Disrupting the post-pandemic university: an audio experiment

By Milan Stürmer and Mark Carrigan

It has been widely observed that the pandemic led to an enforced digitalisation in higher education. Familiar modes of interaction like meetings, seminars and conferences came to feel strange to most as mediation through video conferencing platforms like Zoom became the norm. Reflection on this phenomenon tends to imply a uniform experience which fails to recognise the range of experiences amongst academic staff during the pandemic. Through an experiment with glitching and medium specific noise we explore the role of audio in the unfolding of these developments. How much does the audio quality actually matter in our capacity and willingness to listen? And is it just a question of technical expertise or are formal considerations — a dialogue or a monologue, short form or long exposé — equally important? Through two monologues and a dialogue this contribution explores how our expectations of digital content are shaped along generational lines and across the digital divide.

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