Secret Codes: The Hidden Curriculum of Semantic Web Technologies


Edwards R & Carmichael P (2012) Secret Codes: The Hidden Curriculum of Semantic Web Technologies. Discourse, 33 (4), pp. 575-590.

There is a long tradition in education of examination of the hidden curriculum, those elements which are implicit or tacit to the formal goals of education. This article draws upon that tradition to open up for investigation the hidden curriculum and assumptions about students and knowledge that are embedded in the coding undertaken to facilitate learning through information technologies, and emerging ‘semantic technologies’ in particular. Drawing upon an empirical study of case-based pedagogy in higher education, we examine the ways in which code becomes an actor in both enabling and constraining knowledge, reasoning, representation and students. The article argues that how this occurs, and to what effect, is largely left unexamined and becomes part of the hidden curriculum of electronically mediated learning that can be more explicitly examined by positioning technologies in general, and code in particular, as actors rather than tools. This points to a significant research agenda in technology enhanced learning.

semantic technologies; hidden curriculum; code; case-based learning; higher education; Educational innovations; Semantic networks (Information theory)

Discourse: Volume 33, Issue 4

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/10/2012
Publication date online19/06/2012
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)