THE ROLE OF DIGITALIZATION AND NEW MEDIA IN HIGHER EDUCATION

L. Snellman

University of Helsinki (FINLAND)
This study in the field of social and education sciences addresses challenges that higher education is facing in today's rapidly evolving digital landscape. University, one of the oldest and most common institutions, and traditionally an important provider of public good, has throughout times experienced problems. Nevertheless, it is today, in the era of knowledge society and digital revolution, that institutions of higher education are faced with decisive challenges. Challenges emerge as knowledge society awaits institutions of higher education to incessantly create new knowledge and generate innovation. Given this, higher education has to compete for the best talent at global level, and above all, provide high quality education with, in most cases, reduced public funding. This means that innovative cost-effective solutions are warranted. Digitalization and web-based use of new media specifically are deemed to provide an optimal solution in the new digital landscape. To address such assumption, this study tries to explore why and how digitalization and new media may affect higher education and, conversely, why and how education might have an impact on the use of new media. In this study qualitative research method is applied. Qualitative analysis is conducted exploring previous research in the fields of higher education and digitalization. The results of this study show that digitalization and the use of new media not only lead to cost-efficiency in education, but increases interaction, facilitates access to knowledge, and enhances equal opportunities for participation in higher education. Moreover, the findings indicate that digitalization and the use of new media empower and inform students providing them improved work opportunities which, in turn, adds to societal happiness. Importantly, the study also finds that education contributes to increased use as well as novel ways of using new media providing improved opportunities for societal and political participation which leads to inclusive and more direct democracy.