University Responses to Digitalisation at the Start of COVID-19 – Cases in Scotland, Dr. Aleksandra Webb, Prof. Ronald McQuaid, Prof. William Webster
Dr. Aleksandra Webb*, Prof. Ronald McQuaid, Prof. William Webster
Management, Work and Organisation Division, Stirling Management School, Stirling University, Stirling, United Kingdom
Purpose: This paper seeks to investigate some ongoing issues faced by Scottish and other universities having to rapidly move their teaching online during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
Design/methodology/approach: A review of academic and policy literature is followed by a series of interviews with university staff involved in online teaching and learning.
Findings: For most institutions and organisations, the pandemic has accelerated the speed of embedding digital ways of working. This has led to recognition of the need for practically-focused effective inclusive interventions. These need to be designed and offered more widely to reach individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with a low level of skills or qualifications, and from older age groups. Effort is needed by policy-makers and HEIs to better understand the challenges and unintended consequences digital learning and working poses.
Originality/value of the paper: This is an early paper to consider the impact of COVID-19 on the acceleration towards a higher level of online teaching in universities.
Research limitations/implications: The range of interviewees is limited to one main organization; a wider range of university staff and types of organisation may add additional insights.
Practical implications: Insights from the interviews suggest ways of responding to increasing online teaching and learning in universities.