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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Conclusions

Annika Zorn, Jeff Haywood and Jean-Michel Glachant

Abstract

The cases discussed in the book illustrate the breadth and depths of opportunities digital strategies offer to the academy: to academics to create supportive networks; to educators to re-design seminars or entire curricula; to departments and centres to transform their education, research and knowledge-sharing strategies; and to universities to manifest their role within the sector. A common thread in the various contributions is how roles (i.e. learners, educators, expert, peers, researcher) as well as boundaries (i.e. what is inside and what outside higher education) have become blurred – and how beneficial this is for advancing the creation and sharing of high-quality, relevant and timely knowledge. It is indeed the typical characteristics of digital practices (being open, accessible, collaborative and timely) that finally outplay the isolated academic of the ivory tower. Digital practices are still far from being mainstream in the higher education sector. How to lead this change? The authors summarize those factors that are thought to be critical, across the various examples discussed in the book, about how to lead digital change. These are: an institutional vision and digital strategy endorsed by top-level management; the importance of ownership of this change by academic and administrative units; room for experimentation and support of digital initiatives that might serve as showcases; debates and the nurturing of a culture of sharing best practices; a team of ‘knowledge workers’ who provide concrete support to academics; and last but not least a skilled team leading people through this change, being responsive and flexible.

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