New media and the transformation of higher education

Flew, Terry (2013) New media and the transformation of higher education. In Invited Presentation, 14 October 2013, School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, Bath Spa University, Bath. (Unpublished)


One set of public institutions that has seen growing discussion about the transformative impact of new media technologies has been universities. The higher education sector, historically one of the more venerable and stable areas of public life, is now the subject of almost continuous speculation about whether it can continue in its current form during the 21st century. Digital media technologies are often seen as being at the forefront of such changes. It has been widely noted that moves towards a knowledge economy generates ‘skills-biased technological change’, that places a premium upon higher education qualifications, and that this earnings gap remains despite the continuing increase in the number of university graduates. As the demand for higher education continues to grow worldwide, there are new discussions about whether technologically-mediated education through new forms such as Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are broadening access to quality learning, or severing the vital connection between teacher and student seen as integral to the learning process. This paper critically appraises such debates in the context of early 21st century higher education. It will discuss ten drivers of change in higher education, many of which are related to themes discussed elsewhere in this book, such as the impact of social media, globalization, and a knowledge economy. It will also consider the issues raised in navigating such developments from the perspective of the ‘Five P’s’: practical issues; personal issues; pedagogical issues; policy issues; and philosophical issues. It also includes a critical evaluation of MOOCs from the point of view of their educational qualities. It will conclude with the observation that while universities will continue to play a significant – and perhaps growing – role in the economy, society and culture, the issues raised about what Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring term the ‘disruptive university’ (Christensen and Eyring 2011) are nonetheless pressing ones, and that cost and policy pressures in particular are likely to generate significant institutional transformations in higher education worldwide.

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ID Code: 63445
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: universities, MOOCs, globalisation, higher education policy , open and distance education
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies (200102)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author
Deposited On: 17 Oct 2013 22:40
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013 22:44

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