University responses to digitalization at the start of Covid-19 – cases in Scotland

Aleksandra Webb*, Ronald McQuaid, William Webster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Purpose: This paper seeks to investigate some ongoing issues faced by Scottish and other universities having to rapidly move their teaching online during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

Design/methodology/approach: A review of academic and policy literature is followed by a series of interviews with university staff involved in online teaching and learning.

Findings: For most institutions and organisations, the pandemic has accelerated the speed of embedding digital ways of working. This has led to recognition of the need for practically-focused effective inclusive interventions. These need to be designed and offered more widely to reach individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with a low level of skills or qualifications, and from older age groups. Effort is needed by policy-makers and HEIs to better understand the challenges and unintended consequences digital learning and working poses.

Originality/value of the paper: This is an early paper to consider the impact of COVID-19 on the acceleration towards a higher level of online teaching in universities.

Research limitations/implications: The range of interviewees is limited to one main organization; a wider range of university staff and types of organisation may add additional insights.
Practical implications: Insights from the interviews suggest ways of responding to increasing online teaching and learning in universities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventThe World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) International Online Conference: Online Learning – the New Normal Post Covid-19 - Online
Duration: 28 Oct 202029 Oct 2020


ConferenceThe World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) International Online Conference
Internet address


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • online learning
  • universities


Dive into the research topics of 'University responses to digitalization at the start of Covid-19 – cases in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this