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Briefing paper

COVID-19, digital inclusion and online education: APO Digital Inclusion Collection Brief April 2020

COVID-19 Digital divide Digital inclusion Disadvantaged students Online learning Australia

Currently, the primary governmental response to Covid-19 in Australia, as in many countries, is to severely restrict face-to-face human contact outside the home, encourage home-based self-isolation whenever possible and the practice of physical distancing when face-to-face public engagement is necessary. In response we are witnessing the rapid digital transformation of an extensive set of economic, government, cultural and social systems and practices, many of which are likely to remain largely digitally mediated after the pandemic abates. Under these conditions the impact of digital inequality on social inequality is amplified. Those without the ability to effectively and affordably access and use digital technologies will find it immediately and increasingly difficult to participate in contemporary economic, social, cultural and civic life.


The APO Digital Inclusion Collection features reports, commentary and other grey literature related to digital inclusion in Australia and internationally. The collection is supported by the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University.

Dr Chris K. Wilson is curator of the APO Digital Inclusion Collection. Chris is a Research Fellow with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and principal analyst for the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) project.

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