As we began our work, the online lifestyle of young people going into higher education was inescapable, and those working in it had sensed a clear change in their students’ pre-entry experience. The time was ripe for an informed, impartial assessment of this and what it might herald for higher education policy and strategy. This was our remit. Since they represent the future, we took young learners as our baseline. We have, however, been concerned with learners of all ages.
We reviewed the findings of completed and, where they were available, ongoing studies related to our remit; took oral evidence from a range of practising academics and researchers; and commissioned briefings and studies, including one substantial piece of work on current and developing international practice in the use of Web 2.0 in higher education. We met six times in full session and held one event dedicated to hearing evidence.
We structured our Inquiry into a consideration of the prior experience of higher education learners, their expectations, and international practice in the use of Web 2.0 in higher education. From our findings in these three areas, we identified a number of critical issues, the exploration of which then informed our conclusions and recommendations.