The UX University

Emotionally Situating Student Experience in a Post-Protest, Marketized Sector

Authors

  • Tony Sampson

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21153/psj2023vol9no1art1855

Abstract

This article focuses on the critical role emotions, feelings and affect play in situating student experience during a major transition from rebellion against fees to an apparent capitulation to the marketization of the higher education (HE) sector. The discussion begins by shining a light on the “viscerality” of student fees protests in London in 2010. Through imagery and oral histories, the protests appear to comprise of joyful collective and contagious encounters, disobedient optimism, riotous anger, and eventual violence. Yet, following defeat in Parliament, the visceral intensity of rebellion seems to have been exhausted. Indeed, following a summary of the marketization of the HE sector, the second part of the article introduces the concept of the UX University. As follows, for many universities struggling to survive in an overly competitive marketplace for student numbers, UX is supposed to provide an edge. UX principles have therefore been incorporated throughout the student experience journey, including the tracking of emotional touchpoints that inform managerial metrics and enable the convergence of learning experiences, market design, and employee performance. In short, the UX university is significantly shaped by the emotional branding of student experience.
Drawing on the work of Neetu Khanna (2020), the article concludes by defining the shift away from the viscerality of rebellion toward a digitally enhanced fattening of felt affect, as an “evisceration” of the student (user) experience. 

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

ANDERSON, B. 2009, ‘Affective Atmospheres’, Emotion, Space and Society, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 77-81.

BARBOUR, K., MARSHALL, P. D., & MOORE, C. 2014, Persona to Persona Studies, M/C journal, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 1-6.

BERLANT, L. 2011, Cruel Optimism, Duke University Press, Durham.

— 2012, ‘On Her book Cruel Optimism’, Cover Interview of Rorotoko, June 5, accessed 19/07/23:

https://rorotoko.com/interview/20120605_berlant_lauren_on_cruel_optimism/

CANNIZZO, F., & JAMES, S. 2020, ‘Existential Advertising in Late Modernity: Meaningful Work in Higher Education Advertisements’, Journal of Sociology, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 314–332.

CAREY, P. 2013, ‘Student as Co-producer in a Marketised Higher Education System: A Case Study of Students’ Experience of Participation in Curriculum Design’, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 250-260.

CHAMBERLAIN, L., & BRODERICK, A. J. 2007, ‘The Application of Physiological Observation Methods to Emotion Research", Qualitative Market Research, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 199-216.

DAMASIO, A. R. 1994, Descartes’ Error; Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.

DURKIN, M., MCKENNA, S., & CUMMINS, D. 2012, ‘Emotional connections in higher education marketing’, International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 153-161.

EKMAN, P., ROPER G., & HAGER, J. C. 1980, ‘Deliberate Facial Movement’, Child Development, vol. 51, pp. 886-891.

ELKEN, M. 2019, ‘Marketing in Higher Education’, Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions, Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 1-5.

ELLUCIAN. 2018, ‘What is UX Design and How Does it Benefit Higher Ed?’, company blog post 29th May, accessed 19/07/23: https://www.ellucian.com/blog/student-userexperience-higher-education

EON REALITY WEBSITE. 2021, ‘University of East London and EON Reality Launch EON-XR Center’, September 30, accessed 19/07/23: https://eonreality.com/university-eastlondon-eon-xr-center/

FARHAT, K., MOKHTAR S. S. M., & SALLEH S BT. MD. 2021, ‘Role of Brand Experience and Brand Affect in Creating Brand Engagement: A Case of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)’, Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 107-135.

FISHER, M. 2009, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, Zero Books, Winchester.

FRENZEL, F., FEIGENBAUM, A., & MCCURDY, P. 2014, ‘Protest Camps: An Emerging Field of Social Movement Research’, The Sociological Review, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 457–474.

GIBBS, P. 2018, ‘Higher Education Marketing: Does Inducing Anxiety Facilitate Critical Thinking or More Consumerism?’, Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 1-11.

GIDDENS, A. 1991, Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Polity, Cambridge.

GILL, C. 2010, ‘Hijacking of a Very Middle Class Protest: Anarchists Cause Chaos as 50,000 Students Take to Streets over Fees’, The Daily Mail, 11 November, accessed 19/07/2023: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1328385/TUITION-FEES-PROTESTAnarchists-

cause-chaos-50k-students-streets.html

GOBÉ, M. 2010, Emotional branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People, Simon and Schuster, London.

GOFFMAN, E. 1959, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Anchor Books, New York.

HAMES, M. 2022 ‘Why Higher Ed Needs Emotion in Marketing’, posted on LinkedIn, 18th July, accessed 19/07/23: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-higher-ed-needs-emotionmarketing-matt-hames/

HANCOX, D. 2020, ‘The 2010 Student Protests Were Vilified – But Their Warnings of Austerity Britain Were Proved Right” The Guardian, November 12th, accessed 19/07/2023:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/12/2010-student-protestsausterity-britain

HANSEN, D. R., & MELLON, K. 2022, ‘The Tyranny of Student Satisfaction: Cruel Optimistic Fantasies in Education. Power and Education, vol. 14. No. 2, pp. 172–185.

