The expansion of higher education across the broader Australian population has led to a more diverse student population than ever before. While research in the Australian context has focussed on support for some traditionally underrepresented students in a face-to-face learning context, how to enhance participation and success of these groups in online education has remained relatively unexplored. This paper presents the rationale and approach of a study investigating the challenges of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in online higher education (i.e. low SES, first in family, indigenous, disability, mature age, primary caregivers, remote and regional students, international, English as a second language), and approaches that can enhance the learning experience for these students. As a work in progress the research will draw on student and staff perspectives to develop and disseminate principles and practices for effective, socially inclusive online teaching.