Living in an (im)material world?: higher education enclosure and digital dispossession

Glover, Hayley; Collins, Hilary and Myers, Fran (2020). Living in an (im)material world?: higher education enclosure and digital dispossession. In: EDUlearn20, 6-7 Jul 2020, online.



The proliferation of digital solutions in higher education has accompanied the raising of fees in exacerbating marketplace developments, with a mainstreaming of digital provision through MOOCs, online equivalencies, and short courses. Digital strategies, in aiming to increase student numbers and retention in cost-effective ways are provoking competitive and mimetic behaviours in higher education institutions; whilst management logics and policy around digital ideas have been operated towards normative aspects of digital, narrowing debate about benefits of differing and complementary approaches for students. This raises important questions about control in general and the obscuration of control in an online environment, (see Andrejevic, 2007). This accompanies changing roles of managers, and the effect upon the staff that inhabit this workspace. This paper considers that certain aspects of higher education teaching in the UK are therefore undergoing a process of digital ‘enclosure’ facilitated by, and in turn, helping to legitimise neoliberalistic outlooks of governance and meritocracy (see Littler, 2013).

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