Distributed Open Collaborative Courses (DOCCs) | Call for participating institutions (nodes)

The e-learning component of the project: DOCCs (Distributed Open Collaborative Courses)

To further expand the reach-out potentials of the capacity-building formats and concepts which will be designed and rolled out, a digitally delivered learning programme is developed by the GE Academy inspired by the DOCC (Distributed Open Collaborative Course) model coming from the US based FemTech Network. The choice was made to opt for an alternative, connectivist version of MOOCs and achieve similar goals in terms of quantitative engagement with a less top-down oriented and more pluralistic approach. Indeed, the DOOC concept has been created by feminist scholars and practitioners to enact a less centralized and more interactive version of MOOCs: while the latter is delivered by one single organisation and a few instructors in the form of video courses and some offline assignments, a DOCC is a collaborative learning/training programme which can be jointly delivered by different institutions and where interactivity is enhanced. 

The GE Academy DOCC will be hosted on an LMS (Learning Management System) with advanced modules and specific features for e-learning spaces, in order to keep track of learners’ access and use of the materials. The curriculum will roll out along approximately 8 weeks, with 3 hours attendance per week. Videos recorded during the different sessions will be uploaded on YouTube and embedded in the blog space, and training materials also made available online. Intermediate and final self-assessment tests will be proposed as well as a final test. A certificate of attendance will be made available to those who have completed 70% of the learning activities. Interaction among learners and trainers will be facilitated via a posting and forum functionality to be foreseen on the blog, and to be moderated by an online facilitator. Two iterations of highly interactive online learning programmes are foreseen: The first DOCC will be designed in conjunction with the first round of GE Academy Summer Schools to be held between June and  July 2020, and along with trainings, workshops and webinars, as an expanded learning space where different trainers/experts/participants can interact and exchange, on- and offline. The second DOCC iteration will be designed by the end of the GE Academy project and during the third Summer School in 2021. Contents of the course will combine different, content-wise complementary, class recordings and materials from GE Academy Summer Schools, Webinars and/or Training Sessions, together with ad hoc created exercises, materials, self-assessment tools and assignments. 

The DOCC roll-out will be accompanied by an intensive social media campaign through other existing social media channels of the GE Academy. This will allow interaction to happen both via posts-comments on the LMS and outside for a wider outreach. The GE Academy DOCC for 2020, scheduled to run between June- July 2020,  will focus on Institutional Change for Gender Equality in Research approaching the topic and covering all the 3 ERA priorities on Gender in Research, namely: raising the number of female researchers, increasing the number of women in decision making in Research, supporting the inclusion of gender dimension in research content. 

 Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10. Balsamo, A. (2011). Designing Culture. The technological imagination at work. Duke University Press, Durham & London. 12 Femtech Network (2013). White Paper. Transforming Higher Education with Distributed Open Collaborative Courses (DOCCs). Feminist Pedagogies and Networked Learning. Millingan, C. Littlejohn, A. and A. Margaryan (2013). Patterns of Engagement in Connectivist MOOCs. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 9, No. 2, June 2013,, pp. 149-159.

Call for collaboration for DOCCs nodes active in content creation 

Consistently with the DOCCs concept, we want to explore and use a methodology where part of the online curriculum is co-created with different ‘nodes’ defined as external experts to the project consortium, so that knowledge is produced and shared by multiple sources and with different angles. 

We are therefore selecting organisations and experts already active in similar fields as those we are exploring in the GE Academy project interested and willing to become GE Academy DOCCs nodes. 

Who are we looking for?

  • Universities and Research Organisations/project consortia in the process of implementing institutional change for gender equality.
  • Professors/Scholars giving courses in gender studies or in different STEM disciplines with a gender perspective, preferably but not necessarily at a graduate level.
  • Civil society/feminist organisations and gender experts active on/exploring the specific topics of the project (gender in scientific research and innovation).

What are we looking for?

We envisage that the DOCCs nodes would set up a working group (i.e. of graduate students or PhD researchers along with their teachers/supervisors in case the node is embedded in a University course) to collaboratively produce multimedia content (i.e. short video lectures, case studies analysis, web apps, infographics, etc.) on topics of joint interest, which could then become part of the online curriculum. Another option is to rely on existing already produced/content to be adapted to the format (on a case by case scenario). 

  • If the node is a researcher or a research group with their own courses on Gender in Research related topics, the multimedia content for the GE Academy DOCC could be the output of a project assignment within a Graduate or PhD course in the upcoming semester. Alternatively, it could be a video taped lecture, or part of it, or other existing materials to be adapted. 
  • If the node is a University or a consortium of partners engaged in promoting institutional change and Gender Equality Plans, the multimedia content for the GE Academy DOCC could come from edited  recordings of a webinar, given in the framework of the project itself or, as above, short video lectures, case studies analysis, web apps, infographics, etc ).
  • The nodes would be free to interpret the topics according to their own approach and background, and both parties would need to agree in advance on some basic technical requirement for the videos and on quality criteria for the outputs. The nodes will also have to get familiar with the GE Academy Principles and Standards.


We intend to finalize and upload all the materials on the platform by the third week of June 2020, therefore we envisage to go through the following tentative timeline:

  • Deadline for applications: 7th February 2020
  • Selection of nodes: by 21th February 2020
  • Individual alignment conference calls between each node and the GE Academy Team engaged in the Summer Schools and DOCCs development, and agreements set up: finalized by the end of February 2020
  • Content development and submission: by mid-May 2020
  • Content refinement if needed and agreed: by first week of June 2020
  • Integration of the content on the DOCCs platform (by the GE Academy team) by mid June 2020

What do we offer?

  • Technical support for editing/shortening/adapting existing video materials.
  • We will acknowledge contribution from the nodes and give extensive visibility to collaborating institutions and persons via our project website under the DOCCs page, the DOCCs platform itself, and social media campaigns that will be set up to advertise and disseminate the course. 
  • Institutional branding of the produced content is encouraged and allowed to institutions/projects taking the role of nodes. 
  • Each institution and the involved persons will retain IPR of the produced content and will authorize to use it for free in the framework of the GE Academy project only. 
  • If scientific coordinators of the DOCCs nodes are willing to do it, we would also be happy to set up an online live-interactive discussion where the proposed multimedia content is presented and discussed with trainers and speakers taking part in the most relevant Summer School, but this would be optional. 
  • Finally, attendance to the DOCC course by students/PhD researchers, members of the node institutions or their participation to the Summer Schools in 2020 and 2021 would also be optional (and very much welcomed), but not required by accepting the role of node for the GE Academy DOCC.

How to proceed and express your interest? 

  • Please read the GE Academy Principles here at this link, and consider if they mirror your approach to gender training and content development. Further details on the GE Academy Quality Standards will be shared during alignment calls with selected institutions/experts.
  • Send us your ‘Expression of Interest’ using the form at this link, describing your work, your motivation, and how you envisage to collaborate as node, as well as in brief what type of media you would propose and what content area you would focus upon.

Deadline & Contacts