The very first step in building Media Map was through a Teaching Innovation Grant at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where Alexandrina Agloro was faculty in 2016-2017. One of the grant’s calls was to work on a project related to race and games, which is one of the first themes we developed. SCRAM (then known as CRES: Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Committee) was in discussions about our commitments to Ethnic Studies and our commitments to relevant education in the communities where we lived and worked. First, we wanted to build upon concepts and methods in FemTechNet’s Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC). The DOCC is a feminist alternative to the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) course format, and features collaborative synchronous and asynchronous content delivery through online classroom nodes taught by participating instructors. The DOCC provided a horizontal network for connecting instructors and engaging learners in multiple locations, while a MOOC depends on brand name institutions or third-party companies to implement a one-to-many vertical delivery model.
While the DOCC was a semester-long course that provides a survey of topics more generally related to feminist technology, Media Map focuses on the creation of flexible plug-and-play content packages that can be utilized in a greater variety of class settings. From university courses to community education, these modules will provide easier access to scaled programming. We built this model to be inclusive of educators who teach at universities, community centers, and teen after school/summer programs and who understand the need to create learning modules that could be applied outside a semester system. Additionally, our explicit thematic focus is at the intersections of race and technology, emphasizing the connections between underrepresented groups’ access to technology and relevant content delivery methods that respond to intersectional challenges.
We worked across the 2016-2017 year to figure out the content delivery platform, Media Map’s themes, and bring in relevant comrades and stakeholders into this project.