Constructing the Digital University – Open, Collaborative Models for Strategic Pedagogic and Technical Change

Sheila MacNeill
Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom

Keith Smyth
University of the Highlands and Islands, United Kingdom

Bill Johnston
University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom


The notion of the Digital University has gained traction in the last few years as a key topic in the discourse of organisational and educational development in Higher Education around the world, and as a focus for academic research in areas including learning literacies, teaching practice, and technological developments (e.g. McCluskey & Winter, 2012; Goodfellow & Lea, 2013; Selwyn, 2014). We felt that exploration of this overarching term offered the potential to act as a catalyst for fundamental change throughout an institution from administration to teaching and learning. Our starting point in 2011 was trying to provide answer to ‘what do we mean by the Digital University?’ We challenged the assumption that this was a largely trouble free concept driven by technological innovation and infrastructure developments, which could be managed through existing institutional structures. Emerging narratives included an overly techno- centric view that technology alone constituted an environment that could be nominated as “digital”. We felt a need to acknowledge the human and social processes involved and proposed that a truly digital university can only be fully realised where there is a fusion between technology and staff/student developments driving innovation and creativity.

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