Digital Participation and Open Communities: From Widening Access to Porous Boundaries

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


In this chapter the issue of widening participation and the role of digital technologies in changing the nature of participation are explored. The current approach to widening participation is considered and critiqued from perspectives in concepts of porosity, open education practice, and the concept of the commons. Perspectives on open education drawn from critical pedagogy (Zobel 2015; Farrow, Learn, Media and Technol 42:130–146, 2017) are contrasted with practices influenced by neoliberalism, and the challenges this contrast poses for university leadership are discussed. Issues of open access, public scholarship, and publishing practices are discussed in relation to the changing nature of academic work following the Finch Report (2012). This discussion of openness as a desired characteristic of the digital university is developed in subsequent 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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