Connect or Disconnect: Academic Identity in a Digital Age

Sue Watling
University of Hull, United Kingdom


The 21st century has seen a rapid expansion of digital ways of working. Within higher education, there is an urgent need to ensure students acquire essential digital graduate attributes during their time at university while institutions themselves are moving towards more blended forms of design and delivery. This flexibility is particularly suited for increasingly diverse student cohorts, many of whom are combining part-time and full-time study with work and other commitments. Virtual learning environments which offer 24/7 access to digital resources, at a time, place and device of choice, have the potential to meet the complex demands of 21st century higher education. However, while the field of education technology research includes literature around how students learn as e-learners, there is less knowledge about how academic staff teach as e-teachers. Little is known about how they conceptualise their practice, in particular how they negotiate the processes through which academic identity on the internet is built.

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