Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Ben Williamson asks, "What does this increase in the participation of private platform actors signify for teaching and learning in universities, for the public role of higher education, and for the lives of students?" One thing: intelligent networks, "universities being connected to interoperable cloud and data systems provided by giant infrastructure partners in new public-private partnership configurations." Another: the use of cloud services to offer online courses and MOOCs, which Williamson calls 'cloudsourced education'. These lead, he says, to the 'dataist state', wherein "the state learns from tracing ‘discrete slices of people and things’ as data, and then seeks to intervene to change, ‘nudge’ or optimise their behaviours," an operation that because of its scale requires outsourcing to the private sector. This represents a "ceding of authority" from government and universities to to global private platform and infrastructure providers, he argues.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021 01:29 a.m.