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Self evaluation

sekang's picture

I decided to take this course, because I think Bryn Mawr College is a nice place to learn about feminism. Also, having never properly and professionally learned about feminism, I did not understand the reason and the purpose of learning feminism. I did not have a full understanding of what part of feminism is so intriguing that some people choose to pursue Ph.D. in this subject. Hence, by taking this course, I not only wanted to get exposed to a subject that I was not familiar with but also wanted to know the purpose and the foundation of feminism.

I enjoyed using serendip a lot. I followed several students’ web events throughout the semester. I loved reading papers on different topics that each student is interested in. Reading the posts and the web events on serendip helped me think about feminism even outside of class. It definitely helped me read more articles about feminism. By posting on serendip, I was able to ask questions that I did not get to ask during class. Also, since there is no time limit for the serendip posts, I was able to put more time thinking before making statements. Though I was not too familiar with the online posts in the beginning of the semester, I learned to take advantage of the benefits of online media, on which I could embed articles and videos. I think one of the best part of the course was serendip.

I liked most of the reading materials assigned in class. Reading was one of the fun parts of the course, though it was sometimes hard to finish the materials on time. I enjoyed the class discussions on readings a lot. There were almost always some thoughts that amazed and shocked me mostly because I had not interpreted the way that other people did. Reading for this course helped me read more quickly and efficiently.

Out of 20 posts on serendip, 12 were “stand-alone’s” and 8 of them are responses to others’ reflections. One of my “stand-alone” posts is on the motherhood. Motherhood is something that I had been thinking for a while. And it is something that I still do not have an answer to. I wanted to ask other BMC students on their views but did not have a chance to do so, prior to taking this course. I appreciate all the responses to my posts and it definitely expanded the spectrum of my thoughts and knowledge. I think I valued all the comments, also because I finally got to ask some people outside of my “typical bubble” at Bryn Mawr.

For the first web event, I did not get to put as much effort as I wanted to, due to the limited time and work responsibilities from other classes. For the second and the third web events, I think I put much more effort than I did for the first one. I loved reading books and articles for my second web event, because brain and psychology are something that I am very interested in. The fact that I was able to connect feminism with math and psychology motivated me to research more on the topic. Recall that from the second topic, I was able to show that women are equally equipped as men to learn and succeed in the STEM courses. One of the reasons to expand the topic of women’s ability to excel in the STEM courses on the second web event is that I had believed that brains of women and men are developed in different areas. For example, women’s brains are more developed in the verbal parts whereas men’s brains in the quantitative parts. Proving my own belief and the common misconception wrong by reading various books and articles was actually really fun and awakening. One of the fun parts of researching on the second topic was to learn about the origins of the misconception, which I claimed came from two books: The Origin of Species and the Bible. For the third web event, I initially wanted to focus on the pedagogical approach to the problem of low representation of women in the STEM fields However, as I was researching on the topic, I faced a problem that I still did not fully understand the reasons behind the small number of women in math and science. Hence, I focused my third web event and studied more on the reasons.

As I mentioned on the mid-semester evaluation form, I think one of the best parts of this course is choosing a unique topic for web events. As much as I learned a lot from reading the required texts in the class, I learned a lot from reading for my web events. Writing on a topic that is so relevant to my life helped me to related myself to feminism more easily. Hence, I felt the need of learning feminism more as the semester went by.

Overall, I really enjoyed this course a lot. If I could and if my schedule allows, I would like to take another course on gender and sexuality. Taking this course motivated me to think about how I can make a difference on daily basis and in the future. Especially, the web events helped me think about my future career. As I was researching on the topic, “The low representation of women in the STEM fields,” I came to realize that more students, both men and women, should be encouraged to pursue further education and careers in the STEM fields. Before changing my third web event topic, I read some articles about various programs and ways to encourage more female students in the STEM fields. Now that I had learned how to make the difference and motivate women into the STEM fields, I started to think about changing my career path to teaching, especially investing on young women in math. As important as it is, I am still debating on this. This course fulfilled my purpose of taking this course, which is to learn why feminism is important and the purpose of learning this subject of academia. For me, I think the reason to learn feminism and the purpose of learning this subject is to acknowledge that there still exists gender inequality in today’s society. Another reason is to learn different ways to express gender and to learn how to respect them. Lastly, one of the biggest lessons I learned throughout this course is that the purpose of learning is not always about decoding. It was hard for me to accept it in the beginning. But I think I learned a lot from the “open-ended story.”