Purpose: This paper seeks to investigate some of the ongoing issues faced by Scottish and other universities in moving their teaching of under-and postgraduates rapidly 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 a 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 and with low level of skills or qualifications and from older age groups. Effort is needed by policy-makers and HEI to better understand 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 greater university online teaching.

Research limitations/implications (if applicable): The range of interviewees is limited to one organisation and a wider range of university staff and types of organisation may add additional insights.

Practical implications (if applicable): Insights from the interviews suggest ways of responding to increasing online teaching and learning in universities.


Authors retain copyright, may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

Cite as

Webb, A., McQuaid, R. & Webster, W. 2021, 'University Responses to Digitalization at the Start of Covid-19 -Cases in Scotland', World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) Conference on ‘Online Learning – the New Normal Post Covid-19', Online, 28.10.2020-29.10.2020. http://hdl.handle.net/1893/32658

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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