Image taken from page 194 of 'Lord of Himself. A novel', British Library,

Dissertations at a Distance:  researching online distance learning at the University of Edinburgh

PI:  Jen Ross.  Co-investigators:  Philippa Sheail, Gill Aitken, Siân Bayne, Sarah Henderson, and Erin Jackson


This project is exploring what online, distance learning students want and need from their dissertation experience.  We will be examining what connections exist between programme and supervisor practices and student outcomes, and how student and supervisor understandings and experiences of ‘success’ map onto available dissertation-related data on four ODL programmes.  For more, visit


PhD research

Learning and becoming in collaborative digital environments

Supervisors:   Sian Bayne and Hamish Macleod

I’m interested in how people learn to take on particular identities in collaborative, digital environments.  My research draws on the work of Ian Hacking to position learning to take on an identity as a form of human (or social) kind.  I am exploring collaborative learning particularly and how formal learning in digital environments might contrast with informal learning, such as that of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft.


Past projects

Student Writing:  Innovative Online Strategies for Assesment and Feedback

PI:  Jen Ross.  Co-investigators Sian Bayne and Hamish Macleod

This project ( involved working in partnership with students on the MSc E-Learning programme to explore existing feedback and assessment practices on the programme and identify principles for successful feedback on and assessment of digital writing.

As part of this project, my colleagues Jen Ross, Sian Bayne and Hamish Macleod and I have developed a Manifesto for Teaching Online at

EdinSpace:  New Geographies of Learning

PI:  Sian Bayne, co-investigators Jen Ross and Hamish Macleod

This project explored at the nature of place and space for online distance learners –  This project also involves working in partnership with students, this time to generate narrative and visual data around the themes of place, home and institution.

Other past projects have related to curriculum design, vocational education and the transition from further to higher education.  Some have involved focused research, others have been about specific developments.

  • Coming to the University of Edinburgh:  Community Education.  The University of Edinburgh. (PI:  John Bamber)
  • The Scottish Community Learning and Development Work-Based and Part-Time Training Consortium, The University of Edinburgh.  (PI:  John Bamber)
  • The Defining Undergraduate Learning Project. The Australian National University.  (Including the development of the peer mentoring scheme the Student Information and Guidance Network) (PI:  Pam Roberts)

One Response to Research

  1. Pingback: Why am I blogging? | Clara O'Shea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s