Virtualization of Universities: Digital Media and the Organization of Higher Education Institutions

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The purpose of this volume is to shape conceptual tools to understand the impact of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the organization of universities. Traditional research-based universities, the most typical representatives of the higher education system, find themselves challenged by the speed and the wide range of technical innovations, but also by a vast array of implicit assumptions and explicit promises associated with the distribution of digital media. The author observes that as universities increasingly use digital media (computers and the Internet) to accomplish their tasks, a transformation takes place in an evolutionary rather than in a revolutionary way. Using the University of Klagenfurt as an in-depth case study, he explores such dynamic issues as how digital media affect the practice of research, the preservation and dissemination of knowledge (for example, through publishing and archiving), and delivery of education at universities. More broadly, he considers issues of organizational culture and design, administration, and leadership as universities integrate digital technologies into all aspects of their operations.