Surveillance practices, risks and responses in the post pandemic university

Helen Beetham, Amy Collier, Laura Czerniewicz*, Brian Lamb, Yuwei Lin, Jen Ross, Anne-Marie Scott, Anna Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes and critiques how surveillance is situated and evolving in higher education settings, with a focus on the surveillance of teaching and learning. It argues that intensifying practices of datafication and monitoring in universities echo those in broader society, and that the Covid-19 global pandemic has both exacerbated these practices and made them more visible. Surveillance brings risks to learning relationships and academic and work practices, as well as reinforcing economic models of extraction and inequalities in education and society. Responses to surveillance practices include resistance, advocacy, education, regulation and investment, and a number of these responses are examined here. Drawing on scholarship and practice, the paper provides an in-depth overview of this topic for people in university settings including those in leadership positions, learning technology roles, educators and students. The authors are part of an international network of researchers, educators and university leaders who are working together to develop new approaches to surveillance futures for higher education. Authors are based in Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, and this paper reflects those specific contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-37
JournalDigital Culture and Education
Issue number1
Early online date3 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2022


  • privacy
  • surveillance
  • rights
  • datafication
  • higher education
  • equity


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