Beetham et al. (2022) Surveillance Practices, Risks and Responses in the Post Pandemic University

Written by:
Helen Beetham, University of Wolverhampton
Amy Collier, Middlebury College
Laura Czerniewicz, University of Cape Town
Brian Lamb, Thompson Rivers University
Yuwei Lin, University of Roehampton
Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh
Anne-Marie Scott, Athabasca University
Anna Wilson, University of Stirling

Abstract: This paper describes and critiques how surveillance is situated and evolving in higher education settings, with a focus on the surveillance of teaching and learning. It argues that intensifying practices of datafication and monitoring in universities echo those in broader society, and that the Covid-19 global pandemic has both exacerbated these practices and made them more visible. Surveillance brings risks to learning relationships, academic and work practices, as well as reinforcing economic models of extraction and inequalities in education and society. Responses to surveillance practices include resistance, advocacy, education, regulation and investment, and a number of these responses are examined here. Drawing on scholarship and practice, the paper provides an in-depth overview of this topic for people in university settings including those in leadership positions, learning technology roles, educators and students. The authors are part of an international network of researchers, educators and university leaders who are working together to develop new approaches to surveillance futures for higher education: https://aftersurveillance.net/. Authors are based in Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, and this paper reflects those specific contexts.