This is a list of completed projects that I’ve undertaken as a freelance consultant. Other pages to follow will focus on work conducted in posts at universities.
PGCert in Professional Development
Client: University of Worcester
Not a research project this time, but a regular teaching job, providing support for Worcester staff development programme. Here I ran sessions alongside the course leader and also helped design the content of the course that new staff at Worcester attend, with a remit particularly at looking at the Teaching Enhanced Learning aspects of the course. 2014 to 2016
Client: Croatian Academic and Research Network (CARNeT)
The AMORES project http://www.amores-project.eu/ addressed lack of knowledge about culture and literature across Europe amongst secondary school pupils and aimed to foster a greater interest in reading, as well as digital literacy.The AMORES methodology was for schoolchildren to create digital objects about the books they were studying and share them with other schools across Europe using social media and videoconferencing. I led the evaluation of the project, and co-ordinated the final report on the project findings. 2013 to 2015
Client: Open University
The Human Resources for Health project, led by Jhpiego under USAID, provided learning materials for health workers in Ethiopia. My work here involved editing content provided by subject matter experts and turning it into learning materials. I also worked on a case study of the health sector in Ethiopia, specifically its success at reducing child mortality and the more limited success at reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, and why these differences have emerged. 2014 to 2015
Client: Loughborough University
Business Information Modelling helps all those involved in creating buildings to organise information, including architects, civil engineers, quantity surveyors etc. However, where this online collaboration is least successful is in the initial design phases, which involved a complex process of bringing together divergent visions, the so-called “messy talk” phase. Online collaborative design is therefore much more complicated than just online collaboration or face-to-face collaborative design. This project, http://bim-hub.lboro.ac.uk/ which was funded by the HEA, and was in collaboration with Coventry University and Ryerson University, developed guidance for supporting online collaboration based on the experiences of the students engaged in the project. My role was to lead on the qualitative evaluation of the student experience and develop the guidance material for other practitioners to implement online collaborative design in the curriculum. 2013 to 2015
Client: Institute of Learning Innovation, Leicester University
This was a study looking at the recognition of learning in MOOCs and OERs across Europe. This involves some desk research, looking at how MOOC providers currently recognise and validate learning, and interviews with providers, students and professional bodies that are involved in accrediting courses that are run in a MOOC format. For the project, Gabi Witthaus (project lead) and I developed a typology with which to describe open education which links the context in which a MOOC operates to the relative degrees of assessment, recognition and openness. MOOCs have an inherent problem, which is that students want to get qualifications from them, but also want them to be free. But qualifications require assessment, and robust assessment require tutor intervention, which is expensive. We found that actually there are only a handful of workable business models for MOOCs, that balance these competing demands in different ways. 2014
Save the Children International
Client: Open University
Save the Children International are standardising their monitoring and evaluation processes across all of the countries in which they operate. To help this process they developed a set of online learning materials in collaboration with the OU. My role was to support the online collaboration of the authors and provide feedback on the learning materials. The final materials are published at http://www.open.edu/openlearnworks/course/view.php?id=1641 . 2013
Jisc funded a series of projects on business and community engagement, supporting stakeholders within and outside of the universities, and in transforming student provision. My role within the programme was to support a series of projects as an adviser and critical friend and also to bring together the learning from the programme to develop guidance and advice for future programmes. 2011 to 2013.
Global Collaboration Book
Client: CSIR Meraka
As part of their Catalyst Program, Hewlett Packard funded several consortia of projects internationally to develop Global Collaborations to address Global Challenges. To maximise the dissemination of these projects, the consortium wrote a book that collects together chapters written by the projects about their development and impact. My role was to collect and edit these chapters, and work on the introduction and literature review. 2012 to 2013.
Client: Coventry University
This is an EU-funded project, led by Bochum University in Germany. Several universities around Europe are providing access to both virtual robot arms, and real robot arms remotely for their students. The project is to link together this provision to encourage students to practise their programming skills. My role was to help with the evaluation of the impact on learning. 2011 to 2013.
Client: Ravensbourne College
The Shift is a website that aims to engage NEETs in learning by introducing them to basic digital skills (actually by getting them to build a wordpress site). Their engagement is via a website, called The Shift and their engagement with the materials is directed by a bot. My role was to provide general advice, but to specifically evaluate the learners’ interaction with the bot. The development of the bot was presented at the Edmedia Conference in Victoria, BC, in July, 2013. 2012 to 2013.
