The Digital Divide and Higher Education

Russo, Kerry, and Emtage, Nick (2024) The Digital Divide and Higher Education. In: Radovanović, Danica, (ed.) Digital Literacy and Inclusion: Stories, Platforms, Communities. Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 81-97.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


If digital fluency is enhanced by immersive digital experiences, the pivot to online learning during COVID should lead to increased levels of digital fluency. However, there is evidence COVID has broadened the digital divide in education. Pre-pandemic, a digital divide predicated on differing digital skills and usage patterns was emerging in the Australian higher education sector. Many students from underprivileged backgrounds entering university were grappling with the necessary digital skills required to participate in a digital learning setting.

Conceptualising the growing inequalities arising from a widening digital divide, this chapter investigates the impacts of a digital divide on the university student experience. Using a quantitative approach, the chapter provides an analysis of the digital divide in Australian higher education. About 409 first-year business students were surveyed at regional and urban Australian universities. Empirical data is examined using descriptive analysis, Pearson’s Chi-Square, Cramer’s V test, and ANOVAs to determine the relationship between the students’ self-reported digital skills, prior digital experience, and preparedness for university study with access to digital resources, demographic factors, and geographic location.

The chapter highlights the key differences in how school influences, digital experiences, and access to digital technologies influence digital fluency and preparedness for university study.

Students who were immersed in digital learning environments during secondary schooling were more likely to be digitally fluent and self-report preparedness for university study. Disadvantage indicators, prior digital experience, and digital fluency are examined to provide an insight into the new barrier in higher education, the digital learning environment.

Item ID: 79093
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-3-031-30808-6
Keywords: Digital fluency; Digital Divide; Disadvantage; Higher Education
Copyright Information: © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024.
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2024 01:57
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education @ 30%
46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4608 Human-centred computing > 460806 Human-computer interaction @ 40%
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390405 Educational technology and computing @ 30%
SEO Codes: 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 30%
22 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 2203 Information services > 220301 Digital humanities @ 30%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1602 Schools and learning environments > 160201 Equity and access to education @ 40%
Downloads: Total: 2
Last 12 Months: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page