Alumni Members of the Centre are individuals who have previously obtained their doctorates within the Department of Educational Research. We are proud to maintain links with our alumni and aim to foster ongoing collaboration with them in their new roles. Alumni Members are invited to join the Centre once they have obtained their PhD with us.
Timos Almpanis is a Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning, within the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Centre (LTEC) at Kingston University. Previously he held a similar position at the University of Greenwich and at Solent University where he was a Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching. Prior to that, Timos worked as a Learning Technologist at Solent University and the University of Plymouth. Timos has diverse experience of teaching and development, ranging from secondary schools to teaching staff at postgraduate level in HE and expertise in ways technology can be used in pedagogically effective ways to enhance learning. His research interests include curriculum design, learning theories, educational technologies and academic staff development needs for blended and online learning.
Pete Alston is a Director for Learning Solutions at Laureate Online Education, where he is responsible for cultivating relationships with partner institutions, and providing strategic vision and oversight for the design and development of academic programs. Serving as the primary relationship manager between partner universities and Digital Teaching and Learning (DTL) team within Laureate, he advises on trends and best practice in online education and oversees programme and course budgets. He is also an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool, and has research interests in electronic assessment (specifically the implications for policy and practice in HE); MOOC pedagogy; institutional ethnography; and threshold concepts.
Barry Avery is an Associate Professor at Kingston University, teaching information technology to both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Faculty of Business. He is researching the effective use of technology in assessment, in particular the way that networked learning can be used in peer-based learning communities that support e-Portfolios. He is currently working as the faculty lead on transitioning to the Canvas LMS, with an emphasis on how technologies can be used to assist commuter students.
Michael currently teaches in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he specialises in planning and teaching courses in English for Academic Purposes. Prior to this, he worked as a teacher, teacher trainer, examiner trainer and project manager for the British Council in Hong Kong and South Korea. As well as teaching full-time, he recently completed his PhD thesis, ‘An Exploration of the mediating effects of a digital, mobile vocabulary learning tool and device use on self-regulated vocabulary learning.’ Michael’s main research interests include the use of formulaic language in academic writing, digital vocabulary learning, gamification, self-regulation and digital agency. Since becoming a PhD researcher, he has delivered conference paper presentations on a framework for effective gamification in mobile assisted vocabulary learning and emergency online teaching of professional English writing skills in higher education. Michael was a member of Cohort 10 of Lancaster’s PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning.
Jordanne Christie is a faculty member in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Durham College, and a former Educational Developer in the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment (C.A.F.E). She has specific expertise in online and hybrid learning, and is committed to the design and delivery of rich and engaging online learning experiences. She has a broad range of experience developing and facilitating web-based, hybrid and online courses at the post-secondary level and has taught in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the School of Continuing Education at Durham College, in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), and in School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads University. Jordanne has a strong commitment to lifelong learning and a passion for teaching and learning. Her research is focused on educational development in higher education and technology-mediated learning.
Alumni Members representative
Maria Cutajar’s research interests broadly focus on teaching and learning using networked technologies in higher education learning settings and the adult education context generally. In the learning, teaching and research enterprise she is concerned with the experiencing and sense-making of contemporary networked technologies in situated learning and teaching practices. Through research practice, she has also developed an interest in the theory and practice of phenomenography, qualitative research methods and research processes generally. Maria was awarded a PhD in e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning from Lancaster University in 2014.
Rasha Essam graduated with a PhD in E-research and Technology Enhanced learning in 2019. She is a self-employed educational technology consultant and she is also teaching educational technology in the professional development diploma programme at the American university in Cairo. Her research expertise is in 1) design-based research; 2) learning design; 3) teachers’ training; 4) designing, developing, and implementing professional development programmes; 5) foreign language teaching and learning; 6) technology affordances; 7) programmes’ evaluation; 8) online, blended, and flipped classroom teaching and learning; 9) computer supported collaborative learning; 10) Web 2.0 technologies; and 11) data visualisation and representation. Rasha has a solid background in computer science and information system (B.Sc.); educational leadership (MA); and teaching Arabic as a foreign language (MA). Her educational and professional backgrounds enable her to be deeply aware of how to use technology effectively in the field of education since she wears more than one hat that allows her to integrate technology into any learning organization taking into consideration their context and needs.
