Media and Women in Technology

Media and Women in Technology

Mara H. Washburn (Purdue University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-150-6.ch001
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Abstract

Many Western nations face a critical shortage of skilled professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, despite abundant opportunities, few women prepare themselves for careers in these fields. Several of those concerned with the problem have proposed that new media programming, such as television dramas with women engineers, computer professionals, and/or engineers in leading roles, might help attract more women to STEM fields. This paper identifies a theoretical rationale for a media centered strategy, and describes a pilot study whose data suggest that a media-centered approach might have some success in producing greater interest among women in pursuing STEM careers, particularly information technology careers.
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Introduction

“It is still news whenever women tackle any job American society traditionally has seen as male” (Vavrus, 2002, p. 11). In July 2005, fifteen major American business groups, led by the Business Roundtable, issued a joint statement decrying the declining prominence of the United States in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and calling for the nation to double the number of college graduates in those fields by 2015. The statement cited data indicating that more than 50 percent of the current United States science and engineering workforce is approaching retirement age and that by 2010, if present trends continue, the vast majority of all scientists and engineers in the world will be living in Asia. The report claimed that the scientific and technical capacity of the United States has already begun to atrophy, threatening America’s standard of living at home and leadership in the world (Business Roundtable, 2005). Within the engineering community in particular, concerns about a shortfall of qualified professionals have been voiced for over a decade (Heckel, 1996; National Science Board, 2000). Corresponding concerns for their nation’s welfare and standing in the global political economy have been expressed in many countries throughout Western Europe (Femtec, 2002).

It is widely understood that part of the solution to the escalating problem of the shortage of well trained technical personnel in all advanced industrial nations involves attracting considerably more women to careers in STEM disciplines. In the United States, there is substantial occupational segregation by sex. Although women constitute 46 percent of the labor force, less than a quarter of the scientists and engineers in the country are women (Mervis, 2000). Precise international comparisons of occupational segregation are difficult because nations seldom use comparable detailed occupational coding systems (Jacobs, 1993, p. 133). However, available data do indicate not only the existence of such a gendered division of labor throughout Western Europe, but also the likelihood of its persistence. For example, while half of all university students in Germany are women, women represent only 34 percent of all students in the natural sciences and 19 percent of all students in engineering (Femtec, 2002, p. 2). Similarly, men were found to be over represented among computer science graduates in all 21 industrial nations considered in a recent study. In the United States, the “male over representation factor” is 2.10, in the United Kingdom 3.10, in France 4.57, and in Germany 5.58 (Charles & Bradley, 2005).

Approximately half the potential STEM talent pool consists of women. Therefore, in 2000, a United States government commission was charged with developing strategies to attract more women and minorities in STEM careers. The commission reported to the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives that significant barriers to these goals persist (Committee on Science, 2000). Such deterrents range from differing male/female attitudes toward science and technology that begin to diverge as early as elementary and middle school, to the absence of women faculty, mentors, and fellow students in college and university classrooms that create a “chilly climate for women” in these areas (AAUW, 2000; Seymour, 1999).

A recent report by the Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering, created by the National Academies (2007) affirmed that women have the ability and drive to succeed in science and engineering, but they face persistent structural barriers and personal bias. As the result, they continue to be lost throughout every phase of their education. The report concludes that failure to act will be detrimental to our nation’s competitiveness.

