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Organizational Adaptivity in the Higher Education Context (OrA)

OrA is a cooperation project conducted with the FernUniversität in Hagen (D²L² Research Cluster). In this project, we investigate the digitalization of higher education, with a focus placed on exploring the implementation of teaching and learning innovations. Specifically, we track how institutions and their stakeholders adapt to these innovations, implement new practices, and ensure their sustainability. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the higher education landscape is experiencing a moment of profound change with the rapid transition to remote / online teaching. In response, we have launched two empirical studies in the frame of the OrA project, which examine national and international responses to the digital turn in higher education. 

Leading in Times of Crisis: Higher Education Leadership during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

  • In this international study, we investigate how higher education leaders, at universities and intermediaries, are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to remote / online teaching. 
  • Through a three-step study, we explore how the pandemic has created new challenges, sparked collaboration and innovation, as well as exposed new and existing inequalities across diverse higher education institutions and organizations. 
  • Partners: This project is a joint initiative with the Global Learning Council (GLC) and the FernUniversität in Hagen, Research Cluster: Digitalization, Diversity and Lifelong Learning – Consequences for Higher Education (D²L²).

Coping with Change: Organizing Teaching in Uncertain Times 

  • In this study, we qualitatively explore how university instructors in German higher education institutions are experiencing the swift shift to digital teaching. We analyze the experiences of instructors, working in various disciplines and different types of higher education institutions located across Germany, with the aim of understanding commonly occurring and unique challenges, institutional crisis management and coping strategies.
  • Partners: This project is a joint initiative with the FernUniversität in Hagen, Research Cluster: Digitalization, Diversity and Lifelong Learning – Consequences for Higher Education (D²L²).

Associated Researchers: 

Duration04/2020 – 03/2023

Contact

Bronwen Deacon

Researcher and project manager: Knowledge & Society

Benedikt Fecher, Dr. (in Elternzeit)

Head of Research Programme: Knowledge & Society

Former employees

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Deacon, B., Timm, M. (2021). Possibilities for Change – Higher Education and Digitalisation. Elephant in the Lab. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5113453 Publication details

Organisation of events

The Rapid Digital Turn: An Exploration into the Tight and Loose Coupling of University Structures
Understanding Digital Transformations of Higher Education Teaching and Learning in the Nordics and Beyond. From 30.03.2021 to 31.07.2021. Online, Online, Online. Co-Organised by: Universities of Agder (Norway) Aarhus (Denmark) and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) (International) Further information

Melissa Laufer, Bronwen Deacon