Queen Bees, Workers and Drones : Gender Performance in Virtual Learning Groups
Gwyneth Hughes (Institute of Education, London)
Copyright © 2010. 11 pages.
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Collaborative learning online is increasingly popular and the interaction between learners is documented and discussed, but gender is largely absent from this work. This chapter attempts to remedy this gap by offering a review of a study of undergraduate online collaboration. Using a metaphor of bees in the hive, the chapter explores gendered ‘performance’ in online groups through comparing learners’ behaviours with that of queen bees, workers and drones. The frustrated queens, sub-groups of workers and excluded drones identified in the study do not lead to harmonious and productive working. The study concluded that a shift from face-to-face to online does not necessarily promote shifts in gender performances and that finding new ways of performing gender online might help resolve some of the conflicts arising from learning collaboratively.
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