Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Gender issues in computer‐supported learning

By Cathy Gunn, Sheila French, Hamish McLeod, Mae McSporran and Gráinne Conole


Contemporary research identifies significant gender‐related differences in performance and interaction style in computer‐supported learning (CSL) environments. Evidence suggests that initial perceptions of these environments as democratic and offering equal opportunities to all students were flawed because interactions that take place through electronic channels lose none of the sociocultural complexity or gender imbalance that already exists within society. This paper presents a summary of gender‐related issues identified by international research and academic practice together with the opinions expressed by participants in a discussion forum staged at Alt‐C in 2001. Two main questions were addressed during the conference forum. Firstly, if computer access and literacy levels are assumed to be equalizing as the literature suggests, how can educational designers using CSL technologies best serve all student groups? Secondly, does the existence of gender‐based differences in behaviour and interaction style in CSL environments mean that any student group is disadvantaged? The paper concludes with suggestions about how educational designers might increase the flexibility of CSL courses to offer equal opportunities to all students. A number of issues for further research are also identified

Topics: LB Theory and practice of education, LC1022 - 1022.25 Computer-assisted Education
Publisher: University of Wales Press
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0968776020100106
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2001). 43Cathy Gunn et al Gender issues in computer-supported learning
  2. (1993). Cross-gender Communication in Cyberspace,
  3. (2001). Education on-line: what's in it for women?', in Women, Work and Computerization: Charting a Course to the Future, Vancouver BC:
  4. (2001). et al Gender issues in computer-supported learning doi
  5. (1991). Feminism Confronts Technology, doi
  6. (2000). Feminist Pedagogy and the Laptop Computer. Women, Work and Computerization: Charting a Course to the Future, doi
  7. (1992). Gender and Computer-mediated Communication: An Analysis of DT200 in
  8. (1993). Gender and democracy in computer mediated communication', doi
  9. (1996). Gender and IT,
  10. (1999). Gender differences in an on-line learning environment', doi
  11. (1999). Gender differences in asynchronous learning in higher education: learning styles, participation barriers and communication patterns',
  12. (1994). Gender differences in computer mediated communication: bringing familiar baggage to the new frontier',
  13. (1998). Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children,
  14. (2001). Gender, language and CMC for education', doi
  15. (2001). On-line learning: a quality experience', in doi
  16. (2000). Paradigms and perversions: a woman's place in cyberspace',
  17. (2001). Quality assurance for online courses: from policy to process to improvement?', Paper presented at the Ascilite 2001: Meeting at the Crossroads,
  18. (1994). Strategies to Facilitate Student Computer Usage: Are Attitudes the Answer?, Survey Report,
  19. (1999). Technology - the new gender gap',
  20. (1985). The exclusion of women from technology',
  21. (1998). The Myth That Schools Shortchange Girls: Social Science in the Service of Deception, Washington DC: The Women's Freedom Network.
  22. (1999). The rhetorical dynamics of gender harassment on-line', doi
  23. (1997). We can, we don't want to: factors influencing women's participation in computing',
  24. (1999). Who Wants to Learn On-line? Identifying Our Flexible Learners, doi
  25. (1994). Women-friendly perspectives in distance education', doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.