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Table 1 Findings overview

From: Digital higher education: a divider or bridge builder? Leadership perspectives on edtech in a COVID-19 reality

Dimension Category Subcategory Description
Individual level Opportunities Flexible/individualized learning Digital/remote learning allows for individualized, adaptive learning paths
Access to education Digital/remote learning allows for underserved populations to participate in higher education; More lifelong learning opportunities and inclusivity
Barriers Infrastructure and devices Lack of broadband infrastructure and poorly connected regions; Students and teaching staff lack technological devices and/or software
Home environments Students’ home environments are described as unsuitable for learning
Systemic inequalities Additional hurdles disproportionately affect students from ethnic minorities and/or disadvantaged backgrounds; Some students and staff face additional burdens due to learning/teaching at home (e.g., caring responsibilities, domestic violence, food insecurity, mental health)
Digital skills, experience, and acceptance Lack of training amongst students and teaching staff, often due to systemic exclusion from acquiring digital skills; Reluctant attitudes among students and staff toward shift to digital/remote education
Institutional level Responses Technical support Institutions’ actions to close technological and infrastructural gaps by providing students and staff with devices, securing internet access for them, or providing analog alternatives
Housing Accommodation provision for students in need
Opportunities Cooperation, collaboration and resource sharing Opportunity for multiple forms of collaboration at various levels, including students, instructors, or HEI leaders cooperating within and between institutions
Global collaboration and virtual internationalization Need for global solidarity and collaborative actions between HEIs; Digital higher education can foster new forms of internationalization and student mobility
Barriers Systemic inequalities Inequalities around factors such as race, gender, income, region, etc. are reflected in the HEI system, resulting in the uneven distribution of resources within and between regions and countries
Governmental support Amount and type of governmental support and funding that HEIs are given for digitalization vary greatly