Centre for Digital Inclusion

The supply of information and services has largely moved to the Internet and offline alternatives are becoming less and less available. Social media and content creation play an important role in everyday life. A growing number of jobs in all industries and organizations require digitally skilled personnel. The possibilities of devices connected to the Internet - the Internet of Things - are constantly expanding. Just a few trends that emphasize that access to the internet is a precondition for participation now and in an increasingly digital future.

Digital inclusion suggests that everyone can benefit from the possibilities of Internet (technology). Achieving digital inclusion is an important policy objective. To contribute to this challenge, Prof. Dr. Alexander van Deursen (University of Twente), together with Prof. Dr. Ellen Helsper (London School of Economics and Political Science), founded the 'From digital skills to tangible outcomes' (DISTO) project in 2012. In this project, barriers to online participation are scientifically mapped and differences in the use and outcomes of the internet are explained. The DISTO project provides initiatives around the world with conceptual and methodological resources for studying digital inequality. The centre for digital inclusion is affiliated with the DISTO project and participates in the development and use of DISTO instruments.

The centre aims to support parties pursuing digital inclusion, internationally, nationally, provincially and locally. Based on a strong scientific basis, this centre tries to answer questions such as: How can government institutions digitally include difficult-to-reach groups in its services? What digital skills do employees need and how can these be improved? How can developers of smart devices serve less skilled users? What negative effects does internet use have and who experience these the most? What does the transition to a complex Internet of Things system mean for users? How do policymakers ensure a society in which everyone can benefit from digital opportunities?

With a strong international team and a base at a technical university, answers are sought to these and other questions. We use traditional research methods (such as surveys, interviews, focus groups) and new methods that are enabled by the technical environment of the University of Twente (eye tracking, virtual reality, digital diaries, serious gaming, log data, network analysis).

Digital Inequality in the Corona Crisis
By means of a questionnaire, the role of the internet during the corona crisis was studied.