Universities operate in the global education industry, which consists of diverse, multiple and variegated markets. It is not only characterised by the ‘laws of the market’, but is also infused by the promise of technology. Course delivery via digital platforms, personalised learning with the support of artificial intelligence, real-time metrics such as learning analytics for students or business analytics for managers, and smart university campuses are only a few examples of contemporary digital initiatives in higher education. It is not exaggerating to say that universities are undergoing fundamental transformation with digitalising all of their operations. They collaborate with various private companies to collect and process data, build digital infrastructure, and create digital solutions.
These digital innovations, on the one hand, serve the needs of students, academics and other university actors. But on the other hand, they also present an opportunity for monetisation and future value creation. I argue that such monetisation opportunities brought about by digitalisation are better explained as (future) assets than as commodities; and that the whole dynamic is better understood as capitalisation rather than marketization. This talk will address essential differences between commodities and assets in the contemporary digital economy; and will conceptualise emerging digital products and services in higher education. It will particularly focus on valuation processes in these new higher education markets and the construction of higher education future. Potential implications for universities, students and societies at large will be discussed.
Listen to the seminar here: