A study published today on the digitization of higher education in 69 universities from around the world shows that, apart from a few best practice examples, many universities do not yet have a clear digitization strategy. The analysis was conducted by the FiBS Research Institute for the Economics of Education and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, UK, on behalf of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
The digitalization of the world is almost ubiquitous in many countries or on the way to reaching this status in the near future. Worldwide, the proportion of Internet users has risen significantly in the last ten years. In Europe, 90% of most countries’ populations were regular Internet users in 2016, while the current share is 53% in China, with rapid growth, but even in Ethiopia, it has risen from just 0.4% in 2007 to 15.4% in 2016. At the same time, expectations are rising for a broad use of digital solutions in higher education.
The study, published today by ICDE, examines how digitization impacts the delivery of higher education. Unlike other studies, the focus was on the changes made possible by digitization and less on the technologies themselves. The study thus assumes that it is not technology but strategy that determines the extent of digital transformation. Through a global survey, the profiles of 69 universities were described and analysed in terms of the dimensions of flexibility and openness of their learning provision. The comparison reveals strategic profile types for some universities, with a large share using digitization to make access to their learning provision as well as to support and advice more flexible and no longer dependent on time and place. But it can also be stated that many universities are currently in an experimental phase.
Dr. Dominic Orr, FiBS project leader, sums up the central message of the study in relation to universities: "Universities should develop focused digitization strategies and can learn from each other in this process." To this aim, the study provides a guide to developing such strategies and a comparative database of the cases studied. With regard to ministerial support, he adds: "Higher education policy should review its governance and incentive structures to ensure that they support the strategic use of digitization tools and processes and do not hinder changes that increase access to high-quality learning and learning environments."
You can download the study here: http://bit.ly/OOFATStudie
FiBS is a private, interdisciplinary research and advisory institution as well as a leading think tank on the subject of education in Germany and Europe (www.fibs.eu).
Dr. Dominic Orr, FiBS Institut für Bildungs- und Sozialökonomie, Berlin:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 0151 521 32349
Prof. Martin Weller, Institute of Educational Technology der Open University, UK: email@example.com
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