The University as a Hub of Connection: A Vision for a Post-Digital Institution
It has been broadly claimed that we live in a post-digital era in which “the digital and online has...become thoroughly entangled and integrated into our everyday actions, interactions, and experiences” (Nørgård, 2021, p. 1720). In this context, learning is ubiquitous. More than ever, we learn through digital means in informal settings. As has been noted by scholars of social movement learning, who point to movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, some of the most impactful learning of our era has occurred through social media.
Universities are the institutions tasked with shaping education in service of societal good. However, in an era where so much learning is happening via informal digital channels, universities are abdicating their potential positive influence to private corporations who own social media sites.
Currently, universities position themselves as offerers of classes and programs, with a student's engagement with the institution defined primarily through their enrolment in classes.
This session's premise is that the class, as the primary unit of education, is an anachronistic concept. While classes will continue to play a role in the educational experience, universities must move beyond being offerers of classes and step into a more encompassing role as hosts of learning environments. Concretely, this would mean that universities would host virtual and face-to-face spaces of community and connection, which would be as central to the learning experience as classes.
This session will begin with a brief overview of existing thinking on post-digital and hybrid education, before moving on to a proposal for a new vision for the university. The new vision will serve as a starting point for conversation. Session participants will be invited both to respond to what has been proposed and to put forward their own ideas.
- Having reviewed existing thinking around post-digital and hybrid education.
- Having imagined new identities for the university and new roles for learners and faculty.
- Considered an expanded role for social media in education.
Royal Roads University, Canada
Amy Zidulka teaches and researches in the areas of creativity and innovation in the Royal Roads Faculty of Management in Victoria, BC, Canada. She is also the founder and lead of the Royal Roads Design Thinking Challenge and the Design Thinking Educators' Conference.
She has a deep interest in innovative education and has long experimented with how virtual education might be engaging and creative, while serving to connect learners to each other and their personal and professional contexts.