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Bringing women into computer engineering: Curriculum reform processes at two institutes of technology
Linköping University, Department of Education and Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. Univ.,.
1999 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study looks at curriculum reform processes at two Swedish institutes of technology in a gender perspective and relates them to two social theories: the reproduction theory of Bourdieu & Passeron and the gender contract theory of Yvonne Hirdman.

The aim of the reform processes was to make educational programmes in computer engineering more attractive to female students. The study examines the possibilities for and obstacles to achieving this aim in the context of an institute of technology. On a more general level the question is about the reproduction of gender contracts which denote engineering as a masculine sphere and how this is done within and by engineering education.

Academic staff at two universities of technology involved in the reforms were interviewed, and planning meetings of the staff at one of, the universities were observed. The focus was on the conceptions of female and male students, respectively, among the reformers, the interaction patterns within the groups and the groups' relations to their institutional contexts.

The results point out several obstacles to gender-related reforms at institutes of technology, such as stereotypical conceptions of women and lack of knowledge on gender issues among the reformers, the particular position and responsibility given to the female reformers, the importance of keeping up the status of a single programme and the heritage of engineering education as a whole, and the need of other reforms when they are experienced as more acute. The importance of active support by institutional leadership is accentuated.

After one year of operation teachers on the reformed programmes were interviewed. Even if these programmes managed to increase the recruitment of female students, their curricula was not perceived by the teachers to be especially female-friendly. In many ways the programmes still had problems with accommodating student groups which were different from the norm of the traditional male secondary-school graduate interested in computers. The reforms have not brought about a real breach in the gender contracts designating computer engineering as a masculine activity. However, they might have brought computer engineering education somewhat closer to such a breach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1999. , 253 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Education and Psychology, ISSN 1102-7517 ; 60
Keyword [en]
Engineering education, curriculum development, female students, Bourdieu, gender contract
National Category
Pedagogy Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-143155Local ID: LiU-IPP-STU--60--SEISBN: 9172194847 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-143155DiVA: diva2:1159363
Public defence
1999-06-04, Eklundska salen, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2017-11-22 Created: 2017-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf