Digital Sociologies: How Inequality Shapes our Technologies

How does inequality shape our technologies and affect the landscape of digital sociologies in higher education and online learning? In this keynote, Dr. McMillan Cottom will investigate how technology is transforming humanity and the resulting current and future effects that may have on digital learning. She will share her perspective on how we learn for work in the new economy, her story and experiences as a digital scholar, and collaborative lessons learned from launching a digital sociology master’s degree.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, PhD, is an assistant professor of sociology. She is co-editor of two volumes on technological change, inequality and institutions: “Digital Sociologies” (2016, UK Bristol Policy Press) and “For-Profit Universities: The Shifting Landscape of Marketized Higher Education” (2017, Palgrave MacMillan). Her book “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy” (2017, The New Press) has received national and international acclaim. Tressie serves on dozens of academic and philanthropic boards and publishes widely on issues of inequality, work, higher education and technology. A widely sought after speaker on issues of inequality, higher education, media, technology and culture.

Digital sociologist, professor, writer and columnist

Tressie McMillan Cottom’s research and writing focuses on race, class, gender, education, and technology in the new economy and has been supported by the Microsoft Research Network’s Social Media Collective, the American Educational Research Association, and the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research.

In 2017, Tressie published her book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy in which she has analyzed large data sets, scrutinized financial filings, and interviewed students and staff. The book questions the fundamental narrative of American education policy. Author Carol Anderson calls Lower Ed,  “…brilliant. It is nuanced, carefully argued, and engagingly written.”

Tressie serves on dozens of academic and philanthropic boards and publishes widely on issues of inequality, work, higher education and technology. She worked in enrollment at two for-profit colleges, and after experiencing the kinds of choices students faced, she left the for-profit educational sector to go study it in graduate school. Now she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in race and digital sociology as well as researches structural inequality, schooling, and labor outcomes.

Tressie is a fan of many things but an uber fan of Dolly Parton, fancy coffee, brunch, nineties hip-hop, bacon, and the Delta blues. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.