My research interests broadly focus on the intersection between the Internet and Higher Education. In recent years, this has included research on academic social networking sites, MOOCs, and semantic web technologies for education. I am trained in both quantitative and qualitative research methods (through my degrees in both Natural and Social Sciences), particularly mixed-methods social network analysis.

Current projects

  • 2017 SRHE Newer Researchers Award. This project will allow me to extend my PhD research and build upon models of academic identity through social media. I am currently hosted at the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University as a Visiting Fellow to carry out the project.
  • The History of Open Education. This is a project which I am currently working on jointly between the Open Education Research Hub at the Open University, and Thompson Rivers University, Canada, to explore the history of open education (mainly through citation network analysis).
  • Social media and research impact. I’m working with Mark Carrigan to explore the ways in which social media featured in the 2014 REF Impact Case Studies.

Completed projects

  • PhD student in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, UK, supervised by Professor Martin Weller, Dr. Doug Clow, and Dr. Canan Blake. Thesis title: ‘Understanding the structure and role of academics’ ego-networks on social networking sites’. (October 2012 to August 2016).
  • Co-investigator (with Professor Martin Weller) on the ‘Characteristics and completion rates of distributed and centralised MOOCs’ project, part of the Gates Foundation-funded MOOC Research Initiative. (October 2013 to April 2014).
  • Masters student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, supervised by Professor Christine Howe. My dissertation research project examined the benefits and problems associated with postgraduate students undertaking undergraduate teaching at the university (October 2011 to September 2012).
  • Research assistant on ‘Ensemble: Semantic technologies to support case-based learning in Higher Education’, at Cambridge and City University London. The Ensemble Project was a three-year project funded under the Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme. It focused upon the potential role of semantic technologies in supporting case-based learning in Higher Education, across a wide variety of academic settings and institutions. (October 2008 to July 2011).
  • Research assistant on the Transkills Project, at the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies at the University of Cambridge. The Transkills Project, funded by HEFCE, sought to develop resources and support for students in the transition between school and Cambridge University. My role in the project included survey analysis and developing online resources. (October 2008 to February 2009).
  • Research assistant on the Plant Sciences Pedagogy Project, and Teaching for Learning Network. The Teaching for Learning Network was funded by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) to carry out educational research and e-learning development in a range of disciplinary settings. I worked as a research assistant on the project, based in the Department of Plant Sciences. (November 2005 to September 2008).

Reviewing and service

From January 2018, I will be a member of the SRHE Research and Development Committee.

I am a Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology and frequently act as an assessor for portfolio submissions.

I act as a reviewer for numerous academic journals, including First Monday, The International Review of Research in Online and Distance Learning, The Internet and Higher Education, The Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning, The Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Open Learning, Research in Learning Technology, Social Science Computer Review, and Studies in Higher Education.

On several occasions I have acted as a reviewer for the annual Association of Internet Researchers conference.

With Patrick Carmichael, I co-edited a special issue of Technology, Pedagogy and Education on the topic of Semantic Technologies for Education.

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