I’m Professor of Learning Informatics at the University of Technology Sydney, where I direct the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC). Learn more about the work of my team there, and I often share pre-publication thoughts in my blogs at:
My academic journey has seen me work on various mixes of User Modelling, Hypertext, Design Rationale, Organisational Memory, Knowledge Management and Semantic Publishing, all with a fascination in making thinking visible as networks of ideas and arguments. Around 2010 I became active in the new field of Learning Analytics. I’m particularly interested in whether analytics offer new ways to provide rapid feedback on learner qualities that have always been important — but which have until now been hard to track and visualise in a timely way. These include your ability to make analytical thinking or personal reflection clearly visible in your writing or online deliberation; your social capital as reflected in your learning networks; your dispositions towards your learning.
The overall goal is to better equip citizens to cope with unprecedented complexity and transdisciplinarity — the only things we can be sure the future holds. Moreover, just as data and algorithms increasingly pervade societal life, in educational contexts Learning Analytics set up interesting new dilemmas regarding who gets to design analytics, who gets to see what data, how and when. . . in short, what shape will Learning Analytics take as a professional discipline that designs and deploys analytics in ethical ways, and knows how to hold such systems to rigorous account?
Background: I bring a human-centred computing perspective to technology, with a background in Psychology (B.Sc., York, 1987), Ergonomics (M.Sc., UCL, 1988) and Human-Computer Interaction (Ph.D., York/Rank Xerox EuroPARC, 1991). I love developing research-informed software tools that ‘normal people’ choose to use for real work. In addition to SoLAR, I’m a founding member of the Society for Learning Analytics Research, Compendium Institute, Learning Emergence and Global Sensemaking networks. I was a Co-Founder and General Editor of the Journal of Interactive Media in Education, one of the early open access, web-native, multimedia e-journals exploring new models of peer review. I was one of the Investigators on the OpenLearn programme which published thousands of hours of Open University courses as Creative Commons open educational resources, and was Director of the OU’s SocialLearn project (2009), and associated research (2010-12). In a schools (K-12) context I was Chair of Governors at Bushfield School, a Governor at Radcliffe School, and now works in collaboration with schools on learning analytics. My projects have been funded by national research councils, industry and philanthropic foundations. All of my work is indebted to some very special, long term collaborations over the years.
Elsewhere… I’m a lifelong learner husband to Jackie, and dad to Tom, Jas and Jo. I was a moderate tennis player and university darts champion many moons ago, I still play a drumkit and cajon from time to time, when in the UK was an annual pilgrim to Greenbelt Festival, and a founding member of Visions. The way to my heart is very simple: Thai and Tiramisu. I am slowly getting better at DIY, but usually end up injuring myself!
I switched to WordPress in July 2008. 1996-2007 news stories are on my original news site.