Pandemic as Catalyst for National Digital Transformation of Higher Education - A Swedish Case Study

Lena Dafgård
Dalarna University

Alastair Creelman
Linnaeus University


The covid-19 emergency presented daunting challenges for all in higher education, in particular teachers and students who were forced to quickly pivot from the familiar setting of the campus to purely online education in a matter of days. Despite the enormity of this challenge the transition was negotiated successfully in terms of online teaching though issues such as social interaction, student isolation and digital divides remained largely unaddressed. In Sweden, the pandemic response has been a wake-up call to address the lack of national coordination of online and blended education as well as the need for more coordinated approaches to professional pedagogical development. This paper outlines the response of several national networks and stakeholder organisations, notably the Network for IT in Higher Education (ITHU), though the forming of a mutual support group on Facebook to coordinating workshops and sharing resources. A survey of ITHU members revealed a number of key focus areas for national coordination as well as the development of a culture of sharing between teaching staff and educational technicians that did not exist before the pandemic.

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