by Janja Komljenovic, Katy Jordan, and Jeremy Knox (SRHE DU Network Co-Convenors)
From 2023, the Digital University (DU) network is launching a new strategy to connect its members, collaborators, and friends. We hope this new way of working will motivate and stimulate debates around everything digital in higher education.
We will organise the network’s work and events along three themes each year, chosen to reflect key issues in research and teaching currently. Each will last about four months, but sometimes activities arising from the different themes will overlap. DU convenors will organise a launching event for each theme. We invite our members, friends, and anyone interested to propose sessions, seminars, webinars, workshops, etc, for any of the three themes. We will try to organise these events in the timeframe of the particular theme. The DU network will, therefore, act as a platform for anyone to contribute to discussions about digital higher education.
In 2023, the DU network will focus on the following themes:
Post-digital university (January to April) – please contact Jeremy Knox (email@example.com)
This theme invites discussion of the concept of the postdigital in higher education, where the term refers to a broad rethinking of assumed distinctions between technology and society, and a blurring of boundaries between the human and the digital, the informational and the biological. The postdigital engages specifically with our current state of technological development, where digital technologies appear to be both ubiquitous, but also increasingly invisible, as they sink down into the mundane activities of everyday (educational) life. This theme encourages discussion of what these new postdigital relationships mean for practice and research in higher education.
The webinar planned for this theme (Spring 2023, date to be confirmed) will be the launch of two new books in the Postdigital Science and Education book series: Postdigital Ecopedagogies: Genealogies, Contradictions, and Possible Futures and Bioinformational Philosophy and Postdigital Knowledge Ecologies. During the session, the four authors – Petar Jandrić, Michael Peters, Sarah Hayes, and Derek Ford – will present a brief overview of the projects, before inviting responses from an invited panel: Alex Means, Amy Sojot, Greg Misiaszek, Christine Sinclair, and Lesley Gourlay. This session will then open to discussion with the audience.
Social media in higher education (May to August) – please contact Katy Jordan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are hoping to hold an in-person event on the theme of social media in higher education in the summer (date to be confirmed). This will be convened by Katy Jordan, in collaboration with Mark Carrigan. We welcome suggestions for presentations and discussion topics – we are particularly interested in the following topics as a starting point, but very much open to other ideas too, so please do get in touch if you are interested.
- The role of algorithms in mediating scholarly communication
- Social media and research impact
- The academic social media ecosystem – post-Twitter
The political economy of EdTech (September to December) – please contact Janja Komljenovic (email@example.com)
This theme is inviting discussion around interests, power relations and institutions that structure EdTech. The theme is quite broad. A few indicative interests are the following:
- Techno-scientific and techno-political future imaginaries of digital higher education
- The role of different actors in digitalising universities: edtech companies, financial investors, and policy entrepreneurs
- Governing higher education with digital data versus governance of digital data in higher education
- What are digital assets in higher education and why they matter
- Who controls and uses user data collected at universities, what are the impacts?
The two webinars planned in this theme are:
- 21 September 2023: Universities and unicorns – new forms of value in digital higher education with Janja Komljenovic, Sam Sellar, Morten Hansen, and Ben Williamson
This free event is open for booking, please click here to find our more and register.
- 9 November 2023: EdTech futures with Rebecca Eynon, Klint Kanopka, Kathryn Moeller and Neil Selwyn (convened by Janja Komljenovic)
This free event is open for booking: please click here to find out more and register .
If you would like to propose an event or a speaker for any of the themes, please feel free to contact the named network convenor as indicated above. We hope to hear from you.
In future, we will announce the themes for next year at the SRHE Annual Conference in December, at the DU network meeting. We will continue to stay in touch about DU network activity (including the dates for upcoming events as they are confirmed) via SRHE mailings.
Janja Komljenovic is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Higher Education Research and Evaluation at Lancaster University in the UK. She is also a Research Management Committee member of the Global Centre for Higher Education, with headquarters at the University of Oxford. Janja’s research focuses on the political economy of knowledge production and higher education markets. She is especially interested in the relationship between the digital economy and the higher education sector; and in digitalisation, datafication and platformisation of knowledge production and dissemination. Janja is published internationally on higher education policy, markets and education technology.
Katy Jordan is a Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, UK. Her research interests broadly sit at the intersection of educational research, educational technology and internet studies, and she has published research on a range of topics, including social media in higher education, massive open online courses, and gender equity through educational technology.
Jeremy Knox is Senior Lecturer and Co-director of the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include the relationships between education, data-driven technologies and wider society, and he has led projects funded by the ESRC and the British Council in the UK. Jeremy’s published work includes Posthumanism and the MOOC (2016), Artificial Intelligence and Inclusive Education (2019), The Manifesto for Teaching Online (2020), Data Justice and the Right to the City (2022), and AI and Education in China (2023).