‘After Surveillance’ is about imagining and developing trusting alternatives to visibility & surveillance in higher education. We aim to put together series of conversations and virtual exchanges that span the UK, US and Canada (to start with, at least), and so we are currently calling this a ‘transatlantic project’.

Questions to address:

  • What are the trusting digital futures we want to see in higher education?
  • What do institutions that foreground trust look like? What could they look like?
  • How do we begin to develop trust strategies in higher education that account for / work with pedagogical goals and values?

Our starting position (offered for context, analysis, disagreement, amendment and addition):

  • We can surveil students and staff in ever more depth and detail, but this has an inverse relationship to trust. Trust and surveillance are antithetical to one another.
  • It is vitally important to counter the ‘surveillance as care’ rhetoric and other false mechanisms of trust.
  • Staff and students are both subject to distrust in the contemporary university, and the effects of surveillance are  highly problematic for both.
  • Overemphasis on the authentic space of trust as the small, physical classroom, and on massive or mediated courses as inherently untrustworthy, is unhelpful.
  • The intelligent campus, online proctoring, learning analytics, plagiarism detection, and attendance monitoring need to be carefully examined for their effects on trust in the university – and antidotes developed where needed.

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