Digitalisation, Assetization and the Future of Value in Higher Education

This seminar on Feb 20th from our external member Janja Komljenovic will be of interest to some of our followers. Find out more and register here:

Higher education is transforming into an industry consisting of diverse, multiple and variegated markets in which universities are both sellers and buyers of products and services. There is also an emergence of new types and forms of partnerships, or long-term cooperation between public universities and private companies. Such partnerships and collaboration are especially relevant in supporting the digitalisation of university operations spanning from distance courses to learning and business analytics, or even smart campuses.

This talk will focus on the intersection of marketisation and digitalisation of universities. I will argue that we cannot separate the education technology and higher education industries, and thus the digitalisation and marketisation of universities. Universities collect unprecedented amounts of personal digital data, which may be used to develop new digital products and services. These have the potential to be monetised in different ways and by different actors, including universities, companies, state agencies, or their combination. The commonality is a business model different from selling a commodity, in which case, there would be a one-off payment for the transfer of ownership rights. I will argue that these digital products and services are better described as assets than commodities. I will address essential differences between commodities and assets in the contemporary digital economy; and will conceptualise emerging digital products and services in higher education. The distinction has significant consequences of how we analyse the evolution of higher education in terms of scholarly work; as well as how we govern the sector in terms of the policy. Implications for universities, students, and societies at large will be presented.