“From the classroom to the cloud”: Zoom and the platformization of higher education


  • Justin Grandinetti University of North Carolina Charlotte




platforms, surveillance, crisis, covid-19, big data


Videoconferencing platforms like Zoom have been essential to U.S. colleges and universities in migrating from in-person and hybrid classrooms to fully online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The synchronous connection of cloud-based streaming allows some daily activities of higher-ed to continue; yet, Zoom has faced criticism for surveillance and data extraction, privacy and security issues, platform control of content, and as contributing to infrastructural divides. Drawing from critical media studies and surveillance studies approaches, I examine the issues of videoconferencing platforms like Zoom as compositions of platform, infrastructural, and capitalist surveillance. Despite the oft-promoted benefits of these platforms, critical attention must be paid to the highly problematic inherent surveillant dimensions of partnerships between higher-ed and big tech to ensure the protection of students, employees, and faculty. Specifically, the rapid adoption of Zoom exemplifies the dangers of surveillant platform infrastructure, as well as how technological “solutions” gain traction in moments of crisis.




How to Cite

Grandinetti, J. (2022). “From the classroom to the cloud”: Zoom and the platformization of higher education. First Monday, 27(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v27i2.11655