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Engaging Women in STEM Fields on Piazza

Dr. Rania Al-Hammoud, University of Waterloo

In this session of the Piazza Lecture Series, Dr. Rania Al-Hammoud of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo hosts a session on engaging women in STEM courses on Piazza. Dr. Al-Hammoud has researched effective ways to better understand and promote active learning in engineering education, and discovered Piazza as an effective way to create a learning environment for all her students--especially the women--in her classroom. She is joined by several other leading experts on the topic who describe their own experiences with engaging women in their courses on Piazza.

Dr. Al-Hammoud discusses how anonymous posting on Piazza enables her female students to participate more freely in the classroom, to develop confidence in their understanding of the course material, and to empower their peers by answering their questions. We learn that anonymous posting not only empowers women to participate more often, but also eliminates inherent biases that male counterparts may have when reading a question or answer posted by a female peer.

 

Later in the session, Professor Swapneel Sheth of the University of Pennsylvania reiterated this point powerfully, by noting that when students were asked if they would still want to use Piazza if there were no anonymous posting feature available, 50 percent of male students said they would prefer not use it, while almost 90 percent of female students said they would prefer not to use Piazza if they were unable to post anonymously.

 

We invite you to listen in on this session to learn how Dr. Al-Hammoud and other teaching experts use Piazza to actively engage women in their STEM courses.


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