The impact of digital transformation on academic work

Gorrell, Amanda orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5819-3533 (2023) The impact of digital transformation on academic work. Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning, 3 (2). ISSN 2753-2380

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In recent years, the digital transformation of Higher Education (HE) has had a significant impact on educators and teaching practices across the sector. New ways of working have led to teachers experiencing more pressure to develop technical expertise while simultaneously supporting students through a labyrinth of change. This small-scale explorative study investigates educators’ experiences of working and teaching online in a teaching-focused institution through the lens of Leavitt’s Diamond Model (1964). The data collected consists of six semi-structured interviews with teachers working in a teaching-focused university. The study indicates that many participants have experienced a significant increase in workload since the Covid-19 pandemic, with some exhibiting signs of technostress associated with online working (Panisoara et al., 2021). This seemed especially prevalent with more senior academics as policies and digital infrastructure appear to have led to additional administrative burdens. Despite these findings, the research suggests that Information Communication Technology (ICT) may not be the sole cause for this, but rather, it is a symptom of a more complex phenomenon. It has been further suggested that as the HE landscape evolved, little emphasis has been placed on how organisational initiatives influenced the structure, work tasks, technology, and teachers’ experiences. Due to the limited scope of this study, it is unclear if this is an isolated situation within the school or a more extensive sector-wide issue. Nevertheless, Higher Education managers and policymakers may benefit from applying integrated change strategies if they are to better support teachers and adopt a more balanced work environment post Covid-19.

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