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.
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