Author Archives: Ben Williamson

Automating mistrust

Ben Williamson Turnitin can now analyse students’ individual writing styles to tackle ‘contract cheating’. Image by Xavi The acquisition of plagiarism detection company Turnitin for US$1.75 billion, due to be completed later this year, demonstrates how higher education has become … Continue reading

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Learning from surveillance capitalism

Ben Williamson Surveillance capitalism combines data analytics, business strategy, and human behavioural experimentation. Image: “Fraction collector” by proteinbiochemist ‘Surveillance capitalism’ has become a defining concept for the current era of smart machines and Silicon Valley expansionism. With educational institutions and practices increasingly … Continue reading

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Education for the robot economy

Ben Williamson Robotization is driving coding and emotional skills development in education. Image by Saundra Castaneda Automation, coding, data and emotions are the new keywords of contemporary education in an emerging ‘robot economy’. Critical research on education technology and education … Continue reading

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Learning lessons from data controversies

Ben Williamson This is a talk delivered at OEB2018 in Berlin on 7 December 2018, with links to key sources. A video recording is also available (from about 51mins mark) Ten years ago ‘big data’ was going to change everything … Continue reading

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The app store for higher education

Ben Williamson A government competition aims to make choosing a degree as easy as swiping a smartphone. Image by Garry Knight App stores are among the most significant aspects of contemporary cultures. Commercial environments where consumers choose digital products, they … Continue reading

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The mutating metric machinery of higher education

Ben Williamson Higher education increasingly depends on complex data systems to process and visualize performance metrics. Image by Dennis van Zuijlekom Contemporary culture is increasingly defined by metrics. Measures of quantitative assessment, evaluation, performance, and comparison infuse public services, commercial … Continue reading

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The tech elite is making a power-grab for public education

Ben Williamson Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are linking public education into their growing networks of activity and influence. Image by Steve Jurvetson   In the same week that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced a major move into education provision, the FBI issued a … Continue reading

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