Lately, I have been preoccupied with surveillance and this is clear in my network choice. Later this month I am presenting to the education council at my institution about banning surveillance software for student assessments. I have been told that part of doing that effectively requires giving the members information before the meeting and campaigning for my cause. I wanted to use this network assignment to help me navigate the players in this issue.
However, what I have done is created a group analysis rather than a network map. The education council shares what Dron and Anderson explain are group characteristics; shared goals, a purpose and an expectation of a continued relationship outside of this topic (2014, p.93). My “Decision Making Network” is not actually a network at all but a group that is bound by formalized processes and hierarchy that are explicit.
Attempting to rationalize this work, I compared the actors in the map to my twitter network. Twitter is where I post about higher education and perhaps this was an opportunity for members of this group to learn about the problems with surveillance through my Twitter feed. Nobody on my “Decision Making Network” is connected to me on Twitter.
What is worth noting is how my Twitter network has impacted me and my steps to engage the education council group on this topic. That network was how I began to learn about the harm that surveillance can cause, as academic twitter began to engage in conversations with one another about the news of Ian Linkletter, a technologist at UBC being sued by Proctorio. (Chin, Monica. 2020) This resulted in what Dron and Anderson characterize as a burst in the network which I was part of and influenced by (2014, p.131).
What did I learn through this exercise? Certainly the difference between groups and networks was clarified. Also, that a network can suddenly emphasize a topic or issue whereas a group is bound by rigid and less spontaneous information and lastly that a networks’ information can influence groups when those spontaneous burst of information gain traction with the members.
Chin, M. (2020, October 22). An ed-tech specialist spoke out about remote testing software – and now he’s being sued. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/22/21526792/proctorio-online-test-proctoring-lawsuit-universities-students-coronavirus.