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Mara H. Washburn
Many Western nations face a critical shortage of skilled professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, despite... Sample PDF
Media and Women in Technology
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Chapter 2
David Gefen, Nitza Geri, Narasimha Paravastu
Threaded discussions are one of the central tools of online education. These tools enhance student learning and compensate for the lack of social... Sample PDF
The Gender Communication Gap in Online Threaded Discussions
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Chapter 3
Princely Ifinedo
In this study, we investigate the influence of two external influences i.e., Ease of finding and Computer anxiety on the technology acceptance model... Sample PDF
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Continuance Intention
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Chapter 4
Thanakorn Wangpipatwong
In this article, the study of how a constructivist e-learning system affects students’ learning outcomes was explored and a two-phase study was... Sample PDF
The Influence of Constructivist E-Learning System on Student Learning Outcomes
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Chapter 5
Andreas Wiesner-Steiner, Heike Wiesner, Heidi Schelhowe, Petra Luck
This article presents substantial results from two projects that deal with teaching and learning with digital media in basic and higher education... Sample PDF
The Didactical Agency of Information Communication Technologies for Enhanced Education and Learning
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Chapter 6
Daniel J. Shelley
E-learning and e-pedagogy continues to grow in importance in the delivery of higher education, due in part to the cost of higher education, a... Sample PDF
Comparative Analyses of Online and Traditional Undergraduate Business Law Classes: How Effective is E-Pedagogy?
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Chapter 7
Ido Millet
Data Flow Diagrams and Use Cases are two popular methodologies in teaching as well as in practice. For the last 4 years, we have been using both... Sample PDF
Student Perceptions of Data Flow Diagrams vs. Use Cases
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Chapter 8
Hong Lin
Agent-oriented design has become one of the most active areas in the field of software engineering. The agent concept provides a focal point for... Sample PDF
Promoting Undergraduate Education with Agent Based Laboratory
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Chapter 9
Tony Jewels, Rozz Albon
For optimum workplace effectiveness in knowledge-intensive industries in which principles of knowledge management need to be applied, it is... Sample PDF
Supporting Arguments for Including the Teaching of Team Competency Principles in Higher Education
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Chapter 10
Lawrence Tomei
This article helps classroom teachers create an “Interactive Lesson,” a self-paced, student-controlled, individualized learning opportunity embedded... Sample PDF
Creating an Interactive PowerPoint Lesson for the Lesson
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Chapter 11
Chris Thompson, Zane L. Berge
This chapter briefly profiles three virtual schools, each at a different stage of development, yet each dependent upon a successful and sustained... Sample PDF
Planning Staff Training for Virtual High Schools
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Chapter 12
MarySue Cicciarelli
Research shows that training prospective online instructors in an online learning environment is advantageous. One effective training topic is on... Sample PDF
Training Prospective Online Instructors: Theories Utilized by Current Online Instructors
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Chapter 13
Michael Fedisson, Silvia Braidic
Seventh grade students were tested on their knowledge of sentences and nouns in a language arts classroom. This study was conducted over a two-year... Sample PDF
The Impact of PowerPoint Presentations on Student Achievement and Student Attitudes
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Chapter 14
Henry H. Emurian
Information systems students in a graduate section and an undergraduate section of an introductory Java graphical user interface course completed... Sample PDF
Teaching Java™: Managing Instructional Tactics to Optimize Student Learning
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Chapter 15
John DiMarco
This research project investigated the existence of web portfolios on academic websites in New York State. It cites disappointing results when... Sample PDF
Toward an Increase in Student Web Portfolios in New York Colleges and Universities
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Chapter 16
Marianne Döös, Eva R Fåhræus, Karin Alvemark, Lena Wihelmson
Conducting a dialogue on the Web is a matter of linking thoughts in digital conversations. Dialogue differs from discussion by not being aimed at... Sample PDF
Competent Web Dialogues: Text-Based Linking of Thoughts
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Chapter 17
Jeffrey Hsu
A number of new communications technologies have emerged in recent years which were originally used primarily for personal and recreational... Sample PDF
Employing Interactive Technologies for Education and Learning: Learning-Oriented
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Chapter 18
Matthew Shaul
As a socially constructive learning tool, discussion forums remain central to online education. They have continued to evolve in functionality... Sample PDF
Assessing Online Discussion Forum Participation
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Chapter 19
Solomon Negash, Michelle Emerson, John Vandegrieft
An empirical analysis was conducted to compare synchronous hybrid e-Learning environment with traditional classrooms. Empirical study with 165... Sample PDF
Synchronous Hybrid E-Learning: Empirical Comparison with Asynchronous and Traditional Classrooms
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Chapter 20
Diane Hui, Donna L. Russell
Effectiveness of professional development is affected by the quality of social interaction. This study examines how online collaborative dialogues... Sample PDF
Understanding the Effectiveness of Collaborative Activity in Online Professional Development with Innovative Educators through Intersubjectivity
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Chapter 21
Silvia Braidic
Teaching is a complex activity that involves careful preparation, delivery and reflection. As an educator, it is essential to create a sense of... Sample PDF
Effective Questioning to Facilitate Dynamic Online Learning
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Chapter 22
Cindy S. York
This article briefly reviews two important goals in online education: interaction and presence. These are important goals in online education... Sample PDF
Transitioning from Face-to-Face to Online Instruction: How to Increase Presence and Cognitive/Social Interaction in an Online Information Security Risk Assessment Class
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About the Contributors