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Open Learning Project Themed Projects

​​​​Communication Beyond Polarization

The Open Learning Project's themed project for the 2021-2022 academic year was Communication Beyond Polarization. Research indicates​ that polarization is at an all-time high in the U.S., especially in politics. Over the past few years, both mainstream media and scholarly research have identified many issues that stem from polarization. These issues range from people adopting rigid belief systems to displaying aggressive behavior towards others who disagree with them.

An Open Learning Approach to Polarization

Communication practices can contribute to polarization and The Open Learning Project (OPL) sought to examine this phenomenon through a communication lens. The goal involved investigating how one can change polarizing practices and create a positive impact in communities. OPL worked with DePaul and community partners to create open educational resources, events and other activities related to polarization throughout an academic year. The guiding principles that informed OPL's work included:

  • A recognition that polarization is a social problem that we must address to promote greater social justice in our communities.
  • As a community of students, educators, and professionals, we can create change by promoting greater understanding and having productive conversations.
  • Communication scholars, students and professional practitioners can help bridge the divides that result from polarization.​

Open Education Resources

See these resources to learn more about polarization and communication-based research that addresses the phenomenon.  

Community Partner

Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications partnered with OPL for Communication Beyond Polarization. An award-winning, independently-owned strategic communications firm, Jasculca Terman specializes in public affairs, events and international advance, and digital strategy and engagement. ​