Governing with Data

This week I tried to think from a policymaking perspective and how governance influences datafication and datafication influences governance in return. Governance can influence datafication by encouraging students to use various platforms. Information collected in these platforms can be used to make decisions. Governance often uses data to increase performativity. However, it increases accountability, as well (Williamson, 2017).

I received many cookies. Some of the websites I used because I was encouraged by my education provider. Data visualisation was simplified. It is one of the key goals of data visualizations (Williamson, 2017).

  1. Institutions can increase performativity by collaborating with other platforms and receiving data about their students. Data can not make a good policy in itself, but it can help make a more informed decision (Williamson, 2017). Profit is often seen as one of the key drivers in educational improvement.
  2. If data would provide data for institutions, it would also result in higher accountability.

Nowaday’s educational governance is shifting from a qualitative approach to a quantitative one (Williamson, 2017). Governance becomes more probabilistic. Third-party platforms can provide accurate information about users, ‘constant auditing of behaviour’ is undertaken. For instance, Coursera can provide real-time information about a users device, traffic sources, movement on the site, location (can be accurate within 2 meters). This way, ‘fast policies’ can be implemented (Williamson, 2017). Big data can mean massive participation in policymaking.

Larger data collection often results in higher accountability (Anagnostopoulos et al., 2013). Educational institutions need to present themselves in an ‘intimate account’. It can discourage some organizations from implementing data-driven strategies.

Therefore, organizations can encourage students to use various resources, and this way, collect various data. However, it would result in high accountability. Also, would it really be ethical?


Anagnostopoulos, D., Rutledge, S.A. & Jacobsen, R. (2013). Introduction: Mapping the Information Infrastructure of Accountability. In, Anagnostopoulos, D., Rutledge, S.A. & Jacobsen, R. (Eds.) The Infrastructure of Accountability: Data use and the transformation of American education.

Williamson, B. (2017). Digital education governance: Political analytics, performativity and accountability. In Big Data in Education: The digital future of learning, policy and practice. 55 City Road: SAGE Publications Ltd, p. 65.

2 replies on “Governing with Data”

Really good reflection here on the governance theme, with some excellent links to the core course literature. The relationship between performativity and accountability is an important one, which you emphasise well here.

Remember to also balance this wider reflection with more direct explanation of your visualisation – it would be been good to see more of your rationale for collecting and representing the cookie data in the way you have here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *