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Politecnico di Milano

Fostering women's participation to STEM through MOOCs

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This course aims to raise awareness about the importance of gender balance in the STEM field and illustrates a tool for the creation of gender-balanced MOOCs.

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Course description

Gender stereotypes and under-representation of women in STEM affect the way girls and young women perceive themselves, and it is one of the reasons for their limited presence in the STEM field.
Believing that MOOC and gender-balanced educational content in general can be part of the solution, in this MOOC through the voices from the field of teachers, instructional designers, visual designers, students, and people who work for a more inclusive environment in the STEM field we will understand how to build a more inclusive environment.
We present a toolkit created in the frame of FOSTWOM Erasmus+ project to develop MOOCs according to a gender conscious perspective with a particular focus on: content and storytelling to be used, gender-aware language, gender-aware use of images and visual materials. The aim is to offer a practical tool to all people willing to create educational content in a gender-conscious perspective.

Total workload of the course: 6 hours

A project by:

FOSTWOM Erasmus+ project” EU FUnded - 2019-1-ES01-KA203-065924

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano and developed in the frame of the FOSTWOM project.

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course absolutely free of charge and completely online.

Course materials will remain available to all enrolled users after the end of the current edition, so they can return to content later. The current course edition will be followed by a new one just after its end.

Learning schedule

The course is organized in 3 weeks.

  • WEEK 1 – The importance of gender-balance in STEM Field
  • WEEK 2 – The FOSTWOM Toolkit
  • WEEK 3 – The Toolkit: scalability and limits

In particular, in week 1 we will listen to the voices from the field of people working toward a more inclusive STEM environment.
Week 2 illustrates the toolkit and the checklist created by FOSTWOM Erasmus+ Project, with a special focus on hints and examples coming from STEM MOOCs field and the approach used in developing it.
Week 3 is about the reusability of the checklist and its limits, giving a more broaden perspective toward universal design for learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs).

Week 1

  1. Familiarize with the Gender Balance vocabulary and the main definitions shared at EU level
    ESCO: Support gender equality
  2. Understand and acknowledge the role of gender balance in STEM MOOCs
    ESCO: support gender equality
  3. Compare the experience of different stakeholders and roles involved in STEM MOOCs, by finding similarities and differences
    ESCO: demonstrate willingness to learn
  4. Put yourself at bird eye view and acknowledge the impact of gender balance in STEM MOOCs to contribute to the achievement of SDG 5
    ESCO: support gender equality

Week 2

  1. Describe and apply the Gender-balance toolkit for STEM MOOC design
    ESCO: translate requirement concepts into content
  2. Recognize the importance of taking gender balance into account from the beginning of a new MOOC project and through its lifecycle
    ESCO: support gender equality
  3. Break down and evaluate the structure of the checklist in order to consider it for your MOOC design activity
    ESCO: translate requirement concepts into content
  4. Analyse and identify the categories that are more relevant to apply to each specific context you deal with
    ESCO: translate requirement concepts into content
  5. Provide advice to your design team according to the checklist and its categories
    ESCO: manage content development projects
  6. Choose which gender balance suggested strategies to integrate in your MOOC design, to match the subject-related objectives with an inclusive approach
    ESCO: manage content development projects
  7. Check for gender balance consistencies and inconsistencies in the MOOC design materials before implementing them into the final published version
    ESCO: translate requirement concepts into content

Week 3

  1. Identify how to adopt and adapt the checklist for your specific MOOC production scenario, personalizing some of the items where needed
    ESCO: manage content development projects
  2. Infer possible future evolution of this checklist as a way to raise awareness on the larger diversity inclusive scenario
    ESCO: support gender equality


No prerequisite knowledge is required.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.
During this MOOC you will find some activities for self-reflection called “Food for thought”. They are not evaluated and not compulsory, and they are just a stimulus for reflection.


The final grade for the course is based on your results from your responses to the quizzes you will find at the end of each week (weekly quizzes). You will successfully complete the course if you reach 60% (or more) of the total score by the end of the edition. The course’s total score will be calculated by averaging the scores of the assessed quizzes for each individual week.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The Certificate of Accomplishment will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving 60% of the total score on the assessed quizzes. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly on the website.

Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

European Qualifications Framework Level

EQF Level 5

Thematic area (ISCED-F classification)

This MOOC belongs to the following thematic areas:
0031 personal skills

Discussion forum

The forum of this MOOC is freely accessible and participation is not guided; you can use it to compare yourself with other participants, or to discuss course contents with them.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

Silvia Barattieri

Silvia Barattieri

Silvia Barattieri is the Head of the Equal Opportunities Unit of Politecnico di Milano; in her role, she works to implement the University’s diversity & inclusion mission statement, leading efforts to increase equal opportunities in the work and study environment. She holds a MSc and a PhD in History form the University of Milan, and has focused her studies and interests in the field of Women’s studies.

Valeria Baudo

Valeria Baudo

Valeria Baudo (She/her/hers) works in METID-Politecnico di Milano as project manager and instructional designer. She curated the MOOC design, and she has been involved in the development of the FOSTWOM checklist. She is passionate about gender balance and she is continuously improving her skills in the area.

Giorgio Bordiga

Giorgio Bordiga

Giorgio, born 1987. Videomaker and Motion graphic designer with a User-centered approach. Freelancer since 2013, I’ve been working with private companies and startups, producing instructional, promotional and corporate videos. From 2016 to 2021 I worked for Politecnico di Milano Learning Innovation department (METID) on several projects, including MOOCs, blended-learning and promotional production for the university.

