Shadow IT / The Politics of Digital Tools in Research and Teaching

Commercial Practices

LocationLipsius Building, Leiden University
  • Aymeric Mansoux
  • Affiliated research project

  • Shadow IT refers to computer and to some extent computer network systems that are used within an organisation, yet have not been deployed by the central IT department of the organisation. Instead, these systems are often made of personal equipment from employees, such as mobile phones or laptop and possibly desktop computers. In universities, shadow IT also extends to systems, hardware or software acquired, sometimes developed, and installed by a department as a way to work around the absence of relevant, or the limitation of, the virtual learning environments of their institution.

    While creating non-trivial situations in terms of security and privacy, in this presentation I am arguing that such shadow IT points however to the inadequacy of the computer tech industry to provide generative and diverse computational environments for teachers and researchers, and present several risks for educational institutions mass deploying these products. If shadow IT certainly encompasses the non regulated use of other equally bad or worse computer tech products, there is also another type of shadow IT that relies on Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), as well as other post-free software and DIY systems, as a means to allow other modes of inquiry and practice-led research in which the importance of computer technology is acknowledged explicitly.

    During this presentation, and the following discussion, Aymeric Mansoux will question whether or not we can talk about other ways of knowing, teaching and researching in the digital realm without questioning the very tools that form such a realm. We will discuss if shadow IT can help us think through this conundrum. The Experimental Publishing master (XPUB), a master in art and design at the Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, will be used as an example of how shadow IT can be used to rethink practice-led research and teaching.

    Talk by Aymeric Mansoux: Shadow IT / The Politics of Digital Tools in Research and Teaching | 21 April 15:00 – 17:00 [RSVP]


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