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The Digital World

The Digital World offers a universal language and an exponential impact
(French 1997 Senate report on the coming of the Information Society)

Since the report was written, the digital world has become a key part of our every day environment. The worlds of computing, telecommunications and audiovisual media have coalesced to become our society's digital environment.

The Digital Services Centre (Pôle de Services Numériques) at the core of the Digital University

Digital technology is one of the engines of global growth, to the point that France, like other countries, produced a digital economic development plan (Isaac report 2008) setting targets for 2012:

  • 100% population coverage by fixed and mobile broadband networks;
  • Encourage the development of new offers for digital content on the internet;
  • Diversify digital usages;
  • Adapt our patterns of organisation and governance;
  • Construct tomorrow's society using the power of the digital world.

To achieve the knowledge society and economy announced by the Lisbon strategy, digital usages need to develop within all higher education and research establishments. The university of the digital era is a university that is fully committed to the information and communication society.


Students and universities must be integrated into digital networks of knowledge. As yet French universities are under-represented on the internet and in online networks of knowledge sharing and exchange. This carries a risk of marginalisation at the international level.

A Digital University is:

  • an Open University, without walls;
  • a more visible University;a more efficient University;
  • a more human and more accessible University;
  • a University more in tune with its urban context, its citizenship role;
  • a University that is better integrated into the information and communication society.

The original concept of a university (universitas in the 15th Century) was of a community of professors and their students within a town. In the 21st Century, a university is a community network of students, teachers, researchers and administrative and technical staff. The Digital University must help make the human bonds of the network even stronger, beyond those of physical presence.


The Digital University entails qualitative and quantitative improvement in services, achieved with the daily application of digital tools to administration, to teaching, and to the everyday services offered to users (students and staff); it's applying all these tools together to deliver a complete and coherent service offer. Without it, students will themselves create their own digital environments, pulling together services which they see as the most useful, but risking disorganisation and inefficiency.

Last updated October 3, 2011

Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - 118 route de Narbonne 31062 TOULOUSE CEDEX 9 téléphone +33 (0)5 61 55 66 11