Audit Culture and Online Education: Databases and Base Data

Dan Steward, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Long-standing concerns in social theory about standardization, calculability, rationalization, surveillance, accountability and discipline provide important frameworks for the contemporary discourse concerning an "audit culture" in the university. This critique of academic organization and experience is applicable and important over the historical course of the modern university, but it becomes especially significant as we move into an increasingly online and digital educational environment. The very databases (and related technologies) that promise enhanced customization and personalization are vulnerable to manipulation by social forces of commodification and homogenization that are at odds with heutagogical (or even pedagogical) pursuits. This paper is a preliminary exploration and application of the critique of audit culture to the emergent environment of education online.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 9. Data in Education: Assessment, Measurement, and Accounting