The role of teachers in a sustainable university: from digital competencies to postdigital capabilities

Lina Markauskaite, Lucila Carvalho, Tim Fawns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


An increase in online and hybrid education during and after the Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the infiltration of digital media into mainstream university teaching. Global challenges, such as ecological crises, call for further radical changes in university teaching, requiring an even richer convergence of ‘natural,’ ‘human’ and ‘digital’. In this paper, we argue that this convergence demands us to go beyond ‘the great online transition’ and reframe how we think about university, teachers’ roles and their competencies to use digital technologies. We focus on what it takes to be a teacher in a sustainable university and consider emerging trends at three levels of the educational ecosystem—global developments (macro), teachers’ local practices (meso), and daily activities (micro). Through discussion of examples of ecopedagogies and pedagogies of care and self-care, we argue that teaching requires a fluency to embrace different ways of knowing and collective awareness of how the digital is entwined with human practices within and across different levels of the educational ecosystem. For this, there is a need to move beyond person-centric theorisations of teacher digital competencies towards more holistic, ecological conceptualisations. It also requires going beyond functionalist views of teachers’ roles towards enabling their agentive engagement with a future-oriented, sustainable university mission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-198
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • An ecological perspective
  • Postdigital science
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable university
  • Teacher competencies
  • Teaching capabilities
  • The good university

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