The Digital University: An Impoverished Concept

  • Bill Johnston
  • Sheila MacNeill
  • Keith Smyth
Part of the Digital Education and Learning book series (DEAL)


This chapter examines a number of key commentators on the concept of the digital university and identifies the contradictory nature of the debate. The commentaries are sourced from government policies, scholarly analyses, management consultants and think tanks, and university mission statements. A pattern of partial and competing viewpoints emerges including positive and negative positions, practical proposals for implementing digital technologies, and critical analysis of the prospects for digital technologies in universities. An overall estimate of the state of debate suggests that current thinking is (i) disproportionally skewed in favour of neoliberal, managerialist, and technist perspectives and (ii) underdeveloped in the realms of pedagogical theory and organisational development practice. This estimate leads to the conclusion that the current account presents an impoverished concept of the digital university. Specific points from the commentary are deployed in later chapters.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Johnston
    • 1
  • Sheila MacNeill
    • 2
  • Keith Smyth
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Psychological Science and HealthUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Academic Quality and DevelopmentGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Learning and Teaching AcademyUniversity of the Highlands and IslandsInvernessUK

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