Higher Education

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 379-395

First online:

Challenging hierarchies: The impact of e-learning

  • Norah Jones*Affiliated withThe School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Glamorgan
  • , John O'SheaAffiliated withThe School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Glamorgan

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New developments in e-learning and increasinglysophisticated learning technologies arebeginning to make a major impact in U.K.universities. It is clear that universitiesneed to change to accommodate the impact oftechnology on learning. Communicationtechnologies that are free from time or placeconstraints provide new challenges touniversities on how they should be organised. The paper reflects on the university's strategicplanning process and outlines the developmentprocess of an e-learning initiative. Examplesof the emergent change agenda are identifiedand finally possibilities for futuredevelopment are explored. It isclear that the impact of e-learning willrequire universities to re-think fundamentallytheir thinking and therefore their strategiesin a whole range of areas. There hasbeen much focus on technological advancementbut much less on how technology impacts onstrategic planning. This paper addresses thisgap in the literature by examining oneuniversity's strategic responses to thischallenge of e-learning. The learning attachedto this case study could be used to help otheruniversities respond to the change agendabrought about by e-learning.