The Social Web: Changing Knowledge Systems and their Impacts on Higher Education

Prof. Mary Kalantzis
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To a greater extent than is often acknowledged, the modern university is a creature of the society of the printing press. Until the turn of the twenty-first century, print was the medium of scholarly communication. It was the source of book learning. Then, quite suddenly at the turn of the twenty-first century, digital text began to displace print as the primary means of access to the knowledge of academicians and as the dominant medium for the delivery of instructional content. This paper explores some of the consequences of this change. To what extent do digital technologies of representation and communication reproduce the knowledge and pedagogical systems of the half-millennium long history of the modern university or do they disrupt and transform them?

To answer this question, this paper will first explore key aspects of contemporary transformations, not just in the textual forms of digital representation, but the emerging social forms that digitisation reflects, affords and supports. This we call the ‘social web’, a term we use to describe the kinds of relationships to knowledge and culture that are emerging in the era of pervasively interconnected computing. What, then, are the impacts and potentials of these changes on two of the fundamental missions of the university: knowledge formation and teaching?

Today, universities face significant challenges to their traditional position in society—contemporary knowledge systems are becoming more distributed and learning ubiquitous. Where does this leave the university—as an historically specialised and privileged place for certain kinds of knowledge and learning, as an institutionally bounded space? What do these changes mean for the mission and structures of a renewed university in the era of digital communications?

Keywords: -
Stream: Books, Writing and Reading
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Mary Kalantzis

Dean, College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Ref: B07P0172