Our Two Cents: How to Make Online Learners Feel Inclusive?

Session Description
We often think online is a neutral place to communicate and there’s no exclusion at all. However, people feel othered or excluded for various reasons online as in face to face classroom. The reasons for feeling othered are attributed to various membership categorization in which students put themselves. Some students think they are old and lack of technology skills compared to young digital natives. If students first joined a program, they might think their knowledge level is way lower than other incumbent students taking the same course and hesitate to share their voice. International students may struggle due to lack of language proficiency and cultural differences. They sometimes do not understand what domestic students intend to say or simply feel offended because of different writing style. Misunderstandings often happen in the cyber place due to delayed communication and lack of personal intimacy. Because many online learners are professional, they might feel excluded when other students know each other from face to face classes. There are many more reasons why online learners feel othered, excluded, and isolated. It is very important for online instructor to understand those reasons and find ways to mitigate such negative feelings to make online learners feel more inclusive. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore online learners’ feelings of and reasons for otherness based on our interviews and provide some useful tips and tricks for online instructors.
Hajeen Choi
Hajeen Choi, Florida State University, FL
Hello, my name is Hajeen Choi and I am a doctoral candidate in the Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies program at Florida State University. My research interests include social learning, motivation and engagement in online learning, informal learning, and social media in education. Currently, I am working on the projects such as the feeling of othering in online learning, using social media to foster social engagement in formal learning, and Twitter Conference Backchannel for building PLN and online presence. In regards to teaching, I teach an educational technology course to pre-service teachers and had been working as a teaching assistant for various online courses.
Ömer Arslan
Ömer Arslan, Florida State University, FL
My name is Ömer Arslan and I am a second-year doctoral student in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies program at Florida State University. My interest in online learning began when I was a master’s student in Turkey. I learned about socio-cultural dynamics manifested in learning environments. Currently, I engage in activities that contribute to my personal and professional development inclusive of enrolling in graduate courses, teaching Introduction to Educational Technology, participating in research projects, and research group meetings. I am local to Tallahassee, Florida for more than one year, and spent my spare time walking around lakes, jumping rope, and listening to music.
Dan He
Dan He, Florida State University, FL

My name is Dan He, from Chengdu, China. I’m a first-year doctoral student in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies program at Florida State University. Before my doctoral program, I earned my master’s degree in Foreign and Second Language Education at FSU. My current area of interest includes online students’ collaborations and interactions within multi-cultural groups in higher education and the impact of social media in both formal and informal learning. I’m also drawn to technology-enhanced language learning because of my previous learning and working experience as a Mandarin and English teacher.
Vanessa Dennen
Vanessa Dennen, Florida State University, FL

Session Type
20-Minute Session
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