Institute of Education


Digital higher education markets: from commodities to assets

19 December 2019, 12:30 pm–2:00 pm

Woman's hands typing on a laptop

In this seminar, Dr Janja Komljenovic discusses the valuation processes in new digitalised higher education markets.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Helena Moxon


Room 604
UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
20 Bedford Way

Universities operate in the global education industry, which consists of diverse, multiple and variegated markets. It is not only characterised by the ‘laws of the market’, but is also infused by the promise of technology. Examples of contemporary digital initiatives in higher education include:

  • Course delivery via digital platforms
  • Personalised learning with the support of artificial intelligence
  • Real-time metrics (e.g. learning analytics for students or business analytics for managers)
  • Smart university campuses

Universities are undergoing a fundamental transformation by digitalising all their operations. They also collaborate with various private companies to collect and process data, build digital infrastructure, and create digital solutions.

On the one hand, these digital innovations serve the needs of students, academics and other university actors. But on the other, they also present an opportunity for monetisation and future value creation.

Dr Janja Komljenovic argues that such monetisation opportunities brought about by digitalisation are better explained as (future) assets than as commodities; and that the whole dynamic is better understood as capitalisation rather than marketisation. This talk will address essential differences between commodities and assets in the contemporary digital economy and will conceptualise emerging digital products and services in higher education. Potential implications for universities, students and societies at large will be discussed too.


About the Speaker

Dr Janja Komljenovic

Lecturer of Higher Education at Lancaster University

Dr Komljenovic is interested in the diversity and complexity of markets in and around universities, including the variety of actors that have entered the sector, their strategies, ways of working, and consequences for higher education and societies at large.

Most recently, she was engaged in studying the relation between the digital economy and higher education and how they might affect each other. She has published internationally on higher education policy, governance, and markets, and teaches PhD courses on higher education policy and research methodology.