An Extended Conceptual Matrix for the Digital University

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


In this chapter, the Matrix introduced in Chap.  3 is revisited and extended to provide a more fully developed analytical tool for the academic and organisational development of the digital university. In extended form, the Matrix refocuses the original four quadrants of digital participation, information literacy, learning environment, and curriculum and course design and incorporates the themes of critical pedagogy, open education, praxis, and education as public good, which have been developed in the preceding chapters. The Matrix is offered as an analytical and practical tool, which can be best used in situations where value pluralism is adopted as the basis of development practice. Current developmental thinking is critiqued, and approaches drawn from Freire’s work on critical symbols, culture circles, and praxis are advocated as complementary extensions of development practice. The need to engage with the human dimension of development and avoid the reductionism of neoliberal accounts of the digital university is emphasised and detailed discussion of how the Matrix can be used in practice is provided.


  1. Biggs, J. B. (2003). Teaching for Quality Learning at University (2nd ed.). Buckingham: Open University Press/Society for Research into Higher Education.Google Scholar
  2. Channel 4 News. (2018). Exposed: Undercover Secrets of Trump’s Data Firm. Last Accessed 18 May 2018.
  3. Collini, S. (2012). What Are Universities For? London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  4. Collini, S. (2017). Speaking of Universities For? London: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. Drachsler, H., & Greller, W. (2016). Privacy and Analytics – It’s a DELICATE Issue. A Checklist to Establish Trusted Learning Analytics. 6th Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference 2016, April 25–29, 89–98. Edinburgh.
  6. Flaxman, S., Goel, S., & Rao, J. M. (2016). Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption. Public Opinion Quarterly, 80(S1), 298–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Freire, P. (1974). Education for Critical Consciousness. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  8. Gilliard, C. (2016). Teaching in Higher Ed. Last Accessed 2 Apr 2018.
  9. Gourlay, L., & Oliver, M. (2018). Student Engagement in the Digital University: Sociomaterial Assemblages. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jisc. (2018). Learning Analytics Help or Hindrance in the Quest for Better Student Well Being. Last Accessed 24 June 2018.
  11. Johnson, M., & Smyth, K. (2011). Diversity, Value and Technology: Exposing Value Pluralism in Institutional Strategy. Special Issue of Campus-Wide Information Systems on Learning Technology and Institutional Strategy, 28(4), 211–220.Google Scholar
  12. McCluskey, F. B., & Winter, M. L. (2012). The Idea of the Digital University: Ancient Traditions, Disruptive Technologies and the Battle for the Soul of Higher Education, Policy Studies Organisation. Washington, DC: Westphalia Press.Google Scholar
  13. Pariser, E. (2011). The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  14. Rugut, E. J., & Osman, A. A. (2013). Reflection on Paulo Freire and Classroom Relevance. American Journal of Social Science, 2(2), 23–28.Google Scholar
  15. Selwyn, N. (2014). Digital Technology and the Contemporary University: Degrees of Digitization. London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Slade, S., & Prinsloo, P. (2013). Learning Analytics. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1510–1529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Whitehead, M. (2018). Neuroliberalism: Behavioural Government in the Twenty First Century. Abingdon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations