The Digital Academic
The world is becoming increasingly digital – in virtually all aspects of everyday life people are expected to ‘plug in’ or be left behind. The academic world, however, seems curiously untouched by the majority of technological advances that are transforming the business, entertainment and social worlds. There exists a chasm between the ‘analogue’ and digital realms that few academics feel comfortable crossing. The Digital Academic project focuses on the state of the ‘tech-savvy’ academic, and looks at what challenges and opportunities this brave new digital world affords those working in Higher Education. The core of this research is centred on the use of ‘sensor-based’ systems that offer live data over continual periods. These developments offer access to new types of data that exposes what actually occurs (reality of practice) rather than traditional data that presents what is assumed to have occurred (perception of practice).
The structure, content and process of the way we work as academics has changed considerably since the last century. Academic practice is now more cognitively complex, collaborative, more dependent on technological competence, more time pressured and more mobile. The ‘spaces’ of academic work depend on the cultural contexts in which they are constructed and arranged – they are living spaces that embody the personal and career characteristics of everyday faculty life. This research focuses not on the conventionally researched spaces of Higher Education (the lecture theatre, laboratory or tutorial room), but rather on the seemingly mundane, private spaces academics carry out much of their work activities and spend a considerable amount of their time, such as the academic office.