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Keywords:

  • critical theory;
  • ICT;
  • Internet;
  • higher education;
  • university

Abstract  Despite huge efforts to position information and communication technology (ICT) as a central tenet of university teaching and learning, the fact remains that many university students and faculty make only limited formal academic use of computer technology. Whilst this is usually attributed to a variety of operational deficits on the part of students, faculty, and universities, this paper considers the wider social relations underpinning the relatively modest use of technology in higher education. The paper explores how university use of computer technology is shaped into marginalized and curtailed positions by a variety of actors. From the ‘writing’ of ICT at a national policy level through to the marginalization of ICT within the lived ‘student experience’, a consistent theme emerges where computer technology use is constructed in limited, linear, and rigid terms far removed from the creative, productive, and empowering uses which are often celebrated by educational technologists. In the light of such constraints, the paper considers how these dominant constructions of a peripheral and limited use of ICT may be challenged by the higher education community. In particular, it concludes by reflecting on current critical thinking about how educational technologists can foster a more expansive and empowered use of computer technology within university settings.