Higher Education in the Digital Age
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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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Chapter 5: Leading innovation: digital education in a traditional university

Jeff Haywood


In this chapter I briefly review theories of leadership for innovation in higher education, and then consider in more detail how the University of Edinburgh, as a traditional, comprehensive university with a 400-year history, has applied this thinking to place itself at the forefront of digital education. I shall describe how we worked to maintain excellence in teaching and learning as we introduced fully online courses, and discuss some of the challenges that we faced, as well as the opportunities which this move to digital offered us. As a large, comprehensive university where one-size-fits-all will not work, I shall explore how we learned to balance the diversity of academic needs and approaches within a single strategic framework, and how this flexible approach allowed us to develop progressively a wide portfolio of both blended education on-campus and fully online degrees and MOOCs.

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