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Disrupting the dissertation: linked data, enhanced publication and algorithmic cultureThis article explores how the three aspects of Striphas’ notion of algorithmic culture (information, crowds and algorithms) might influence and potentially disrupt established educational practices. We draw on our experience of introducing semantic web and linked data technologies into higher education settings, focussing on extended student writing activities such as dissertations and projects, and drawing in particular on our experiences related to undergraduate archaeology dissertations. The potential for linked data to be incorporated into electronic texts, including academic publications, has already been described, but these accounts have highlighted opportunities to enhance research integrity and interactivity, rather than considering their potential creatively to disrupt existing academic practices. We discuss how the changing relationships between subject content and practices, teachers, learners and wider publics both in this particular algorithmic culture, and more generally, offer new opportunities; but also how the unpredictability of crowds, the variable nature and quality of data, and the often hidden power of algorithms, introduce new pedagogical challenges and opportunities.
Not just about gadgets: habit, innovation and change in the design of learning technologiesWhile elements of Deleuze’s theory, notably the ‘geophilosophical’ concepts of ‘rhizomes’, ‘smoothness’ and ‘striation’ have been applied to educational technologies, his work on time has, to date, been comparatively neglected by educational theorists. This article explores prac- tices and outcomes of educational technology design in terms of Deleuze’s dimensions of time in which habitual practices, trajectories of change and concerns about identities in flux are synthe- sised into a ‘present-becoming’. The article draws on empirical work carried out during a large, funded research project during which teachers, students, technologists and researchers were able to work together for extended periods in order to explore the potential of emerging ‘semantic web’ and ‘linked data’ technologies and approaches in higher educational settings (Ensemble: Semantic Technologies for the Enhancement of Case Based Learning). Doing learning technology design and development in a way informed by ‘Deleuzian’ syntheses of time involves conversations not just about creating a technology-rich educational utopia or constantly specifying new ‘gadgets’, but the troubling of existing pedagogical practices and the multiplication of perspectives and subjectivities. By going beyond notions of ‘feature sets’, ‘use cases’ and ‘affordances’ it provides a richer conceptual framework that helps us understand why some educational technologies are adopted and abandoned, some are creatively appropriated and used in unexpected ways, and others sink without trace. The article concludes with suggestions as to how current conditions in higher education, rather than constraining the development of educational technologies, might provide opportunities for these broader explorations to be initiated.