Webinar: The digital:  new wave of privatisation of universities

Friday 24th September 2021, on Zoom
Time: 11am-12pm (British summer time) /. 12h-13h (Central European Time)
Registration (for free) here for Zoom.

The issues as stake: The global power of Edtech
Janja Komljenovic, University of Lancaster

The education sector is fast digitalising all of its operations. A large part is driven by proprietary digital products and services running on digital platforms developed and offered by for-profit companies that form the education technology (edtech) industry. Using a theoretical lens of rentiership and assetisation, I will discuss intermediary functions and business models of various edtech platforms. I will specifically focus on the control, processing and monetisation of digital personal data. I identify five potential transformations that the education sector is undergoing as a consequence of digital rentiership. The study sheds light on new rentee and potential rentier roles of education institutions, nestedness of digital platforms and their terms of use, a rise of contractual governance within the education sector, re-institutionalising the sector, and tensions between competition and monopoly in digital education markets. This analysis is not exhaustive but rather part of an emerging field of study on digital rentiership in higher education.


Promising ways forward: Towards a pedagogical justification for privacy policies
Tore Hoel, Oslo Metropolitan University

For a student, taking part in technology supported learning is not about asset management and digital data value redistribution. The focus is on learning, citizenship, competency building and trying to avoid harm from uncontrollable data-driven practices. Therefore, (student) privacy is not about property control, but maintaining contextual integrity navigating conflicting interest over a vital period of one’s life. This presentation will argue that privacy needs to be understood in a pedagogical context. It outlines key principles that should inform an educational maxim for privacy and data protection in learning analytics and discusses the the responsibilities of  education to prepare students for a new era of data driven and AI supported practices.

Dr Janja Komljenovic is a lecturer at the University of Lancaster. Her research interests broadly concern higher education policy and governance, the political economy of higher education and the digital economy. She is particularly interested in platform capitalism and phenomena like digitalisation, datafication and platformization of universities.

Dr. Tore Hoel is a researcher affiliated to the Oslo Metropolitan University. He started his career in higher education as a director of communication at Oslo University College and worked since on a number of international and European projects in the field of learning technologies. He had been active in international standards communities in this field for more than a decade.

The webinar is part of a webinar series on Alternative conditions for knowledge creation: Invitation to an explorative journey, organised by Dr Eva Hartmann and the Critical Higher Education research group at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Professor Sue Wright of the Centre for Higher Education Futures (Aarhus University). The webinar series explores key issues at stake and possible solutions to address them in a number of areas. The overall idea is to explore the necessary conditions for the creation of alternative knowledge. 

Registration (for free) here for Zoom.
Zoom details will be sent upon registration one day before the event.