IRDL speaker series seminar interrogates ‘anyone can code’ claims of coding bootcamps

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Join York University’s Institute for Research on Digital Learning (IRDL) on Dec. 11 for a virtual seminar that will examine the growing global industry of coding schools and the “learn to code” movement.

The seminar – featuring technology and culture researcher Kate Miltner – runs as part of the IRDL Speaker Series and will take place online via Zoom from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Kate Miltner
Kate Miltner

Over the past decade, a growing industry of coding schools (or “bootcamps”) has developed across the globe, insisting that “anyone can code” and get a well-paid tech job with a few months’ intensive instruction.

Drawing on a case study from an American coding school, the seminar will interrogate common coding-related claims and illustrate how subtle gatekeeping mechanisms at play within these schools end up subverting the well-intentioned goals they set out to achieve.

Miltner is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her current research examines the global “learn to code” phenomenon – what she calls “the coding fetish.” This research puts the current coding obsession into historical context, explores the structural power dynamics within coding schools in the U.S. and the U.K., and investigates the outcomes for students who attend coding programs.

The seminar will also feature an opening talk by Brianna Wiens, a PhD candidate in communication and culture at York University. Wiens’ research is motivated by intersectional, queer and trans feminist politics, and sits at the nexus of feminist technoscience, queer affect and feminist new materialism.

RSVP to to receive the Zoom link for the seminar.