Going Global 2019

Tertiary Education in the "Post-Truth" Era

(c) CHECK.point eLearning

London (UK) / Berlin (GER), October 2018 - This year, Going Global is investigating how the development of new digital technologies positively or negatively impacts knowledge production within tertiary education. The rise of new digital platforms brings a new way of sharing knowledge. Technology companies that are transmitting and controlling the world's information now have a greater say over how "facts" are consumed.

What does this mean for tertiary education? Historically, international tertiary education held an important position as a global knowledge producer, a developer of high level skills, and a powerful anchor in local and global society.

But ongoing changes to the way information is produced and shared means this may no longer be the case. Gone are the days when knowledge was owned and shared by a tight-knit group of university academics. Now, big companies like Google, Netflix, and Amazon are playing an active role in filtering the information they transmit to the public.

"There was a tacit assumption that if an authoritative educationalist said something, it was likely to be true," explains John Bramwell, Acting Director of Education (Policy) at the British Council. "However, the transmission of facts has become a minor part of the role of education - rather the application and utilisation of knowledge to solve problems has become more important."

The assumption is that this new way of using knowledge is fair and truthful. However, students are faced with the challenge of navigating through huge amounts of information that each has its own version of the "truth". This makes it important for lecturers to support students to find accurate sources.

"Initially here was a sense that Wikipedia provided knowledge that was at least as accurate as the Encyclopaedia Britannica," says John. "But now many universities ban Wikipedia as a reference - forcing students to check peer-reviewed journals."

This raises significant questions about how truthful and accurate facts are and where reliable information can actually be obtained.

Going Global seeks to explore these questions, providing insight into the ways institutions can ensure information is safeguarded and remains authoritative.