Digitization of universities should not be neglected

by Jan Gulliksen on January 31, 2013

“We have had the same business model for 500 years and it has worked well, it will not have to change for the coming 500 years”. That was the comment expressed by the vice chancellor Eva Åkesson from Uppsala university when I spoke on the subject “The future Digital Academic Room” at SUHF’s conference with the Swedish leaders of the universities in my capacity as chair of the Digital Commission of the Swedish Government.

There is unfortunately very little to be read about the future development relating to digitization of the Swedish universities when you study the Digital Agenda of Sweden. When given the chance to provide direct input to the Digital commission, there was very little contribution to be given from the Swedish university leaders at that meeting. Those that were most eager to contribute to the Digital development were the smaller regional universities and the universities relating to the creative arts. For the Swedish university system to be able to compete in the future they need to take part in the development of eLearning and make use of the potential of using Digital media to a much higher extent than it has done so far. The development in the field is tremendous and changes the conditions for the universities development for the future.

I think the universities should be grateful for the fact that the chairman of the Digital commission comes from the university sector himself, otherwise there would be a great risk that the universities would miss the train of Digitization.

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