Study Finds That Woman Instructors Pull in More Women Students in STEM Fields

Coursera is an online learning platform that was founded in 2012 by two computer science professors at Stanford University. The company now partners with 149 partner universities to offer about 2,000 courses online.

Examining its massive database of 25 million course takers, Coursera found that women comprised only 34 percent of all students who completed courses in STEM fields on the Coursera platform. The company conducted an experiment by sending a promotional email to its student database about a new course in machine learning. Identical emails were sent out with one showing a male instructor and one showing a woman instructor.

The results showed that women were 26 more likely to enroll in a course with a woman instructor than the course with a male instructor. Male learners showed no gender preference for instructors. Armed with this information, Coursera is seeking out more women instructors for STEM courses in an effort to increase the enrollments of women in order to close the gender gap in these online offerings.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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