Chidi Ezegwu is a multidisciplinary researcher with extensive interests and experiences in the field of gender, education, political economy, conflict and peacebuilding, media impact, young people’s development and reproductive health. He currently works as an independent research consultant, based in Nigeria. In the past six years, Chidi has contributed to the successful delivery of twenty-eight research projects in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Americas, including situation analysis, research and evaluation projects of the British Council, DFID, European Union, Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Population Media Centre, UNDP, UNICEF, USAID, and Wikistrat. Chidi has a good track record of receiving grants, successful research leadership and has led a number of country-level cases within some comparative multi-country studies. Chidi's research profile and over thirty independent and collaborative publications, research reports and international conference papers are summarised on his WordPress site.
Zoe Hurley currently teaches in the College of Communication and Media Sciences at Zayed University, in Dubai, on undergraduate courses focusing on social media and new media writing. Her research has involved developing qualitative visual/multimodal approaches to learning and communication from gender and critical theory perspectives. She is particularly interested in participant centred methodologies for understanding social actors’ uses of technology for learning within the broader intersections of historical processes and structural inequalities.
Zoe has published articles in Social Media + Society focusing on Gulf-Arab women’s visual social media as well as technology’s emotional temperatures and postdigital entanglements. Since becoming a PhD researcher, Zoe has delivered conference paper presentations on social media learning, social media influencers, multimodality, design thinking and the Change Laboratory as well as Gulf-Arab women’s empowerment through visual social media.
Mike's association with Lancaster began New Year of 2002 as he started the MSc in Advanced Learning Technology. Mike has since taken root in the community Lancaster helped instigate: networked learning. It’s the one conference guaranteed to get him out of Wales. Mike says that composing this text on his phone is reflective of his doctoral research – taking a phenomenology-informed look at what it’s like to be a student with a phone. Mike is passionate about universities and their role in maintaining scholarly values, deliberation, phronesis and bildung, against a tide of neoliberalism. He is also fascinated by what it means and takes to be good with technology, especially information technology. Mike occasionally blogs at https://networkedlearning.blogspot.com and tweets from @agentjohnson.
In 2013, Marguerite Koole completed her PhD in E-Research and Technology-Enhanced Learning at Lancaster University UK. Her thesis is entitled “Identity Positioning of Doctoral Students in Networked Learning Environments”. She also holds a Masters of Education in Distance Education (MEd) through the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University. Her focus was on mobile learning.Marguerite has a BA in Modern Languages and has studied French, Spanish, German, Blackfoot, Cree, Latin, Mandarin, ancient Mayan hieroglyphics, and linguistics. Her interests in languages led her to teaching. She has taught English as a Second Language (ESL), English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and university-level writing at the University of Lethbridge, Athabasca University, private schools in Canada, and a private school in Spain. While teaching at the University of Lethbridge, Marguerite became interested in designing online educational resources. She completed a college diploma in Multimedia Production with training in web development, audio, video, animation, 3D animation, marketing, and business. Marguerite has worked in online and distance education for over 15 years. Through the years, she has been involved in teaching, instructional design, multimedia programming, content management, e-portfolios, and social software. She has designed interactive, online learning activities for various learning purposes and platforms—including print, web, and mobile devices.
Julia McDowell’s research interests broadly encompass the use of technology in education. Her PhD investigated the influence of mobile learning on the learner engagement of primary school children in outdoor settings, using a design-based research approach. Julia’s current interests are centred around exploring the notions of digital and mobile capital, a theme which emerged from her doctoral work, with a particular focus on empowerment.
Rob Miles is an English language professional who has worked in the UK, Greece, Spain, Italy, and Brazil. Since 2005 he has been based in the United Arab Emirates. As well as teaching full-time he recently completed his PhD, ‘A Change Laboratory: A collective approach to addressing issues in laptop-mediated English language classrooms’. Rob’s main interests include activity theory, expansive learning, language acquisition, classroom technology, device deployment, professional development and educational leadership, as well as an increasing interest in online assessment and English language. Rob was a member of Cohort 10 of Lancaster’s PhD in eResearch and Technology Enhanced Learning.
