Governing risks and benefits: Mobile communication technologies in British universities

Anita Howarth, Gemma Martínez Fernández


Mobile communication technologies (MCTs) pose new opportunities and challenges to university governance. Not only are the devices widespread, they have particular capabilities and constantly changing uses which makes any governing of them difficult. Furthermore most devices are individually owned. Thus universities are unable to directly control how they are used but do have a duty of care towards those learning and teaching within their spaces. This article outlines preliminary findings on how some British universities are responding to these challenges by seeking to capitalise on potential pedagogic benefits while limiting privacy risks posed by new patterns of usage. It found that these universities converge in their recognition that students are using or want to use MCTs to capture content in teaching spaces. However they diverge in how they respond, in particular, on what uses are restricted and how competing rights, for instance, disability versus privacy, are negotiated.


mobile devices; MCTs; universities; information-privacy risks

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