HAYLES, N. K., & SAMPSON, T. D. 2018. ‘Unthought Meets the Assemblage Brain: A Dialogue Between N. Katherine Hayles and Tony D. Sampson’, Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 60-84.

HAYLES, N. K. 2017, Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Unconscious, University of Chicago, Chicago.

HICKMAN, S. 2019. ‘Modern Philosophies and School Voucher Programs’, The Kabod, vol. 5, no. 2, article 6. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/kabod/vol5/iss2/6

JASPER, J. M. 1998, ‘The Emotions of Protest: Affective and Reactive Emotions in and around Social Movements’, Sociological Forum, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 397-424.

KARPPI, T., & CRAWFORD, K. 2015, ‘Social Media, Financial Algorithms, and the Hack Crash’, Theory Culture and Society, vol. 33, pp. 73-92.

KHANNA, M., JACOB, I., & YADAV, N. 2014, ‘Identifying and Analyzing Touchpoints for Building a Higher Education Brand’, Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 122-143.

KHANNA, N. 2020, The Visceral Logics of Decolonization, Duke University Press, Durham.

LE BON, G. 1895, trans. 1947. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, Ernest Benn, London.

LOMAS, L. 2007, ‘Are Students Customers? Perceptions of Academic Staff’, Quality in Higher Education, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 31-44.

MARSHALL, P. D., & BARBOUR, K. 2015, ‘Making Intellectual Room for Persona Studies: a New Consciousness and a Shifted Perspective’, Persona Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-12.

MASSUMI, B. 1995, ‘The Autonomy of Affect’, Cultural Critique, The Politics of Systems and Environments, Part II, no. 31, pp. 83-109.

MYERS, M. 2017, Student Revolt: Voices of the Austerity Generation; Voices of the Austerity Generation, Pluto, London.

NG, C.J.W. 2016, ‘Hottest Brand, Coolest Pedagogy’: Approaches to Corporate Branding in Singapore's Higher Education Sector, Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 41-63.

NIELSEN, L. 2018, ‘Design Personas: New Ways, New Contexts’, Personas Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 1-4.

O'CONNOR, M. 2020, ‘Higher Education Needs a User Experience Overhaul: Amazon’s and Netflix’s Obsessive Focus on Using Customer Data to Improve User Experience has Valuable Lessons for Universities’, Time Higher Education, August 30, accessed

/07/23: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/higher-education-needs-userexperience- overhaul

ORTIZ-VILARELLE, L. 2022, ‘Assembling Academic Persona and Personhood in a Digital World’, Persona Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 9-12.

PALFREYMAN, D., & TAPPER, T. 2016, ‘The Marketization of English Higher Education and the Financing of Tuition Fees’, London Review of Education, vol. 14, no. 1, pp, 47-55.

PINE, J., & GILMORE, J. 1998, ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 76, no. 4, pp. 97–105.

PORTER, A. 2010, ‘An Inspiring Student Protest That We Won't Let the Violent Undermine’, The Guardian, November 11th, accessed 19/07/2023: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/nov/11/student-protestviolence-political-message

RENK, R. 2018 ‘The UX Gap in Higher Education’, Medium blog post, 15th November, accessed 19/07/23: https://rachaelrenk1.medium.com/the-ux-gap-in-higher-education-8f0d4285e8f3

ROGERS, Y., & ELLIS, J. 1994, ‘Distributed Cognition: An Alternative Framework for Analysing and Explaining Collaborative Working’, Journal of Information Technology, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 119-128.

SAMPSON, T. D. 2012, Virality: Contagion Theory at The Age of Networks, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

— 2017, The Assemblage Brain. Sense Making in Neuroculture, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

—. 2020, A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media, Polity, Cambridge.

— 2020b, ‘Spatiotemporal Zones of Neosomnambulism’, Media Theory, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 189-214.

SHOUSE, E. 2005, ‘Feeling, Emotion, Affect’, M/C Journal, vol. 8, no. 6.

THOMPSON, E.P. 1960, ‘At the Point of Decay’, introductory chapter in E P Thompson (ed), Out of Apathy, Stevens and Sons, London, pp. 3-18.

TVEDERBRINK, T., & JELIĆ, A. 2018, ‘Getting Under The(Ir) Skin: Applying Personas and Scenarios with Body-Environment Research for Improved Understanding Of Users Perspective In Architectural Design’, Persona Studies, vol. 4, no. 25, pp. 5-24.

VOGLER, G. 2021, ‘Bridging the Gap Between Affect and Reason: On Thinking-feeling in Politics’, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 259-276.

WEBB, J. 2004, ‘Organizations, Self-Identities and the New Economy’, Sociology, vol. 38. No. 4, pp. 719–738.

Downloads

Published

2023-12-19

How to Cite

Sampson, T. (2023). The UX University: Emotionally Situating Student Experience in a Post-Protest, Marketized Sector. Persona Studies, 9(1), 17–35. https://doi.org/10.21153/psj2023vol9no1art1855