My research programme in e-learning or technology-enabled learning (TEL) at The Open University (OU) has focused on how emerging technologies including social software (social media) and 3D and virtual reality (VR) environments can support innovative pedagogy and digital scholarship. For example: online quizzes for self-assessment and formative assessment; discussion forums for informal learning and peer-to-peer learning; blogging for reflective practice and public engagement; wikis for virtual team collaboration; social software for engaging in the discourse of research and for creating a researcher’s profile; 3D VR environments for context-based training, procedural learning, and distributed team-working; and 3D virtual simulations for (virtual) fieldwork in Science.
In my role as Scholarship Lead in the STEM Faculty at the OU, I support my colleagues in conducting research on their teaching interventions (including technology-led initiatives) to obtain evidence on the effectiveness of their academic practices and to enhance student learning experience.
I investigate the factors that influence the development and sustenance of online communities (e.g. hyper local, parenting) and communities of practice (e.g. a knowledge community). I have been concerned with digital professionalism and etiquette in online social interactions (e.g. on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and the need for having an online social strategy for online academic discourse (for individuals), or for customer relationship management (for businesses), or use of social media for natural disaster management. I have focused on the significance of having an authentic researcher identity and adherence to ethical considerations when conducting research in 2D (web-based, including social media) and 3D avatar-based virtual environments.
My publications and reports related to both the themes are available in Open University's Research Repository (ORO).