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Reading: Academic Freedom in a Triangle of Threats | ACADEME BLOG


We’re looking at you, d2l. Learning environments threaten and constrained academic free speech.

EdTech aimed at producing a personalized experience for students undercuts the values of core curricula and education as a collective experience.

Correspondingly, education is reduced to content and professors to content deliverers, and students have less opportunity to stretch beyond their own perspectives and acquire awareness of others’ differences. Student data is mined for profit by private industry and various incentives and constraints put pressure on educators to adopt EdTech for the purpose of generating this profit. The schools themselves don’t profit, but the false economy of whiz-bang automated efficiency makes EdTech difficult for most schools to resist.

More on the point,

Dr. Hearn predicts that postsecondary educators will “increasingly be asked to prefigure course content in advance to make it more amenable to datafication and coding.” She concludes by warning that “the current free speech debates provide a familiar distraction from what is, in fact, an unprecedented assault on university autonomy by educational technologies and their proprietary, black-boxed forms of data extraction.”

This has been happening for years, with standardized templates for course descriptions and learning objectives that assist admins and data kids.



beg, borrow, and deal

More on Turnitin: Buying Its Way Onto the Program? :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education’s Source for News, and Views and Jobs.

If you notice more positive discussion of plagiarism-detection software at next year’s meeting, in San Francisco, it might be because is hoping to pay for some instructors to go there. The company sent out an e-mail message this week to professors at colleges that use the popular service, telling them that if they apply to be on a panel at the conference to talk about plagiarism-detection services, the company will consider paying for them to go. The company also asked that instructors send it copies of their proposed papers — but the company didn’t inform the 4C’s (as the association is known), which will be judging proposed topics.

Officials of said that they were just trying to counter what happens at some meetings where you “just hear the negative,” in the words of Katie Povejsil, vice president of marketing for iParadigms, the company that owns

What’s interesting is that Turnitin has discredited any positive review or consideration of their software. But maybe that’s their intent.