Funes, M., & Mackness, J. (2018). When inclusion excludes: a counter narrative of open online education. Learning, Media and Technology, 43(2), 119–138. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2018.1444638
Open education aspires to democratize education, promote inclusion and effect change through social justice. These aspirations are difficult to realize in open, online environments, which enable multiple, and often conflicting, perspectives. This paper proposes a counter-narrative that surfaces certain operational norms of the internet and foregrounds their exclusionary nature. We offer an illustrative inventory of some social media interactional patterns to examine communication used in open online education communities. This examination leads us to conclude that language online is subject to a dialectical tension that both includes and excludes. We conclude that a different language is needed in open online educational environments; one that embraces exclusionary structures and strategic ambiguity, as well as the aspirations to further democratize education via digital means.