Reflections on Forming a Virtually Feminist Pedagogy

Niya Bond

The University of Maine

It seems like all of my internet clicking these days leads me to discussions about ongoing efforts to increase the effectiveness of online educational experiences. It is terrific to see online teaching and learning at the forefront of conversations about positive change and transformation in higher education. I can't shake enduring dismay about the issue underpinning these calls to action—notably, a recognition that a diverse range of virtual educational environments are still ineffective. I believe a large part of what is lacking in online spaces is rooted in uncertainty about how to consciously rework, revamp, or revolutionize pedagogy to mind the online enervation-empowerment gap. Too often, pedagogy can become exclusively philosophical, a beautiful manifesto to be appreciated during a hypothetical ponder, but never to be translated into a practical how-to. For me, feminist pedagogy provides a productive series of steps towards bridging this divide. This is because feminist pedagogy is a pedagogy that is at-once reflective and realistic in its relationship to empowerment. It provides a concrete pathway for educators by enabling them with the tools necessary to virtually practice what they preach. In this way, feminist pedagogy is doubly intentional—it is purposefully practical.