing failure. We do not always achieve what we want or it make take several tries before we accomplish a goal. If we are mentally prepared to understand that failure is a possibility, we are more likely to build strength to pick up the pieces and try again. So here are some things that I have failed at in the past, yet they did not stop me from continuing to pursue what I wanted to accomplish in the long run.

When I graduated high school, I decided to study computer systems engineering. That did not go too well! At that time (and still today), I was a social butterfly. College was a great place to hangout with my friends. Becoming an engineer was not really a priority. After the three semesters studying engineering and failing many courses, I decided that it was best to throw in the towel. I took a year off from college level courses to work and save to pay for my education. I eventually when back to college and started with an associates degree in Computer Programming which I completed with honors. I went on to successfully complete an undergraduate, master, and doctoral degree.

Another moment of failure in my life was when I applied to doctoral degrees. You see, I was determined to move back to Canada and in particular to Montreal. I had fallen in love with the educational technology program at Concordia University. After spending 5 full years studying in Emporia (Kansas), I was ready to complete my application, get accepted, and start a new chapter of my life as a doctoral student at Concordia University. That did not happened! I applied to three universities: Concordia University, Boston University, and Old Dominion University. A few days after doing my doctoral interview (a phone interview with all faculty members of the educational technology program), I received a letter from Concordia University letting me know that I was not accepted. I cried so much!

However, I was accepted to Boston University (with a graduate assistantship but no tuition reimbursement) and to Old Dominion University (with a graduate assistantship with full tuition reimbursement). Eventually, I decided to attend Old Dominion University and that let to so many wonderful opportunities that have shaped my personal life and career. I decided that although I was not at my number one choice, I was still going to earn a doctoral degree and make the most out of it!

Of course, there are many instances of failure in every day life: the article that gets rejected, the class activity that does not go as planned, the award that I do not get, etc.

Why am I sharing this? In academic circles, it gets really competitive. Heck, in life people get really competitive. We start looking at what others are doing and assuming that everyone is “doing things,” “going places,” and basically just “living the dream.” But the reality is that we are all working towards our goals and we all have moments of failures. That is just life.

Self-care

50% Chance of Rain

Yesterday was a great day for a stroll in one of the local parks. The forecast said: “50% chance of rain.” It definitely looked cloudy but I was too entertained by gators in the park to notice the clouds approaching. The gator in the photo below, in particular, was just hanging out and chillaxing while everyone just took photos.

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Before I realized it, it was pouring! It was like someone had just opened the faucet. We managed to find shelter under the stairs of one of the observations towers. There was a group moms with five children who looks like they were six or seven years old. They were definitely not impressed with the situation. This was not what they had signed up for. I was also thinking: “well this sucks!” The stairs were not really providing much shelter.

 

Then, we all saw a kayak with two people (see image below) paddling as fast as they could trying to make their way back to the “launching point” were they had rented the kayak. In that moment I realized that:

A: While sometimes you may think you are in a bad situation, it could always be worst.
B: Sunny days are good but you have to make the most out of days with a “50% chance of rain.”

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Academia, AECT, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Job, Professional Development, Research, Self-care, Teaching

Latest Publication: ” Undisclosed Stories of Instructional Design Female Scholars in Academia”

Our article titled “Undisclosed Stories of Instructional Design Female Scholars in Academia” published in the Women’s Studies International Forum is now available online (co-authors: Tuğçe Aldemir, Jozenia Colorado-Resa, Camille Dickson-Deane, Ginger Watson, and Ayesha Sadaf).

Abstract: In this critical autoethnography, we come together as female instructional design (ID) faculty and graduate students. We use self-reflection to explore, through our writing, the experiences of our lives as female scholars. This includes gender-related challenges, concerns, and experiences that shape our lives as researchers, instructors, and practitioners. The theoretical frameworks that guide this critical autoethnography are radical and intersectional feminism. Radical feminists practice consciousness-raising in which women come together to share their personal experiences with each other. Intersectional feminists acknowledge that the various aspects of humanity, such as class, race, sexual orientation, and gender do not exists separately from each other. Our stories provide a view into the gender inequalities experienced by women, from various cultural backgrounds, ranks, and roles, while maneuvering the socio-cultural norms ingrained in higher education institutions. Our intention is that these stories generate understanding of these issues and inform ways that higher education may be more inclusive and supportive of female academics in the future.

This personalized URL provides 50 days’ free access to the article (until November 17, 2018). You are welcome to read or download. No sign up, registration, or fees are required: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Xoml-6kqPaWN 

Academia, Self-care

Self-Care: Barre Workout

Last year during Summer, I started taking barre workout classes. It was painful but I felt good after every class. I did this as part of a Groupon for a month-membership so after the promotion was done, I stopped the classes. All Fall and Spring, I really missed the bar method classes. So I decided to take classes (in a different studio) this Summer. Pretty much every week (except for two weeks in which I was on travel or recovering from travel) I have taken at least two classes.

This is a major accomplishment for me. I have issues committing to any kind of workout and I feel proud of the fact that I was able to workout at least twice weekly all summer. This is also a major form of self-care. I can honestly start work at 8am and stay connected to my laptop thinking that I must get “whatever I am working on” done. I become very sedentary and that is not good. Prioritizing my group exercise class has become a part of my daily routine (I normally do a mid-day class). I am not sure how this will transition into my routine during the academic year but I hoping for the best.

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