Universities of the future: educational and organizational challenges and possibilities

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education welcomes submissions to the thematic series entitled, ‘Universities of the future: educational and organizational challenges and possibilities’. 

In the context of the radical transformation to knowledge and learning that digital technologies and the Internet have brought to teaching and learning in the last decade, it is imperative that universities develop new models and strategies if they want to continue to be relevant in the 21st Century. Issues such as innovation, access to education, sustainability, quality, diversity, citizenship, new partnerships, research and funding have become key players in the planning of the future of the university, or the university of the future, where universities are no longer the only institution that holds access to knowledge and promotes learning. With the active participation of many other organizations in the creation of learning spaces and open learning resources (such as community development NGOs, industry training units, indigenous knowledge centers, etc.) the traditional model of university administration is becoming archaic and obsolete. These challenges have brought about epistemological and ethical changes within higher education, some of which can be traced back to the willpower of individuals who have come up with initiatives and practices that helped pave the way for the emergence of new models. This thematic series will discuss and debate the tasks and challenges that the University of the Future is facing, and the strategies and policies that should be developed for its survival and transformation in the future. 

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Technology access, equality and inclusion in universities 
  • New aspects of curriculum development 
  • Quality indicators to measure learning
  • Industry or cultural partnerships for curriculum relevance or connectedness
  • University development and change of business and financing models
  • New areas of research, policy and practice
  • Curriculum relevance with regard to graduate employment
  • Development of academic citizenship and participatory academic communities beyond the campus
  • Universities’ contribution to sustainability
  • Innovative pedagogical practices and modes of delivery with broad impact
  • New university formats and inter-university or cross-sectoral collaborations


Submission Instructions

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the submission guidelines for International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. The complete manuscript should be submitted through the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education submission system. To ensure that you submit to the correct thematic series please select the appropriate thematic series in the drop-down menu upon submission. In addition, indicate within your cover letter that you wish your manuscript to be considered as part of the thematic series on " The universities of the future: educational and organizational challenges ". All submissions will undergo rigorous peer review and accepted articles will be published within the journal as a collection.


Deadline for submissions: 1 December, 2017


Guest Editors

Dr.  Martha Burkle, Assiniboine College, Canada

  • Dr. Burkle is the Director, Centre for Learning and Innovation at Assiniboine College, Brandon, Manitoba. She holds PhD from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom on Technology innovation and Higher Education. With Dr. Josep Duart, Martha is the co-founder of the University of the Future network funded by the European Union.  Her research interests lie in the area of learning analytics, the use of technologies for social development, and the application of digital technologies (such as virtual reality) to support learning. She has published a number of articles in peer reviews journals around the world, and is currently a member of a number of editorial boards for journals in a variety of languages (English, Spanish, and French). She has done research on the use of ICTs for development in Ghana, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, and Brazil.

Professor Alan Tait (em.) The Open University UK

  • Alan Tait is Professor of Distance Education and Development at the Open University UK, and has a long record of practice, publication and support of professional development in distance and e-learning.  He was Pro-Vice Chancellor at the Open University UK from 2007-2012 and President of the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) from 2007-2010. He currently is the Co-Director of the Cambridge International Conference on Open and Distance Learning. Alan is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Learning for Development and a Visiting Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, a senior member of St Edmunds College, University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Distance Education at the University of London. He has worked in developing countries, and for international organizations such as UNESCO, the European Commission, and the Commonwealth of Learning.

Associate Professor, Rikke Toft Nørgård, Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Rikke Toft Nørgård is Associate Professor of Educational Design and Technology at the Center for teaching Development and Digital Media, Aarhus University. She is, together with Professor Susan Wright, leading the strand ‘Higher Education Futures’ within the Center for Higher Education Futures, Aarhus University where she is also member of the steering group. Her research interests lie at the intersection between design thinking, educational philosophy and the implications of new technologies for future education and new futures in education. She has published a range of articles on these subjects in international peer reviewed journals, recent publications include “Critical reflection and dialogic learning design: moving MOOCs beyond unidirectional transmission of content” (2017) and  “Academic citizenship beyond the campus: a call for the placeful university” (2016) and “Participatory Academic Communities” (2015). This year she is giving keynotes in Lausanne, Shanghai, Manchester, and Barcelona on these matters.

Professor Sarah Guri-Rosenblit, Open University, Israel

  •  Prof. Guri-Rosenblit is the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director of International Academic Outreach at the Open University of Israel. Her areas of expertise are focused on comparative research of higher education systems, distance education, and e-learning. She has numerous publications in these fields. Since 2003 she has been a member of the Scientific Committee of Europe and North America in the UNESCO Forum of Higher Education, Research and Knowledge. She is also a member in expert evaluations panels for HESC (Higher Education and Social Change) under the auspices of the European Science Foundation, and the Bellagio Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation. She was selected in 2005/6 as one of the 30 new Century Scholars in the Fulbright on HED in the 21st Century.

Dr. Laia Canals, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

  •  Dr. Canals holds a Lecturer position at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya where she coordinates advanced EFL language courses. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and she is currently developing the curriculum for a Master’s degree to train language teachers in Technology Enhanced Language Teaching. Her current research interests lie in Technology Enhanced Task-based Language Teaching and Learning, e-Assessment practices, and Second Language Acquisition in Multicultural Settings. She was the content manager of the Open Education Europa portal and chief editor for the e-journal eLearning Papers from 2012 until late 2014 and is an active member of the Research Group in Plurilingual Interaction and Teaching.


Submissions will also benefit from the usual advantages of open access publication:

  • Rapid publication: Online submission, electronic peer review and production make the process of publishing your article simple and efficient
  • High visibility and international readership in your field: Open access publication ensures high visibility and maximum exposure for your work - anyone with online access can read your article
  • No space constraints: Publishing online means unlimited space for figures, extensive data and video footage
  • Authors retain copyright, licensing the article under a Creative Commons license: articles can be freely redistributed and reused as long as the article is correctly attributed

For editorial enquiries please contact educationaltechnologyjournal@springeropen.com

Sign up for article alerts to keep updated on articles published in International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education - including articles published in this thematic series!