Paola Corti

Paola Corti

Paola Corti is a Project Manager at Politecnico di Milano – METID; she is an instructional designer involved in MOOCs design and production for POK platform. She coordinated the design of the course, involved international testimonials, together with other curators, in order to collect the experiences available in this MOOC, and she kept together the design and the production groups… and many are things needed :)

Arianna Mainardi

Arianna Mainardi

Arianna Mainardi, PhD. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the Milano Bicocca University. She has published on issues concerning digital media and gender relations, youth cultures and social movements. Vice-chair of the Women’s Network at ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association); board member of ATGENDER (The European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation). She has been Visiting Fellow at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore. Publications here.

Andrea Mangiatordi

Andrea Mangiatordi

Dr. Andrea Mangiatordi is a researcher at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. His work focuses on Accessibility in the areas of Online Communication and of Educational Content Design, with a specific interest in the sustainability of the application of Universal Design frameworks in educational contexts. He is currently focused on enhancing the accessibility of web environments and of electronic publishing, also through the development of open source software solutions that facilitate the implementation of accessibility features into new or existing web applications.

Charlotta Nilsson

Charlotta Nilsson

Charlotta Nilsson is an academic developer at The Department of Learning in Engineering Sciences, at the division Learning in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Charlotta is also part of KTH Equality Office providing support for teachers and education responsible at KTH in systematic mainstreaming of gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities perspectives in all aspects of education; how gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities perspectives must be considered, communicated and systematically anchored in the education’s content, design and implementation.

Ana Moura Santos

Ana Moura Santos

Ana Moura Santos is a Professor at the Department of Mathematics at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Lisbon, Portugal, and responsible for the development of much digital content now in use at Mathematics courses in IST. She received the MSc degree in Physics and Mathematics at Moscow State University (Russia, 1984) and is a Ph.D. Applied Mathematician from IST (1999). Besides her research on Operator Theory and Functional Analysis, she is author of many online educational resources (OER), in particular, more than three hundred assessment exercises and several didactic applets on Linear Algebra and Vector Calculus concepts and applications. From 2016, Ana is the MOOC Técnico ( coordinator and the author of two online courses: Markov Matrices (2016) and Eigenvalues (2017) with several editions, with a third on the making within the Fostering Women to STEM MOOCs Project (2020). Ana is designing this last MOOC on Machine Learning, Maths & Ethics in collaboration with partners to be launched in fall 2021. Her lifetime passion is dance and besides her performances in the early 90’s, currently she practices a lot of Flamenco dancing and castañuelas. She is a mother of two beautiful grown up daughters.

Sadia Afroze Sultana

Sadia Afroze Sultana

Professor Dr. Sadia Afroze Sultana joined Bangladesh Open University (BOU) in 1998. She was the Dean of Open School, BOU from 2012 to 2016 and elected Vice Chairperson of Commonwealth Open Schooling Association (COMOSA) from 2014 to 2016. She completed Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.) in Applied Quantum Physics and Nuclear Engineering from Kyushu University, Japan. She is a global network member (From Bangladesh) of Creative Commons, USA along with Creative Commons Facilitator. She also got intensive training on instructional designing and facilitating e-learning from Open Polytechnic, New Zealand. She regularly writes in different journals on nuclear physics, ODL, OER, and women.

Mara Tanelli

Mara Tanelli

Since October 5, 2020 I am Full Professor of Automatic Control at the Politecnico di Milano, where I earned the Ph.D. in Information Engineering in 2007. I also hold a Laurea (M.Sc.) in Computer Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano and a Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, both earned in 2003. My core research activity focuses on both basic and applied research, mainly within the “Smart Mobility” sector. In this area, I am co-author of more than 150 I have become a leading expert in the control of longitudinal dynamics and my monograph on Braking Control Systems also has a Chinese edition. More recently, I managed to blend my civic engagement and my research activity by starting a transdisciplinary research group, for which I am the research chair, working on “Quantitative methods for Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion”. I also serve in the steering committee of POP: Equal Opportunities at Politecnico, where I work in all Women & STEM initiatives, and I coordinate the working group who is in charge of writing the “Gender Budget” of the Politecnico di Milano, the first edition of which was published in 2019.

Carlos Turro

Carlos Turro

Carlos Turro is M.D. and PhD from the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV). He is working there since 1992 and since 2000 is Head of its Media Services unit. From there he has been responsible of coordinating the MOOC project of UPV. UPV’s MOOC project has been running since 2013 and has developed more than 100 different courses, 400 editions and 3 million student enrollments, both on the edX and UPV[x] platforms. He has and is working in different EU- funded projects related to the development and usage of technology for learning, including Slidewiki, for creating collaborative content for MOOCs, EMMA, directed to develop a multilingual MOOC platform., TransLectures, on automated transcription and translation, and FOSTWOM, to achieve more gender equality in MOOC contents. Currently is also involved in the edX project for MOOC production and is member of the Board in the Opencast community of Lecture Recordings where UPV develops of a media player for lectures called Paella Player.

Special thanks for their contribution as students to Filipa Correia, Isabella Luppi, Estrella Ròdenas Moreno, Ävelin Pantigoso.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

  1. Classes Start

    Oct 25, 2021
  2. Classes End

    Feb 13, 2022
  3. Length

    3 weeks
  4. Estimated Effort

    1-2 hours/week
  5. Language

  6. Course Number

  7. MOOCs For Teachers