Externally funded research projects

  • Institutional Student ePioneer Partnerships (InStePP) is a JISC-funded project supported by the Developing Digital Literacies programme. The project will build on the Brookes strategic approach to developing the digital capabilities of our students and staff. OCSLD is providing support to InStePP with partnership models, student development pathways and project evaluation.

    For more details of the evaluation contact Greg Benfield or look at the evaluation section of the InStePP project wiki.

    The Internationalisation and Promoting Assessment Diversity Study (IPAD) project aimed to promote student engagement by teaching a cohort of undergraduates peer mentoring techniques and academic writing strategies. Participants were given iPads for the fifteen months of the project, and invited to experiment with ways of using these tools to support each other as scholars.

    Half the participants were international students, and data was collected by peer-led support for students who were relatively unfamiliar with the culture and conventions of British academia. The IPAD project was supported by the Centre for Curriculum Internationalisation (CCI).

    £45,000, January - July 2008. Additional £10,000 July 2009. (Project ongoing.)

    This is funded by the Higher Education Academy. The crux of this project is the creation of ELESIG: Experiences of E-Learning Special Interest Group for those involved in investigations and evaluations of learners' experiences of e-learning. The three collaborating institutions: Oxford Brookes University, University of Bradford and University of Greenwich are all actively involved in research in this area. We are finding that this type of research brings its own challenges as well as rich rewards. ELESIG will support the investigators as they develop their research, building capacity within the sector as well as providing rigorous research to support evidence informed practice. The work of ELESIG will be made public, to the benefit of practitioners and researchers throughout the sector.

    Evaluation of Learners' Experiences of e-learning Special Interest Group

    £20,000, February - July 2012
    Funded under the Academy/JISC Open Educational Resources programme. In May and June 2012, the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) at Oxford Brookes University ran one of the UK’s very first MOOCs: First Steps in Learning and Teaching, alsoknown as #fslt12. The course was targeted at new lecturers, PhD students who teach, and people moving into HE from industry. Over 200 people signed up, 60 participated throughout the 6 weeks that the course ran, and 14 undertook the assessment andreceived a certificate. Participants were international, from 24 different countries including Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, as well as many European countries, and the US. FSLT12 emphasised open practice and produced a library of openeducational resources (OERs) supporting the new lecturers curriculum, all of which are freely available on RADAR, the Oxford Brookes institutional repository and the OCSLD YouTube channel.
    Project team: George Roberts, Marion Waite, Jenny Mackness, Joe Rosa, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Sylvia Currie.
    £28,809, September 2008 - August 2011
    The CURLIEW project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust (£513, 310) to investigate conceptions of and decisions about the way in which teaching and learning manifests itself at the socio-political boundaries of reality. The study is led by Professor Maggi Savin-Baden, Coventry University, and focuses on the exploration of three main themes: students' experiences of learning in immersive worlds, pedagogical design and learner identity.
    Project team at Brookes: Frances Deepwell
    £400,000, Oct 2008 - March 2011
    The "Create" project provides Support, Synthesis and Benefits Realisation services to the JISC Institutional Innovation Programme and its constituent projects. The programme currently has over 40 projects in three phases (see http://inin.jisc-ssbr.net/). The projects are aimed at supporting existing institutional strategies by providing solutions to institution-wide problems, based upon proven practices, technologies, standards and services.
    Project team co-ordinator: George Roberts

    £30,000, March – Nov 2010
    This JISC funded project investigated how institutions are creating and enabling opportunities that promote the development of effective learning in a digital age. The main deliverables of the study are 10 institutional case studies and a final report with recommendations for further and higher education on how to develop effective institution-wide strategies and practices which better support effective learners in a digital age. There is an opportunity here to build capacity in researching learners' needs and experiences. The project team are working collaboratively with each institution to assess what evidence they have available and what further evaluations they could conduct.

    SLiDA site.

    Project team: Rhona Sharpe, Greg Benfield, Judy Hardy, Shalni Gulati

    £10,000, January - July 2008
    Funded by the Higher Education Academy. OCSLD was approached by the CABLE Transfer project at the University of Hertfordshire to undertake the evaluation for this project. The projects aims to embed blended learning into the curriculum through a series of workshops and events for four UK Universities. The evaluation examined documents from project reports and websites, undertook observation at CABLE events and conducted interviews with the project team and team leaders from each of the participating institutions. The evaluation was undertaken in the spirit of positive appreciation, where the strengths and unique characteristics of developments are drawn out and important lessons highlighted.
    Project team: Greg Benfield and Jacqueline Dempster
    £30,000, Sept 2007 - March 2008
    The HE Academy is setting up a research observatory, and e-learning will be its one of the first strands of activity. OCSLD is leading a landscaping study to inform the observatory. This will include consultation with practitioners, key stakeholders and e-learning experts about e.g. whether and how they use e-learning research, overview of existing research observatories, overview of key sources of e-learning research. We will be making recommendations on the process for identifying, gathering and disseminating resources to the sector at the end of March 2008. Here is the project website.
    Project team: Rhona Sharpe, Greg Benfield, Helen Beetham.
    Emerge is the support project for the JISC Users and Innovation Programme. The aim of the Emerge Project is to support the JISC's forming of an "effective and sustainable community of practice" around the Users and Innovation Development Model. The community will play a formative role in owning and refining the approach and providing heuristics on the use of the method.
    Funded by the JISC E-learning and Pedagogy Programme. Partnered with Ellen Lessner of Level Learning, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and Helen Beetham, this project will support the seven research projects funded under Phase 2 of the Learner Experiences of e-learning strand and synthesise and disseminate their work.
    Project team: Rhona Sharpe, Ellen Lessner, Greg Benfield, Helen Beetham, Eta De Cicco.
    Learning Environments project funded by the JISC (March 2007-2009). The project will explore the organisational, cultural, procedural and technical challenges in creating a singular repository to fulfil the roles usually provided by discrete Learning Object Management, Open Archive and scholarly repository systems.
    Oxford Brookes is a partner in this project which is funded by the Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowships Projects. More details.
    £170,000, Sept 2006 - May 2008
    Oxford Brookes University was funded by the Higher Education Academy for a pilot e-learning project called Pathfinder. The name reflects the project aim: to encourage institutions to 'find a path' by which other institutions can establish sustainable and integrated approaches to e-learning.
    When the Higher Education Academy launched a national e-learning benchmarking exercise in support of HEFCE's e-Learning Strategy, Oxford Brookes University was selected by the Academy as among Britain's 12 leading e-learning universities when it was included in the pilot phase of the project.


    A team from Brookes was funded by the Higher Education Academy to review UK literature and practice relating to the undergraduate experience of blended learning. For further details see the HEA website.

    The effective use of ePortfolios to support reflection can enrich learning and teaching and can help widen access and increase participation in education. myWORLD seeks to identify the issues which need to be addressed in order to offer effective regional, cross-institutional eLearning systems and services.
    (2004-5) Petal was funded under the JISC Distributed eLearning Tools Programme to produce a general e-portfolio tool for lifelong learning based on the Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) and the Certified Member of ALT scheme.