Online engagement

Everyone’s engaged participation in this course is necessary for everyone’s learning and for this class’s shared project of feminist worldmaking. We cannot gather in person this semester, but we can still create a shared space for learning and exploration.


We will have synchronous discussions via Zoom each week at the assigned class time. Sessions will follow this approximate structure (times will vary):

6pm: The full group gathers, takes a moment to ground ourselves in our connection, and shares our entry points. We make space for everyone to speak at least once during this time.

6.30pm: 15-minute screen break

6.45pm: Dr Lothian or the student(s) leading discussion will prepare and introduce activities, discussion questions, or passages from the reading. The bulk of our discussion will take place in breakout sessions, each with 3-5 students, engaging in discussion of particular texts or aspects of the readings. Each session will have a designated note-taker and presenter who will report back to the main group.

7.45pm: 15-minute screen break

8pm: Return to full group as we share important points from breakout discussion or activity.

8.30pm (or earlier): class ends.

Breakout sessions will never be recorded. Full group discussion may be recorded if all students consent. Recordings, if they are made, will be available on ELMS.

On Zoom, turn video on when you can, so that we can experience one another’s presence; turn it off if you need to. Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or eat meals on camera, as these actions can be distracting or triggering for some; soft drinks and unobtrusive snacks are fine. Pets, children, partners, and housemates are welcome; you will undoubtedly meet my family over the course of the semester. If you have a lot of background noise, headphones or a headset tend to be helpful. The chat function on Zoom and the Slack will be useful if anyone has trouble hearing or prefers to communicate via text.


In addition to the writing you will post at this website and assignments submitted on ELMS, we will use Slack for asynchronous discussion. This will enable us to communicate in writing with less formality than the course website demands, and will allow discussions begun during synchronous sessions to grow and develop over time. Slack participation will help us build a class community and make connections with one another as well as with the readings.

You will receive an invitation link to our Slack on the first day of class.

Each week of class will have its own channel on Slack, in addition to some general channels. You may post at any time, before or after the synchronous class takes place. We might use these channels to post questions and responses to the readings; to continue discussions after synchronous classes; to share related resources; and for any other relevant purpose you can think of.

We will also make space on Slack for off-topic discussion of the sort that typically takes place during breaks or in the hallway before class begins: we might share pet pictures, recipes, or critiques of UMD’s reopening strategy, for example. Anyone in the class may start an off-topic channel at any time.