UV9920H1 – Digital technologies and the changing of professional work practices, expertise and governance

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Course content

The course is offered in collaboration with the research group “Curriculum Studies, Leadership and Educational Governance” (CLEG) and the research group Knowledge, Learning and Governance: Studies in higher education and work (HEDWORK)

Course leaders: Eli OttesenMonika Nerland and Åsa Mäkitalo

Guest lectures: Paolo Landri, CNR-IRPPS, National Research Council Institute of Research on Population and Social Policies, Emiliano Grimaldi, University of Naples «Frederico II», and Danilo Taglietti, University of Naples «Frederico II»

Intensified use of digital technologies generate changes in work practices. Changes can be related to the distribution of and access to information, mechanisms for coordinating work, relationships between practitioners and their clients, and to ways of developing and legitimating professional expertise. Moreover, as digital data and technologies are becoming integral to professional practices, there is a need to asses critically both the theories we lean on and methodological issues connected to our research. The course will address current approaches and controversies in research on work practices. Empirically, it will be organized around two strands of public sector work – education and public health services; however, the course will be of relevance for research in other professional contexts as well. 

Within educational work, the course will thematize the assemblages of humans and technologies in current practices, and how software and digital data are becoming integral to the ways in which educational institutions are managed, how educators’ practices are performed and surveilled, how educational policies are made and how teaching and learning are experienced. 

Within the health services, the course will address how ways of knowing and demands to professional expertise are changing as new technologies are introduced, locally configured and scaled to facilitate the coordination and continuity of services. Examples from recent research will be discussed, including studies of machine-supported decision making in professional work, studies of design processes and knowledge sharing in and across work settings, and studies of how the expertise of different professionals are challenged and transformed in the wake of digitalization. 

Throughout the course, attention will be given to theoretical and methodological approaches as well as to how work in the two sectors are affected by digital technologies in similar and different ways.

Learning outcome

On completing the course, the students will:

  • Be familiar with, and able to distinguish between key theoretical approaches and analytical concepts in research on digitalization and professional work practices
  • Be able to analyze, present and discuss research designs for empirical studies in this field of research
  • Have further developed their skills for presenting and critiquing one’s own work and that of peers. 


This course has been developed for the PhD candidates affiliated with the Faculty of Educational Sciences (UV), but it is also possible for others to apply for the course. Applicants must have at least a Master's degree. PhD candidates at the Faculty of Educational Sciences will be given priority.

Candidates admitted to the PhD Programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences should apply through Studentweb

Other applicants may apply using this application form

Registration deadline: October 11, 2020.


This is an intensive course over two days, which comprises lectures, seminar discussions and group work. Active contributions from the students in the form of discussion and short presentations are expected. More information will be given upon admission to the course.

Time: November 5-6, 2020

You will find the timetable and literature on the semester webpage for this course.



Course participants are expected to submit a paper. 

3 credit points for course participation (80% attendance is required) and an approved paper (2500-4000 words). 

1 credit point for participation without paper (80% attendance is required).

The deadline for paper submission is 10 December, 2020

Papers are to be submitted electronically in Canvas.

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Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2020


Autumn 2020

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