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Digitalisation, Assetization and the Future of Value in Higher Education

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School of Management Executive Suite

The Edge, First Floor

University of Bath

Bath

BA2 7AY

United Kingdom

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Higher education is transforming into an industry consisting of diverse, multiple and variegated markets in which universities are both sellers and buyers of products and services. There is also an emergence of new types and forms of partnerships, or long-term cooperation between public universities and private companies. Such partnerships and collaboration are especially relevant in supporting the digitalisation of university operations spanning from distance courses to learning and business analytics, or even smart campuses.

This talk will focus on the intersection of marketisation and digitalisation of universities. I will argue that we cannot separate the education technology and higher education industries, and thus the digitalisation and marketisation of universities. Universities collect unprecedented amounts of personal digital data, which may be used to develop new digital products and services. These have the potential to be monetised in different ways and by different actors, including universities, companies, state agencies, or their combination. The commonality is a business model different from selling a commodity, in which case, there would be a one-off payment for the transfer of ownership rights. I will argue that these digital products and services are better described as assets than commodities. I will address essential differences between commodities and assets in the contemporary digital economy; and will conceptualise emerging digital products and services in higher education. The distinction has significant consequences of how we analyse the evolution of higher education in terms of scholarly work; as well as how we govern the sector in terms of the policy. Implications for universities, students, and societies at large will be presented.


Dr Janja Komljenovic is the Director of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation and Director of the Doctoral Programme in Educational Research and Lecturer in Higher Education at the University of Lancaster. She is interested in the diversity and complexity of markets in and around universities, including the variety of actors that have entered the sector, their strategies, ways of working, and consequences for higher education and societies at large. She is especially focusing on the relation between the digital economy and higher education and how these might affect each other. She has published internationally on higher education policy, governance, and markets. She teaches PhD courses on higher education policy and research methodology.

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School of Management Executive Suite

The Edge, First Floor

University of Bath

Bath

BA2 7AY

United Kingdom

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