PhD research

Official starting date 14 January 2013

Institution: Edinburgh Napier University, Faculty of Health. Life and Social Sciences (moved to School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care in April 2016)

Supervisory team:
Director of Studies: Dr Karen Aitchison (until April 2014) then Dr Sandra Cairncross
PhD Supervisor (1): Prof. Keith Smyth
PhD Superviror (2): Tom McEwan, from April 2014 to July 2015

Title: Towards cross-boundary friendly collaborative open learning within cross-institutional academic development

Where I am now? Submitted thesis on the 5th of May 2017

Anticipated completion: Before August 2017

A few words about this study: This is a phenomenographic study investigating collaborative open learning experiences within two cases  in the context of open cross-institutional professional development provision of teachers in HE. Through this research, I developed an openly licensed cross-boundary collaborative open learning framework, which is one of the main outputs.

Methodology: phenomenography (Marton)

Data collection: collective case study approach (Stake)

1. FDOL132 University of Salford, then MMU and collaborators from Karolinska Institutet (all data collected, transcribed, entered into NVivo, March 2014)

2. Creativity for Learning in HE MMU and collaborators from University of Macedonia, London Metropolitan University, University of Hull, Lifewide Education, Creative Academic (all data collected December 2015)

remote phenomenographic interviews (main)
initial and final survey instruments (background information about the collective case study)


Academic development in the United Kingdom (UK) has been criticised in the literature for being behind the times and for not modelling innovative and technology-supported practices. Concurrently there are increased external pressures on Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK to engage large numbers of academic staff in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to gain a teaching qualification and/or professional recognition, to enhance their teaching practice, and to raise the quality of teaching in order to achieve teaching excellence. The UK Government view is that teaching excellence can be achieved through competition and financial incentives. However, academic staff collaboration combined with open education, can provide an alternative model. The call for more outwards facing and connected CPD by academic developers point towards real opportunities in this area where cross-institutional academic development and collaborative open learning can play a key role. This thesis reports research that provides some options tackling issues in this area. It is a phenomenographic study, which explores the collaborative open learning experience of academic staff and further open learners in two specific cross-institutional academic development courses. It also includes collaborative open learning characteristics using digital online technologies. The findings demonstrate the impact these courses had on the study,  participants’ experience and the benefits and positive nature of collaborative open learning in cross-institutional academic development. The study adds to what is known about collaborative open learning in cross-institutional academic development, and also provides new insights for academic developers and course designers about the benefits of crossing boundaries (i.e. open learning) in an academic development context. The study concludes with the proposal of an openly licensed framework developed with the aim of informing academic developers who may be considering and planning to model such approaches.



posts linked to my research can be accessed here.

my useful Diigo links collection linked to this research as well as here
my for open academic practice

2 thoughts on “PhD research

  1. Pingback: Reflections on #OEglobal in Cape Town, March 2017 | Viviane Vladimirschi

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s