Gender Studies – How does my online master work? 2/2

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Copyright: Unsplash/rawpixel

Last week, I explained part of my studying routine as a student from the online master “Gender, Intersectionality and Change”. This studying routine also involves two important things: readings and assignments.

Weekly literature

As I explained, each week I have to watch a pre-recorded lecture. And with each lecture, goes a list of topic-related academic papers or book chapters. Usually, I have to read between 50 and 150 pages a week. It can sometimes be a lot, but everything is really interesting. Plus, most of the time teachers divide the literature in two categories: intensive readings (that you have to read very thoroughly) and extensive readings (that is not as important as the previous ones).

Once I read “everything” (come on, you know you don’t always read “everything” ūüėČ ), I am expected to write a reflection diary. This assignment is meant to be a basis for our tutor-meeting discussion. Writing style is free and I can write about the readings as well as any other topic related to gender studies I have in mind. I think it is a very interesting exercise, since it encourages us to break our academic writing habits!

Assignments

This leads me to the most important: assignments. Many people ask me if I have to take exams. The answer is: yes and no. Yes because I am evaluated through regular assignments and no, because I don’t have to go to any exam sessions on campus. Indeed, most of my “exams” consist in essays and personal reflections on a chosen-topic. Most of the time, I am expected to implement the concepts and theories I learned during the course to an issue of my choice.

I really like this because once again, I have total freedom on the topic I choose and how I get to tackle it. Plus, most of the time, we get a week or so to write it, which I think is adequate. Once I am done, I am expected to submit my paper online on Lisam, which is where everything related to LiU and student life happens here (I might write about it later!).

Now you know everything about my master!

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Gender Studies – How does my online master work? 1/2

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Copyright: Unsplash/rawpixel

I just realized I wrote two articles about my master’s face-to-face week, which took place two weeks ago without never explaining how the online part of my master works on a daily basis. So here is the first part of all the information you need about the “Gender, Intersectionality and Change” online program from Link√∂ping University.

Online?

“My master is online”. I must have told this sentence to people I met a thousand times since I moved to Link√∂ping. Then, I usually have to explain why I decided to move here anyway, which I already explained in the first post of this blog.

But what does online mean? This basically means that I never have classes on campus. My weeks are totally free: I study when I want, and I organize my time as I wish. I must admit that I like the freedom I get to wake up and go to sleep when I feel like it, to go grocery shopping in the middle of the day and take afternoons off whenever I want. This is just perfect. However, I understand people who are telling me they could not do it. Gladly, I never had procrastination or motivations issues so studying without incentives is not a problem for me.

Since the program is online, the majority of my classmates still live in their home country and only come to Sweden for the face-to-face weeks. They often combine their studying with working full-time or part-time, which I think is very brave given that the master is a 100% workload Рthis means that it is required to study full-time (just the amount of time you would study with on-campus classes).

How do I know what I have to study?

The program is also divided in two semesters: the Autumn semester and the Spring semester. Last semester I attended four courses: Introduction to intersectionality, Exploring intersectionality, and Analytical Tools. Before each one of them starts, we get a Key Document which sums up the skills we should acquire thanks to this course, the assignments we will have to submit, and our schedule.

Yes, we have a schedule. Each week, we must watch a pre-recorded lecture, attend a mandatory online tutor-meeting or co-tutor meeting (without a tutor) and we have the possibility to participate in a non-mandatory seminar. These are the three meet-ups we have settled each week.

The (co-)tutor groups were decided in the beginning of the semester and we were in charge of finding the best way and the best time of the week to meet-up online. My group and I are meeting-up on Microsoft Teams, but other meetings such as live lectures or seminars are usually held on Skype for Business.

That’s it for this first part, I will explain in details how the literature is distributed and how assignments must be submitted later!

 

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Stockholm – First trip to the capital?

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Stockholm’w view from S√∂dermalm. Credits: Marie Zafimehy.

The first time I went to Stockholm I was 16. I was visiting the Swedish capital-city with my parents, and my siblings. That is the moment I fell in love with Sweden. Everything seemed so perfect – everyone looked beautiful and well dressed, I could not get enough of Gamla Stan and visiting museums, and the landscapes in the archipelago just amazed me. I knew I would come back.

Since then, I have been to Stockholm numerous times Рmaybe a dozen. But I never get enough. I am still in love with Gamla Stan and Södermalm. I still like crossing bridges, walking Drottningsgatan and visiting the Vasamuseet.

As approximately every destinations in Sweden, you can reach Stockholm by bus or by train.  Once you did, here what I think you should visit if it is your first time there (I will dedicate another post to more secondary visits).

1. Gamla Stan

First, you must take a walk through Gamla Stan (the old city). I think this is the most beautiful part of the city, with old colorful buildings which look very nice on Instagram. It is obviously very touristy but it is a must-go. There, you will find the Nobel museum for instance – and numerous gift shops.

2. Vasamuseet (and others)

The Vasamuseet is the best museum I have ever visited – I am not being over-the-top, it was even designated among the 10 best museums in the world. It displays the Vasa boat, a vessel which drown in Stockholm’s harbor during the XVIIth century. If you have the chance to get a guided-tour, it is even better. I remember the first time, I really had the feeling to be part of the boat and living a real-time experience.

