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Higher education students' experiences of digital learning and (dis)empowerment

Costa, Cristina; Murphy, Mark; Pereira, Ana Lucia; Taylor, Yvette

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Cristina Costa

Mark Murphy

Ana Lucia Pereira

Yvette Taylor


This paper focuses on learning practices in higher education in relation to a digital participatory culture. Using key principles of critical education, the research set out to explore higher education students' sense of agency online - or lack of it -as part of their formal learning practices. The research found that although students were proficient Web users, they did not exercise their learner agency beyond what they assumed to be expected of them, thus evidencing the stability of their learning habitus in relation to the learning conventions associated with the academic field. Perhaps more surprisingly, however, is students' perception of the Web not only as a space of student participation, but also as a space of student surveillance. Such perceptions constitute real obstacles to meaningful participation as a form learning.


Costa, C., Murphy, M., Pereira, A. L., & Taylor, Y. (2018). Higher education students' experiences of digital learning and (dis)empowerment. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34(3), 140-152.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 30, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 20, 2018
Publication Date Jul 20, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2018
Journal The Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
Print ISSN 1449-3098
Electronic ISSN 1449-5554
Publisher Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 3
Pages 140-152
Keywords digital practices, digital education, empowerment, surveillance, habitus, doxa
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the authors accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here:


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