As the historical centers of scholarly work for many centuries, universities have gradually developed and evolved in response to a variety of factors and are currently being reshaped in response to “globalization, mass expansion, and economic uncertainty, overlaid by new technologies connecting learners and content” and researchers “in new ways” (Siemens & Matheos, 2010, para. 17). Shifts in social norms and values and advances in technology have always impacted scholarship and the university, or institutionalized scholarship, in ways that reflect the needs and habits of the era (McNeely & Wolverton, 2008). Thus, when we consider emergent forms of scholarship connected to technology innovations, we must recognize that technology, society, and scholarship are all ever-evolving artifacts throughout all eras that influence and impact one another in complex and negotiated ways (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012b).
Some specific technologies that have historically impacted the creation and evolution of universities include the printing press, radio, television, microphotography/microfilm, mass publishing, microcomputers, the Internet, and social media (Binkley, 1935; Tate, 1947; Simens & Matheos, 2010; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012b). Each of these technologies bring with it different affordances, limitations, assumptions, and challenges that impact how scholars work in each of Boyer’s areas of discovery, integration, application, and teaching. Discovery or the process of developing new knowledge through research is impacted as technologies improve efficiencies of data collection and analysis and allow for new methods of inquiry (e.g., big data, computational modeling). Integration is impacted as data and findings may be shared across distant locations and between experts within disciplines in a timelier manner. Application is influenced as scholars can more effectively report, serve, and collaborate with their communities, the public, and diverse colleagues from various disciplines. Teaching is impacted as scholars can teach students across geographic distances and employ new pedagogies and media to deliver instruction, assess student learning, and support student knowledge construction.