Higher education

Julia Connell*, Ashish Malik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter seeks to explore the impact and influence of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and artificial intelligence applications on the Australian Higher Education (HE) sector. Specifically, it explores the real and potential impact of new technologies and their anticipated effects on the sector, its educators, and students. The aim is to provide a broad understanding of the potential challenges and changes within the context of the recent coronavirus global pandemic. Many factors in the higher education system, particularly with the increasing costs of tuition, imply that the higher education sector “is ripe for disruption”, and the coronavirus crisis may just have provided that much-needed disruption.

As if one significant wave of technological disruption and restructuring of employment caused by the 4IR was not enough, the world was hit by COVID-19, a global health pandemic bringing economies to a grinding halt. The challenges for the Australian and global higher education sector from early 2020 due to both the technological and health crises form the focus of this chapter. Therefore, the chapter begins by providing a brief background of how 4IR and artificial intelligence (AI) has affected the HE sector in Australia. Next, we analyse the impacts of the significant external changes on the sector, present a review of how the sector has responded, and where the future challenges lie.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Fourth Industrial Revolution: what does it mean for Australian industry?
EditorsAlan Nankervis, Julia Connell, Alan Montague, John Burgess
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789811616143
ISBN (Print)9789811616136, 9789811616167
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 4IR
  • artificial intelligence
  • Ethics
  • Higher education
  • Teaching and learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • General Computer Science


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