Welcome to Croatia, and to the 11th Networked Learning Conference

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Parallel Session 4 - Ban Jelačić [clear filter]
Tuesday, May 15

11:15am CEST

Surveillance, (dis)trust and teaching with plagiarism detection technology
Key dimensions of digital education practices are shaped by instrumental goals such as quality, efficiency and transparency. These goalsare often addressed through high-level technology decisions which should be understood in terms of visibility and surveillance. Monitoring technology is deployed for multiple purposes in the contemporary university, in contexts from learning analytics to attendance tracking. This paper is a theoretical exploration of how the technologically-mediated practice of plagiarism detection, in the context of surveillance and distrust, might affect relationships amongst teachers, students and institutions. Drawing on Lyon's (2017) concept of 'surveillanceculture', it examines the types of participation that are enacted in relation to managing studentwriting. It critiques the assumption that automated plagiarism detection is a neutral technology which can be used benevolently (guiding students gently towards'good academic practice'). Instead, it suggests that this technology acts with and on already problematic conditions of digital visibility which are also seen in the wider digital culture beyond the university, and which require critical and thoughtful responses from within the academy. Logics of surveillance are strongly at work in practices which attempt to regulate student behaviour through the exposure of their writing to algorithmic scanning and monitoring. These logics frame students as in need of careful monitoring to ensure learning and teaching runs smoothly, and framing academic writing as a space of dishonesty which is both rampant and solvable through technology. Routines of plagiarism detection intervene negatively in one of the central facets of student-teacher relationships: the production and assessment of student work. Where these relationships become risk-averse and mutually suspicious, trust is blocked or lost and not easily regained. Effective strategies of resistance require finding ways to re-sensitise ourselves and our students to the values we want to prioritise in our classrooms, and offering means by which students can voice their responses to surveillance cultures in higher education; and addressing issues at strategic levels within our institutions and the sector more widely by developing robust mechanisms for engaging in critical debate, discussion about and review of technology platforms and practices.


Tuesday May 15, 2018 11:15am - 11:40am CEST
Ban Jelačić Hotel Dubrovnic, Zagreb
  Parallel Session 4 - Ban Jelačić, Paper
  • Key Words surveillance, trust, plagiarism detection, teaching with technology

11:40am CEST

Whose domain and whose ontology? Preserving human radical reflexivity over the efficiency of automatically generated feedback
There are some forms of feedback in daily life that, though generated and delivered via a machine, we may welcome, because they help us to function with ease. For example, being provided with explicit directional instructions from a Sat Nav can save time and embarrassment from being late. Automatic tills in supermarkets mean we can empty loose change into these to pay for things, and the amount is calculated on our behalf, with change efficiently dispensed. Feedback on our bank balances from cash machines may not always be welcome…, but there are advantages in terms of practicality. In this article we challenge however, the uncritical application of similar algorithmic processes for providing automatically generated feedback for students in Higher Education (HE). We contest this on the basis that the human side of feedback appears to be giving way to the non-human, as e-technologies and their algorithmic affordances are expected to meet the demands that emerge from within a neoliberal framing of contemporary HE. Initially we examine developments of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the e-marking platform Turnitin to question where we might locate a student voice? We point to the way that networked learning intersects across developments in technology and radical pedagogies to support this concern. We then draw on our own relational, and lived, experience which produces feedback that emerges from within an illicit exploration of our own vulnerabilities as academics, as students, and friends, in a demonstration of performing radically reflexive feedback. Finally, we advocate for the creative potential of an autoethnographic research method and exploration of mindfulness practices aligned with teaching and learning journeys. These cannot and should not be reduced to the ‘sat-nav experience’ in terms of feedback. We suggest that, as technology becomes ever more intimately embedded into our everyday lives, generic (but power-laden) maps are incorporated into both student and staff ‘perceived’ space. A radically reflexive form of feedback may not follow a pre-defined route or map, but it does offer a vehicle to restore student voices and critical self-navigation that is absent, but very much needed, in the ongoing shaping of contemporary HE.


Tuesday May 15, 2018 11:40am - 12:05pm CEST
Ban Jelačić Hotel Dubrovnic, Zagreb
  Parallel Session 4 - Ban Jelačić, Paper
  • Key Words Feedback, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Networked Learning, Autoethnography, Human Body