The production of 'proper cheating' in online examinations within technological universities

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses poststructuralist theories of governmentality, agency, consumption and Barry's (2001) concept of Technological Societies, as a heuristic framework to trace the role of online education technologies in the instantiation of subjectification processes within contemporary Australian universities. This case study of the unintended effects of the adoption and usage of an online educational technology (WebFreedom) for online examinations in an Australian university setting is analysed using poststructuralist theories of governmentality, agency and consumption. The analysis demonstrates how techniques of governing the learning practices of students via online educational technologies intersect with the agentive capacity of students who are relocated as consumers in the higher education marketplace. In particular the paper focuses on the production of unintended localized online examination behaviours resulting in a form of 'subterranean ethics' or cheating in online exams. The results from this case study raise critical questions concerning the ways in which both students and tertiary educators are constituted within neoliberal governmental thought, as well as the ways in which students produce themselves in practice as autonomous agents and educational consumers within tertiary education. Suggestions on the focus of future research in the area are discussed. Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-171
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number2
Early online dateMar 2007
Publication statusPublished - 2007


Kitto, S., & Saltmarsh, S. (2007). The production of 'proper cheating' in online examinations within technological universities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 20(2), 151-171. doi: 10.1080/09518390600923792


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