Spring 2021 - CMNS 455W D100

Women and New Information Technologies (4)

Class Number: 2878

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2021
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units, including CMNS 253W.



Topics include the processes through which gendering of technologies takes place; information and communication technologies (ICTs), gender and public and private spheres; issues related to computerization of women's paid and unpaid work; and gender roles and the use of ICTs in relation to health; as well as the contributions which the study of gender and ICTs have made to theoretical debates within science, technology and society studies. Students with credit for CMNS 455 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


This course explores the field of Feminist Science and Technology Studies (Feminist STS). We will look beyond the role of women outlined in the title and calendar description to consider gender as a spectrum, and take a strong focus on the relationship between gender, race, sexuality, and ability. From this perspective, we will ask what constitutes a technology within a feminist framework, and consider methods that feminist STS scholars have used to situate technologies in gendered contexts and communities of use. After establishing this basis, we will focus our learning on the relationship between gender, computing, and the internet. Problems to be explored include how gender structures databases, participation in computing industries, the gendered and racialized design of search engines, networks, and other information systems, and the use of information and communication technologies for feminist activism. This is a writing intensive course intended to improve students’ skills in written communication. Toward this goal, students will choose a topic related to the course that interests them, and practice writing about that topic across three different genres.

The course will primarily be held asynchronously, with synchronous discussion options that are not required, but may be chosen instead of participation in asynchronous discussion.


  • Low-stakes Writing Exercises (6 total) 10%
  • Writing Assignment 1 (500-800 words): Writing for Online Audience 20%
  • Writing Assignment 2 (1000 words): Writing an Opinion/Editorial 20%
  • Writing Assignment 3: 6-8 page scholarly paper 20%
  • Online Discussion Leadership 20%
  • Contributions to Canvas and/or Zoom Discussions 10%



Course readings will be made available as PDFs through the course CANVAS site.


Course readings will be made available as PDFs through the course CANVAS site.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).