Publication Details

Dawson, S. (2006). The impact of institutional surveillance technologies on student behaviour. Surveillance and Society, 4 (1/2), 69-84.


Contemporary education institutions are increasingly investing fiscal and human resources to further develop their online infrastructure in order to enhance flexible learning options and the overall student learning experience. Coinciding with the implementation of these technologies has been the centralisation of data and the emergence of online activities that have afforded the capacity for more intimate modes of surveillance by both the institution and education practitioner. This study offers an initial investigation into the impact of such modes of surveillance on student behaviours. Both internal and external students surveyed indicated that their browsing behaviours, the range of topics discussed and the writing style of their contributions made to asynchronous discussion forums are influenced by the degree to which such activities are perceived to be surveyed by both the institution and teaching staff. The analyses deriving from this data are framed within Foucault's works on surveillance and self governance. This paper discusses the implications of this new mode of governance for learning and teaching and suggests areas of further investigations.