You can also visit numerous other museums, such as the Nordiska museum (about Nordic culture), the Abba museum (about the band), the Modern museum, Skansen (an open-air museum about Swedish history and culture)… and many others!

3. Enjoy the nature and the water

Finally if the weather is sunny, I strongly recommend a trip around Stockholm’s archipelago. The landscapes are amazing and you can take beautiful pictures! If it is cloudy or rainy, you can still take a walk around Djurg√•rden, a huge park built on one of Stockholm’s islands. Many Stockholmers go there to run or simply chill on the grass, when the weather allows it. A must-go!

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Gender Studies – What happens during a face-to-face week 2/2

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Copyright: Unsplash/Vinicius Amano

Now that I have explained what a face-to-face week is, I am going to go more into details when it comes to the workshops, lectures and seminars we attended. I want to emphasize the fact that this face-to-face week really made me feel like I was developing an expertise in Intersectional Gender Studies, something I was still not really aware of before. During this week, I learned how to design a Gender Studies course, wrote (part of) a thesis introduction & a pitch, and participated to a forum theatre. All of these were really rewarding experiences.

Lectures

Of course, we attended a bunch of lectures. They were mainly about career outputs for Gender Studies students and how we could implement our knowledge in a professional framework. What I keep from these lectures is

  • How Gender Studies students mainly choose to study this subject out of interest more than to really make a career out of it, they are just willing to participate in changing our society by understanding it better
  • Gender Studies are about studying, but also about being creative and find innovative ways to teach, write, shoot movies, do politics etc.
  • Gender Studies scholars and students are devoted to equality and tolerance, and that is what makes us a threat to conservative voices. Even though it sometimes a burden, it is also a strength. Because when we acted together and debated among ourselves, I jus had the feeling to be part of change.

Workshops

I think the workshops were the most interesting activities we had during this week. There were four of them.

  1. Write a thesis introduction. With the help of Emerita Professor Nina Lykke, we used creative writing as a start to write an introduction to a chosen thesis topic. We mainly used automatic writing as a mean to encourage our creativity (that means keep writing and when you don’t have any ideas coming in anymore you just write whatever). Then we exchanged texts with our partner, it allowed us to break free from academic rules and have relevant feedback from one of our peers.
  2. Write a pitch for a thesis proposal. Journalist Anna-Maria S√∂derberg gave us a lecture about her experience as a feminist and queer journalist in Sweden. Then, she told us to write a pitch for our thesis topic: five sentences to catch the reader’s attention.
  3. Forum Theatre. That was my favorite. Forum Theatre consists in performing a play which allows spectators (“spect-actors”) to intervene and replace one of the actors or actresses to change the outcome of the story. Basically, we would play a scene taking place in a workplace where there were tensions around feminist topics once, and the second time, the audience could come and be part of the story. That was super interesting!
  4. Teaching design. I also liked it. It was really interesting to feel like I was on the other side of the classroom and that I could create a whole new class about Gender Studies.

Co-tutor meetings

Besides lectures and workshops we had co-tutor meetings where each of the three groups was meeting to discuss assignments. One of them was a presentation we had to give on the last day. Otherwise, we chatted, laughed and talked about feminism and so many other topics. That was one of my favorite part of this face-to-face week: being able to speak about my predilection topics with equally-interested people in a chill atmosphere. We even had dinner all together on Wednesday night!

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Gender Studies – What happens during a face-to-face week 1/2

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Credits: Unsplash/The Climate Reality Project

I have not been very active for a week. Why? Because last week was very intense. I was taking part in the second “face-to-face week” of my program, “Gender, Intersectionality and Change”.

Reminder: my master is online

If you remember right, in the first post of this blog, I explained that my master program was online and that I had deliberately chosen to move to Sweden. Although all of our classes (tutor-meetings, lectures, seminars) mainly via Skype or Microsoft Teams, we must attend three “face-to-face weeks” during the year.

The first face-to-face week took place last August, at the end of the month. However, I could not attend it because I was working in Paris. In order to get credits anyway, I had to write a compensatory assignment to make up with my absence. Thus, I was very excited to be part of this second face-to-face week to meet my classmates!

What does this week look like?

It looked like an intense week full of classes – I must admit I am not used to it anymore. We had class from approximately 9am to 4pm everyday. The schedule comprised workshops, co-tutor meeting and lectures all around the same subject: “Career Paths and Professional Communication”.

This course is worth 6 credits and aims at showing us in which way we can apply and use our knowledge in Gender Studies in the labour market. Basically, we learned how to be a Gender Studies expert in our own professional field from research to journalism. We had some readings to do before each class and we were discussing it altogether.

It was really interesting to see that most of us – we were 20 present out of 40 – had chosen Gender Studies out of interest, and did not expect to really have a career fully linked to this topic. I realized, thanks to all our classes, that I was developing a real expertise in this field and I feel more confident about it now!

I will post a second post later this week to go into detail regarding our workshops and what we actually did during all of our classes.

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