Permission, Openness, and Net Neutrality: a #digped Discussion

Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?

As the Federal Communications Commission threatens to change the nature of the open internet, those of us who have relied on that openness are battening down the hatches, preparing for the worst case scenario: the end of the internet as we’ve known it and used it since it came wailing into the world.

Open access is a decidedly activist proposition, and always has been. On an open web, we can create, broadcast, share, communicate — all without anyone’s permission. The openness of the internet has allowed people of color, LGBTQ folk, and people of every demographic to gather, to communicate, to surge forward in important, democratic ways that the increasing corporatization of the internet will threaten. Every writer, artist, activist, student, and teacher should be concerned about ‪net neutrality.

Hybrid Pedagogy is founded on the paradigm of the open web, and our principles have grown directly out of what is possible on the internet. In our recent article, “Hybrid Pedagogy, Digital Humanities, and the Future of Academic Publishing,” we write, “What stirs at the foundation of Hybrid Pedagogy is a desire to find in digital scholarship something fundamentally humane.” Net neutrality is a civil rights issue, a cultural standard, and the key to further exploration of digital pedagogy and digital humanities. No digital project, archive, platform, tool, journal, or community is immune.

In “Why #NetNeutrality Matters to Higher Ed,” Adeline Koh and Siobhan Senier offer important implications of the loss of net neutrality:

1. All non-profit content will compete with commercial content on the Internet.
2. The systematic overrepresentation of corporate interests on the Internet.
3. You might have to pay a premium to publish your research on a commercial platform.
4. The erasure of digital activism and citizen empowerment.
5. Already-existing inequities will be worsened.

Since boycotting the internet doesn’t seem like a very effective way to combat the imminent public beheading of net neutrality, Hybrid Pedagogy will be hosting a loud and proud (and a little bit outraged) #digped chat this Friday, May 2 at 12:00 PM Eastern time. Our goal is to discuss how the erosion of net neutrality affects us as educators, how it affects students, research, teaching, and how it could change the way we work on the web.

For our discussion, we’ll focus on questions about net neutrality that consider the larger implications — the politics of intellectual and scholarly freedom, of creativity and innovation — for educators and learners. Prior to the chat, we encourage you to read up on the issue, and to check out this extensive resource of links — which offers a view of the history of the issue, videos, petitions, and more. And then bring your questions. Bring your concerns. And bring your outrage. Even if it’s too late, we shouldn’t let ‪net neutrality‬ go quietly. With its dying breath, the net should loudly say “NO.”

We want everyone there, even if all you do is listen. Listening is activism. The roar cannot be deafening if there’s no one to hear.

Enter the fray on Twitter under #digped on Friday, May 2 at 12:00pm EDT. Check out to see when to join us in your time zone. If you have suggestions for future topics, tweet them to @slamteacher or @hybridped. And continue the discussion in the comments.

Follow up

To help advocate for Net Neutrality, and steer clear of companies and institutions that support its destruction, we’d like to populate two crowdsourced Google docs. If you know of companies that support #NetNeutrality or #NetNonNeutral, please add them (with a link to evidence, if available) to the following public documents:

The Twitter chat is Storified, but we invite you to continue the discussion in the comments below.

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