Jane’s research interests focus on using Activity Theory and the Change Laboratory to promote expansive learning and transformative agency in online academic communities. Her interest in the Change Laboratory as a practical, participatory, interventionist approach, was sparked when she used the methodology online to examine the potential to co-create approaches to teaching and learning for courses in her institution. Jane is now using Activity Theory and the Change Laboratory to explore the professional development needs of online educators from a range of UK HEIs throughout their careers. She is also continuing to research ways to adapt and develop the methodology for use in the synchronous online research environment. Until recently, Jane Nodder was Course Director for a series of online MSc courses in advanced research and clinical practice for nutrition and complementary healthcare practitioners at a UK Higher Education Institution. She is now focusing on teaching and supervising student research projects on these courses.
Rasha Okaily is interested in researching flexible pedagogies, ubiquitous learning, evaluating learning designs, and teacher training. Moreover, she is currently exploring the use of AI in higher education and its impact on teaching and learning. Rasha is currently a lecturer at Hamdan Bin Mohammad Smart University, Dubai, UAE. Rasha has taught at various universities in Jordan and in the United Arab Emirates. She also leads professional development workshops for lecturers and teacher training on instructional technology and learner-centred teaching.
Chris O’Toole is an academic professional with an established reputation in Technology-Enhanced Learning and also a highly experienced IT professional within the financial services sector. While working and undertaking professional development over three decades, Chris developed a passion for life-long learning. Over the last 15 years he has combined his commercial IT experience and his passion for e-Learning to become an expert in the integration of technology for teaching and learning. He has particular interest in how research and evidence-based practice support the development of Technology-Enhanced Learning. Chris is currently an IT Project Manager for a Financial Services company in Ireland, Associate Lecturer with the Open University of the UK, Online Learning Facilitator with National University of Ireland Galway, Project Supervisor with the Atlantic University Alliance, Academic Advisor to Prudence College Dublin, and Technology Enhanced Learning Consultant. His research interests are Continuing Professional Development and Networked Learning Communities, Collaboration within VLE Forums, Global Virtual Training Environments and Mobile Technology-Enhanced Learning.
Tony Reeves' research focuses on the role of technology in enabling organisations to function as complex adaptive systems, and explores the intersection of technology, learning and complexity. Tony is a qualitative researcher and predominantly uses phenomenography to understand and compare how people experience the world. His research interests include post-structuralism, criticality, critical pedagogy, digital experience, digital pedagogy, experiential learning and learning design.
Mariam’s research centers on inclusive, accessible and equitable online education designs and education policy with a focus on refugees and underprivileged populations. Along with being a keynote speaker, she has presented her work on refugee education, inclusive online curriculum design, MOOCs and sustainable online education options, at various conferences around the world including talks at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. Mariam has taught and worked at universities in Hong Kong and Australia and has developed fully online degrees. Along with her BA (Hons), she has an MA in International Relations and her PhD is titled “MOOCs without borders. Investigating the dynamics of a contextualised approach to scalable online learning, inclusion of displaced populations and conditions of poverty”. She continues to publish in the areas of Online Education, MOOCs, Inclusive Online Pedagogy and Refugee Education.
Simon Snowden is primarily interested in transitions in people’s lives where individuals bridge boundaries; specifically, transitions between different forms of education, transitions from education to working life, and transitions within working lives. Simon’s main methodological focus has been on Activity Theory and the Change Laboratory as a tool for exploring and managing transition phases, with a practical focus on students who are on placement in a professional setting. The fragmented nature of placement students’ experience - working in different companies, in different industries, and over a wide geographical spread - has encouraged Simon to develop a new approach in Change Laboratories, favouring an online environment to meet the challenges of this fragmentation. Simon’s approach takes advantage of how the online world provides a rapidly developing space in which to examine and shape the lived experience
Dawn Storti's expertise is in education with past research focusing predominantly on the primary sector. Dawn's PhD explored the motivational psychology of primary aged children and how it influenced academic attainment and engagement. Dawn currently works as an associate lecturer for the Open University in the UK and this has stimulated her interest in distance and online learning. She is interested in distance learning teaching strategies, the use of online classrooms, discussion forums and the tutor/ student relationship to support adult inclusivity, attainment and engagement.