Client: Belanda Consulting
The Ismaili Institute co-ordinates the provision of teachers and materials for Ismaili education globally. Belanda Consulting is currently identifying the processes required to evaluate this provision. I acted as a critical friend for this, helping to put in place a systems approach for where data came from, and how it was synthesised. 2012 to 2013.
Digital Identity in Virtual Worlds
Client: Newman University College
For three years I was a visiting lecturer at Newman University College teaching on several courses led by Rich Sanders. On these courses I ran workshops in Second Life, introducing the idea of identity in general, and then virtual identities (and SL identities) specifically. The workshops were part presentation, and part building project. The students built “identity cubes” in a sandpit and then discussed what these meant to them. You can see videos I made of this teaching by following the tab above titled “Teaching”. 2011 to 2013
Learning to create a better built environment
Client: Coventry University
This was a two-year project, funded by the HP Catalyst Program which created virtual teams between Engineering students in Coventry University, UK and architecture students in Ryerson University, Canada. Students used videoconferencing and document sharing to carry out projects to co-design buildings in a shared activity that met the criteria for modules at both universities. My role was to coach the students in Coventry in virtual teamworking and evaluate the learning experience. 2011 to 2012.
I Dig Tanzania
Client: Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
The Field Museum run summer programmes for 13 to 16 year olds in the Chicago area. I Dig Tanzania is a programme that teaches children about palaeontology and about life in modern day Tanzania, since that’s where the field palaeontologists are conducting their research. The programme links to Tanzania through videoconferencing, conducts activities in the museum and runs simulations of palaentology and life in Tanzania in Second Life. My role was to be one of the evaluators of the learning experiences, particularly the virtual world activities, and report on the effectiveness of the programme. 2012.
Client: West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Larysa Nadolny (now at the University of Iowa) has designed a virtual world based activity in which students are exposed to ethical dilemmas regarding conservation and fisheries. This was funded by the HP Catalyst Program. My role within the project was to help design the evaluation process, to analyse the qualitative data and suggest theoretical backgrounds to understand the learner experience. http://www.sciethicsinteractive.com/ 2011 to 2012.
HE STEM Professional Skills
Client: Coventry University
The HE Academy funded a project at the Faculty of Engineering and Computing at Coventry to analyse their ongoing move towards a curriculum based on Activity Led Learning. The project specifically looked at how students viewed professional skills and the influence that Activity Led Learning had on the development of those skills. My role was to take the data that had already been acquired, analyse these and present them as a report to the University. 2011.
Client: Daden Ltd
Daden Ltd worked with the Birmingham Royal Ballet to develop a version of the Birmingham Hippodrome in Second Life. Birmingham Hippodrome is the main venue in which the BRB perform, but their productions are also toured. Translating the theatre to a virtual world enabled scenery to be mapped out on the stage and viewed from different viewpoints from the auditorium and also plan the move from the loading bay to the stage. This has value for planning, for education and for archiving of productions. My role was to analyse the user needs of theatre companies, and to map these to the process of creating scenery for the virtual stage. I also wrote the report on the project. 2008 to 2009.
Client: King’s Visualisation Lab
Theatron 1 and 2 developed VRML models of ancient theatres. Theatron 3 translated these to the virtual world Second Life and developed many new ones. My role was to manage the project, and also to oversee the pedagogical activities that took place within it. Five universities were recruited to develop courses that exploited these resources and they went on to do a range of interactions including performance, theatre design and nothing (though the reasons why nothing took place were themselves informative). I also evaluated these learning activities and completed the project report. Other academics also used the Theatron resources over the years. http://www.theatron3.cch.kcl.ac.uk/2007 to 2009.
Serious Gaming for Health
Client: Warwick Medical School
WMS were funded by the Warwick Manufacturing Group to report on the potential for serious games to support medical education for medical students, and health education for the general public. My role was to oversee the data gathering and analysis, conduct a literature review and compile the range of submissions to the report by the various research assistants and contributing medical practitioners. This also led to engagement with a range of NHS institutions to promote the usefulness of gaming in supporting health care education. 2007 to 2008.