‘You need a system’ : Exploring the role of data in the administration of university students and courses

Journal article


Selwyn, Neil, Henderson, Michael and Chao, Shu-Hua. (2018). ‘You need a system’ : Exploring the role of data in the administration of university students and courses. Journal of Further and Higher Education. 42(1), pp. 46-56. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2016.1206852
AuthorsSelwyn, Neil, Henderson, Michael and Chao, Shu-Hua
Abstract

Universities generate a mass of data related to students and the courses that they study. As such, ‘data work’ using digital technologies and digital systems is integral to educational administration within higher education. Drawing on in-depth interviews with administrative and managerial staff in an Australian university, this article examines the data practices and processes that have grown up around students and courses. In particular, the article explores the ‘back-stage’ issues surrounding data – e.g. concerns and tensions associated with appropriate uses of data; the organisational cultures that form around the use of data; and the (un)intended consequences of data work. These findings point towards an implicit ‘black-boxing’ of data that shapes the generation and use of digital data in ways that are predominantly restricted and bounded. The article concludes by considering how these constrained forms of data use might be problematised and reconsidered.

Keywordsdata; digital; university; systems; administration; administrators
Year2018
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Journal citation42 (1), pp. 46-56
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN0309-877X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2016.1206852
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84980411215
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range46-56
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Aug 2016
Publication process dates
Accepted23 Jan 2016
Deposited27 Oct 2021
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