Surveillance culture and its impact on relationships in higher education - Dr Jen Ross (Education):
From James Stewart on April 1st, 2020
In higher education, instrumental goals such as quality and efficiency are often addressed through high-level technology decisions which need to be understood in terms of visibility and surveillance. This talk considers technologically-mediated practices of plagiarism detection and engagement monitoring in the context of surveillance and distrust. Logics of surveillance are at work in practices which attempt to regulate student behaviour through subjecting bodies, as well as writing and other online activities, to algorithmic scanning and monitoring. These logics frame students as in need of careful monitoring to ensure learning and teaching runs smoothly, and they have an impact on relationships among teachers, students and institutions. Drawing on Lyon's concept of 'surveillance culture' (2017), I’ll discuss how teachers, students and university leaders participate in, respond to, resist and rework their own and others’ surveillance. Critiquing the idea that monitoring technologies can be used benevolently (for example, by guiding students gently towards 'good academic practice', or by helping teachers to watch over their students), I’ll suggest that these technologies act with and on already problematic conditions of digital visibility in the university.