Teaching and supervising

I am a senior lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Edinburgh, and my teaching focuses on postgraduate provision at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and on the MSc in Digital Education, a large, distance programme with around 200 students from more than 40 countries. I am currently developing a postgraduate programme on the theme of Education Futures, for the Edinburgh Futures Institute. On Digital Education, I lead  Digital futures for learning and have led or taught on Course Design for Digital Environments, Introduction to digital environments for learning, Research Methods and E-learning and digital cultures. Between 2012-15 I was director of the  Digital Education programme. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Along with four other colleagues, I developed and taught the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), on the Coursera platform. This was one of the first six MOOCs to be developed by the University of Edinburgh. The five-week MOOC ran for the first time in February 2013, again in November 2013 and November 2014 – in total more than 75,000 people have enrolled for the course. Read more about the early experiences of designing and teaching this MOOC, and about our ‘teacherbot’ pedagogical design experiment in 2014. In 2014 I co-authored the ‘Pedagogy of the MOOC‘ report for the Higher Education Academy, and am currently involved in consultancy activity with the World Bank in relation to their MOOC developments.

I have served as external examiner for the MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education at the University of Manchester and the MA Education in Virtual Worlds, at the University of West of England.


I supervise MSc and PhD projects on topics relating to online higher education, feedback and assessment, cultural heritage and the arts, information literacy, digital culture, organisations and technology, sustainable education, social media and professional learning. If you are interested in working with me, please read more about the kind of research I am potentially able to supervise.

I am currently first supervising the following doctoral students:

  • Stuart Allan  (with Siân Bayne)
  • Nada Alsayegh (with Jeremy Knox)
  • Eleanor Capaldi, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with National Galleries of Scotland ( with Christopher Ganley, Màiri Lafferty and Melissa Terras)
  • Sharon Boyd (with Beth Christie)
  • Clare Thomson (with Tim Fawns)
  • Sarah Treloar (with Maria Dasli)

and co-supervising the following  students:

  • Maureen Finn (with Lydia Plowman)
  • John Morrison, Edinburgh College of Art (with Chris Speed)
  • Joe Noteboom, Sociology/Centre for Technomoral Futures (with Karen Gregory)

Completed doctoral projects:

PhD, 2019 – James Lamb, School of Education. Space, Sociomateriality, Sound. The Learning Spaces of Higher Education.

EdD, 2019 – Debbie Schachter, School of Education. Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice: Critical Information Literacy Teaching in Canadian Higher Education.

EdD, 2019 – Murray Craig, School of Education. Understanding the messy realities of teaching with technology in physical education.

PhD, 2015 – Janan Dean, School of Social and Political Sciences. Examining Social Work and Technology: A Cross-Disciplinary Analysis of Technology Issues in Violence Against Women Shelters in Ontario, Canada.

PhD, 2014 – Jeremy Knox, School of Education. Posthumanism and the Massive Open Online Course: contaminating the Subject of Global Education

PhD, 2014 – Claire Sowton (Wright), School of Education. Arts evaluation and the transformative power of the arts:A visual ethnography of transformative learning in a collaborative community (arts) film.

Completed MSc dissertation projects:

  • Chenée Psaros, 2019: Embodiment, multimodality and enriched, situated learning on a heritage walk in London
  • Veronica Wilson (ECA): Ethics in Digitising Dynastic Egyptians: A UK Museum Perspective
  • Valerie Leyva, 2019: A Systematic Review of Instructional Practices Used in Online and Blended Social Work Practice Courses
  • Lorenzo Fiamma, 2019: Moving maritime training online. A qualitative and ethnographic approach to future digital education policies and strategies for the online training of maritime administrations’ staff
  • Charlotte Rixten (ECA), 2018: Preparing objects for flight: examining the value of digital surrogates through an analysis of their development
  • Gemma Henderson, 2018: Exploring the meanings of 3D digital heritage objects in undergraduate education
  • Ben Henderson, 2018: How do English-speaking expatriate workers within the Design, Web and IT fields engage with online learning opportunities to achieve their CPD objectives and goals?
  • 2016, Alex Wingard (Informatics): An Exploration of Item Relatedness in a User-Curated Corpus of Digital Cultural Heritage
  • 2016, Stephen Kilbride: Categories of Difference, Social Interaction, and Identity in online games: Considerations for using games in online learning
  • 2016, Stuart Allan: Migration or transformation? Perspectives on online exams and educational practice
  • 2015, Linda Matthews: Representations of professional identity across digital spaces
  • 2015, Nikki Bourke: An exploration of how design inspired reflections of teaching and learning may illuminate the digital education experience, as situated from within a post-humanist theoretical framework
  • 2015, Susan Driver: Digital Scholarship:  Dipping in and out of a compartmentalised toolbox.
  • 2015, Gina Fierlafijn Reddie: Challenges for the 21st century flâneuse: Social media spaces illustrating the mobility paradigm for online art experiences.
  • 2015, Charmaine McKenzie:  Students’ Experience of Wiki Writing in an Online Distance Education Course
  • 2014, Jessica Black: Communicative Reflection and Identity Formation in an Online Discussion Forum: A study of the use of Dave’s ESL Cafe’s ‘Korea Job-Related Discussion Forum’ by English language teachers in South Korea
  • 2014, Xiangjun Sheng: Exploring entrepreneurial competence development: students’ e-shop creation at a higher vocational and technical college (HVTC) in China
  • 2014, Sarah Treloar: Cornish on Facebook: Access, Community, Learning and Identity
  • Adrian Hudd: Climbing out of the Digital Pigeon Hole:  An exploration of the cultural, generational and neurobiological factors contributing to the complexities of digital education
  • Sharon Boyd,  Green Electracy:  Using a Digital Media Method to Facilitate Loss Reflection and Foster Sustainable Education Practice – related conference presentation
  • Nicola Osborne, Continuing Professional Development in Collaborative Social Media Spaces
  • Mike Kelly, A Portrait of the Artist – e-Portfolios in Higher Education Art and Design