Intertwined Higher Education Places and Spaces

Elizabeth S Wargo
Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education  •  Volume 5  •  2020  •  pp. 079-084

This essay highlights how the way educational places and spaces are imagined impacts higher education research, policy, and practice.

Drawing on the rapid transition to online education in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, dichotomous thinking about education space is problematized by examining how the physical (e.g., the lecture hall) is intertwined with the digital (e.g., an online course shell).

Conceptual essay

I illustrate how shifting towards conceptualizing higher education as an intertwined environment, that which is a blended mix of the physical and the digital is a more robust construct that can better assist researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.

Dichotomous— online or on campus—thinking masks issues of equity and justice deserving of higher education leadership research, policy, and practice in need of attention, which COVID-19 has brought to light.

By embracing an intertwined educational environment construct, practitioners may be better positioned to see opportunities for increasing equity of higher education access.

By embracing an intertwined educational environment frame, future research can better examine higher educational equity issues and opportunities.

The larger societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably change individuals and institutions. By revisiting higher education through an intertwined environmental frame, higher education institutions will be better positioned to assist ALL in society.

As higher educational institutions grapple with changes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, future research which problematizes educational space is needed to better understand the shifting, complex, and nuanced environments where learning, marginalization, and opportunities for change exist.

spatial inequality, education technology, space, facilities, blended learning
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