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Annika Zorn, Jeff Haywood and Jean-Michel Glachant

The introduction discusses how the digital trend that has substantially disrupted other sectors is transforming the higher education sector or even posing a threat to academic institutions’ core business. What could be the rationale for higher education institutions to incorporate a comprehensive digital agenda into their core strategy? Outlining the main developments over the past years in the areas of education, research and knowledge sharing, the authors argue that academic institutions are still far from grasping the full potential of what the digital offers to the academy. Not only does the adoption of online and open practices allow universities to respond to major challenges facing them today, but a digital vision also allows higher education institutions to re-define their role in society. Subsequently, the authors outline how the examples discussed in the book, stemming from a variety of academic contexts, will enrich our understanding of what ‘moving online’ might entail and how to make it work in practice.

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Higher Education in the Digital Age

Moving Academia Online

Edited by Annika Zorn, Jeff Haywood and Jean-Michel Glachant

The European higher education sector is moving online, but to what extent? Are the digital disruptions seen in other sectors of relevance for both academics and management in higher education? How far are we from fully seizing the opportunities that an online transition could offer? This insightful book presents a broad perspective on existing academic practices, and discusses how and where the move online has been successful, and the lessons that can be learned.
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Salla Sissonen

As an afterthought to the chapters in the book, this epilogue plays with the idea of looking to the future by briefly examining what is happening at earlier stages of education today. By understanding some of the objectives of the Finnish national core curriculum 2014 and taking a look at the practices at school, we can imagine the optimal skillsets that a now 12-year-old child will have when they enter higher education in a few years’ time. Optimally, we will be faced with a person with a developed understanding of how they learn best, a creative learner and problem-solver with skills in meaningful use of technology. This chapter argues that it does not mean the efficient future learners will not require teaching; on the contrary, we will continue to need competent pedagogical thinkers to guide the students on their individual paths to lifelong-learning.

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Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Media convergence is often propounded as inevitable and ongoing. Yet much of the governance of the media sector’s key parts has developed along discrete evolutionary paths, mostly incremental in character. This volume breaks new ground through exploring a diverse range of topics at the heart of the media convergence governance debate, such as next generation networks, spectrum, copyright and media subsidies. It shows how reluctance to accommodate non-market based policy solutions creates conflicts and problems resulting in only shallow media convergence thus far.
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Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

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Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

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Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

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Claudia Díaz-Peréz, Brian Wixted and J. Adam Holbrook

This chapter investigates the unique development of Vancouver’s fuel cell cluster, going back to the early 1980s. At that time, important national research and development programmes were launched and local pioneering firms acted as technology change agents. Vancouver developed a leadership position due to favourable living conditions and the importance attached worldwide to fuel cell technology and hydrogen, including considerable funding from the Canadian government and European car manufacturers. However, two conditions started to weaken the pre-commercial cluster, namely, competition from battery-electrical and hybrid vehicles, and a lack of fuelling infrastructure. Once support by the national government dwindled, the Vancouver cluster seemed not able to grow independently and reach maturity. Thus, the attractiveness of local conditions could not overcome basic competition between and among technologies. However, while the cluster is shrinking, car manufacturers are still investing and releasing prototypes, and new local initiatives building on existing leading edge technology are also being undertaken.

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Marloes Dignum

This chapter addresses local initiatives supported by city governments. It introduces urban platform intermediaries (UPIs) as strategic intermediaries enhancing the realization of sustainable energy aims, and it investigates their roles, actions and organizational position. With socio-technical transition as a starting point, a reflective framework to evaluate UPIs is developed, using two contrasting examples in Amsterdam: NewNRG and its spin-off ‘We’re Getting Chickens’ and Amsterdam Smart City and its project City-Zen. Amsterdam has high ambitions with regard to sustainable energy, but which is complicated by the need for degasification of the housing stock. With similar tasks of connecting actors, the initiatives show substantial differences in position. NewNRG has a bottom-up, grassroots character, and attracts mostly newcomers; however, it struggles to attract funding and organizational stability. ‘Established’ Amsterdam Smart City and its incumbent actors have the potential to upscale inventions and make innovations grow, but they are unlikely to initiate radical activities.

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Martina Fromhold-Eisebith and Ulrich Dewald

The focus of this chapter is on socio-technical niches and adoption of photovoltaics (PV) technology, presenting Germany as a case study. By taking a mainly institutional approach and by paying attention to different market segments, the bias in favour of urban areas in sustainability transition studies is avoided. Using eight dimensions, for example topographical nature, building and settlement features, economic structure, socio-economic entrepreneurship and policy agency, it is concluded that both urban and rural areas may enhance PV technology adoption, albeit in different ways. For example, rural areas can act as large-scale providers of ‘greenfield’ installations due to topographical/settlement characteristics. In the segment of civic corporate solar systems, as cooperatives, small-scale opportunities are provided for shareholder funding and local use of solar energy. A third segment, the small-scale roof-mounted systems, with home-owners and local installers as the main actors involved, is found in rural areas, medium-sized cities and in the fringes of larger cities.