Assetisation of higher education's digital disruption

Janja Komljenovic*, Sam Sellar, Kean Birch, Morten Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Edtech entrepreneurs, investors and international consultants have claimed that higher education is inefficient, inaccessible and fails to deliver employable graduates. They often promote the view that universities are broken and in desperate need of digital disruption. The rise of platforms like Uber, Spotify and Airbnb in other sectors is seen as indicative of what is to come in higher education. Instead of disregarding these calls for disruption as discursive tropes, we explore how value is constructed in the imagined digital disruption of higher education. We employ the lens of assetisation to analyse three variants of imagined disruption: disruption 'in', 'of' and 'to' higher education. First, we argue that value is constructed via intra-organisational asset co-creation in order to build efficiencies and personalisated services. Second, value is constructed by delivering service for consumption via assetised public-private partnerships. Third, value is constructed by coordinating new lifelong-learning education marketplaces, which are governed via assetisation. These variants need democratic and sector-specific discussion on digital asset governance to support fair, just and democratic futures for the sector.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Yearbook of Education 2024
Subtitle of host publicationDigitalisation of Education in the Era of Algorithms, Automation and Artificial Intelligence
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781003359722
ISBN (Print)9781032417905
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023


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