Rebecca Tam Lai-wah
Rebecca Tam Lai-wah has supported the use of technology in education for most of her career. She has been working at local universities/educational institutions in Hong Kong for over 10 years. Now she is a researcher and lecturer based in Hong Kong. Her current research interests focus on adoption of Technology Enhanced Learning, especially the factors and barriers impeding the effective integration of Technology Enhanced Learning in higher education that she investigated during her doctoral studies at Lancaster University.
Chryssa Themelis is an educational researcher focusing on pedagogies that enhance learning and drive technological innovations. She works on European co-funded projects and professional training with immersive technologies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She runs a pedagogy lab at the Themelis Language Centre in Greece, organising seminars and publications. Her latest book is Pedagogy of Tele-Proximity for eLearning: Bridging the Distance with Social Physics. She blogs regularly at the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, and reviews papers at the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, open praxis, education sciences, educational research, and Ed-media conferences.
Tünde Varga-Atkins (@tundeva) is a Senior Educational Developer at the Centre for Innovation in Education, University of Liverpool. Tünde supports programmes with curriculum design and enhancement with a specialism in digital education, including the considered and critical use of digital tools for learning and teaching. Her doctoral thesis was a case study of digital capabilities in disciplines. Tünde is passionate about student evaluation and pedagogic research. She is an editor for the Research in Learning Technology and Associate Editor for the Developing Academic Practice journals. Tünde is also the outgoing Chair of ALT ELESIG, a special interest group aimed at building capacity of practitioners in HE and FE across and beyond the UK. Her specific areas of research encompass areas in curriculum evaluation, assessment and feedback, digital capabilities, and more recently artificial intelligence in education and organisational learning. In addition, Tünde likes to explore multimodal and creative methods in both her research and education practice. She has worked with using drawings and diagrams for data elicitation, used poems for data analysis, and combined different existing methods, such as the nominal focus group, to support curriculum evaluation.
Julie Voce's thesis investigated institutional support structures for TEL and the effect of organisational culture within UK Higher Education. Julie is also a co-author of the biennial UCISA TEL Survey of UK Higher Education and currently works at City, University of London as the Head of Educational Technology.
Cvetanka Walter is a freelance digital learning consultant based in Germany. Her main research interests include online reflective practice, digital pedagogy, constructivism, and learners’ digital wellbeing. Cvetanka has publications on the role and experience of online tutors on blended learning courses in higher education. She has been an online tutor in intercultural communication since 2013 and has also been a teacher of English as a foreign language.
Sandra Wearden's PhD research studied the perpetuation of degree ceremonies in higher education using actor-network theory. One aspect of Sandra’s research considers how the introduction and use of digital technologies is associated with extending and increasing the visibility of degree ceremonies, and the emergence of new forms of degree ceremonies online and in virtual spaces.
Meg Westbury earned her PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning at Lancaster University in 2020. She is also Academic Services Librarian (Human and Social Sciences) at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on librarians' social media practices and knowledge production using frameworks from Science and Technology Studies, particularly infrastructural theories. She is particularly interested in how infrastructure sparks new identities, agencies and communities.
Steve Wright is a Learning Technologist for the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University and Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) teaching associate and consultant. He completed his PhD in eResearch and Technology Enhanced Learning in October 2014 drawing on Actor-Network Theory to explore sensory learning in the evaluation and judging of craft beer in his thesis. Steve’s primary interests are researching, teaching and developing innovative eResearch methods. He is a Certified ATLAS.ti Professional Trainer and NVivo Certified Expert and is developing qualitative methods for big data using content and sentiment extraction to analyse student feedback comments in national surveys, and exploring the potential for machine learning to support automated thematic coding of research project on the use of CAQDAS in practice.