From digital commons to the data-fied urge: Theorising evolving trends in the intersections of digital culture and open education

Giota Alevizou, First Monday, Jun 01, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This paper could be clearer, but the mapping of trends evolving from open education in digital culture is important, as is the warning it contains. The trends are as follows (quoted, my emphasis):
  • not just access to wider availability of resources, but also an element of the processes of continuous improvement from interacting with others in the production of public education goods;
  • a vision of ethics around educational entitlement, wider participation and alternative curricula notions of techno-economic efficiency that put forward neoliberal appropriations of education as public good;
  • a picture where surveillance is glorified in the name of ‘student engagement’ and teaching excellence, collective intelligence, critical reflection and cultural pedagogy are reduced to a datified ‘learning process’.
And the warning is this: "if improvement lies in the adoption of reflective practices, massive courses and analytics that are bound to a teleological view of technology and innovation may also lose whatever potential they might have for linking education to critical thinking, and learning to democratic social change."
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