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Professor Shirley Alexander


Shirley is responsible for the overall management of the Institute. She contributes expertise in the use of interactive media technologies in learning and teaching in higher education and in administration. Shirley is involved in the learning design of subjects and courses that are delivered via the Internet and other information technologies. She's also involved in research on the appropriate use of technology in higher education.


  • McKenzie, J., Alexander, S., Harper, C., Anderson, S. (2005) Dissemination, Adoption & Adaption of Project Innovations in Higher Education. A report for the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. 184 pages. Available at: http://www.carrickinstitute.edu.au/carrick/go/op/edit/pid/98
  • Schaverien, L., Hall, R., McCredie, N., Alexander, S., Hill, C., Tomkins, J., Nicholson, N., Cuthbert, K. and Vecchiet, S. (2005). Can we help e-learning to scale up in schools by casting students as e-designers? The GENESIS Project. Paper presented to the Australian Association for Research in Education annual meeting, University of Western Sydney, Parramatta Campus, 27 November - 1 December. [accessed on 3 March 2006 at http://www.aare.edu.au/05pap/alpha.htm].
  • Hill, C., Alexander, S., Cuthbert, K., McCredie, N., Nicholson, N., Schaverien, L., Tomkins, J. and Vecchiet, S. (2005). GENerating E-learning Systems in Schools: School-university e-learning research partnerships for scaling up innovation. In S. Lee, P. Warning, D. Singh, E. Howe, L. Farmer, & S. Hughes. IASL Reports, 2005: Information Leadership in a Culture of Change. Selected papers from the 34th annual conference of the International Association of School Librarianship and ninth International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, Hong King, China, 8-12 July 2005 [CD-ROM], (Section 19: pp. 1-7). Erie, PA, USA: International Association of School Librarianship.
  • Alexander, S. (2004). Learners creating the learning environment. In M. Selinger (ed.) Connected Schools - Thought Leaders: Essays from innovators (pp. 26-33). London: Premium Publishing.
  • Alexander, S., Marsh, D. & Spector, J.M. (2004) The future of evaluation in e-learning. In Panckhurst, R., David, S. Whistelcroft, L. (Eds) Evaluation in e-learning: the European Academic Software Award. Universite Paul-Valery, Montpellier 3 Press, pp 97-103.
  • Pratt, J. & Alexander, S. (2004). Network Theory‚s Contribution to an institutional Examination of the Adoption of Online Learning Technologies in Australian Universities. 20th EGOS Colloquium, Ljubljana University, Slovenia. July.
  • Alexander, S. (2002) Designing Learning Activities for an International Online Student Body: What have we learned? Journal of Studies in International Education. 6(2) pp188-200.
  • Alexander, S., Kandlbinder, P., Howson, E., Lukito, L., Francois, A., Housego, S. (2002) SimAssessment: enhancing academics' understanding of assessment through computer simulation. In A. Williamson, C.Gunn, A. Young & T.Clear (Eds), Winds of Change in the Sea of Learning: Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. Auckland, New Zealand: UNITEC Institute of Technology. pp47-55.
  • Alexander, S. (2001) e-learning developments and experiences. Education + Training, Vol. 43, No. 4/5, pp240-248. ("most outstanding paper" award, 2001 Volume of Journal)
  • Alexander, S., McKenzie, J. (1998) An Evaluation of Information Technology
    Projects in University Learning. Executive Summary.
  • Public Lecture Series: The Role of Universities in 2010. The University of South Australia. 26 November, 1998. A Tale of Two Universities
  • Alexander, S. & Blight, D. (1996)
    State-of-the-Art Use of Information Technology in International Education.
    Executive Summary of IDP commissioned research.
  • Alexander, S. & Cosgrove, M. (1995) The Design of an Interactive Multimedia Program to Facilitate Understanding of Basic Electrical Concepts. Paper presented at European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction, 26-31 August, 1995, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
  • Nash, C & Alexander, S (1995) Australia
    Street Archive on the World Wide Web
    , paper presented at AusWeb95,
    the first Australian World Wide Web conference, 30 April to 2 May 1995
    at the Ballina, New South Wales, Australia.(best paper award)
  • Alexander, S. (1995) Teaching
    and Learning on the World Wide Web
    paper presented at AusWeb95,
    the first Australian World Wide Web conference, 30 April to 2 May 1995
    at the Ballina, New South Wales, Australia.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students)
BSc (Macquarie), GradDipEd (SCAE), MAppStats (Macquarie)
+61 2 9514 1465

Research Interests

Development and Other Projects


Alexander, S.A. & Boud, D.J. 2001, 'Learners still learn from experience when online' in Alexander, S. & Boud, D. (eds), Teaching & Learning Online - Pedagogies for New Technologies, Kogan Page Ltd, London, UK, pp. 3-15.


McKenzie, J.A. & Alexander, S.A. 2006, 'Variation in ways of experiencing dissemination: Implications for the adoption and adaption of teaching and learning innovation projects', Critical visions: Thinking, learning and researching in higher education - Proceedings of the 2006 annual conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc (HERDSA), Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual Conference, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc., Perth, Australia, pp. 222-228.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Alexander, S.A., Harper, C., Anderson, T.K., Golja, T., Lowe, D.B., McLaughlan, R.G., Schaverien, L.R. & Thompson, D.G. 2006, 'Towards a mapping of the field of e-learning', Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2006, Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Florida, USA, pp. 1636-1642.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Towards a mapping of the field of e-learning New Search Print Abstract E-mail Abstract Full Text Add To Binder Export Citation Related Papers Alexander, S., Harper, C., Anderson, T., Golja, T., Lowe, D., McLaughlan, R., Schaverien, L. & Thompson, D. (2006). Towards a mapping of the field of e-learning. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2006 (pp. 1636-1642). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Conference Information World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) 2006 June 2006 AACE Table of Contents Authors Shirley Alexander, Carly Harper, Theresa Anderson, Tanja Golja, David Lowe, Robert McLaughlan, Lyn Schaverien, Darrall Thompson, University of Technology Sydney, Australia Abstract This paper addresses perceptions that e-learning research is repetitive, technologically determined and avoids the difficult questions. A total of 107 papers from two conferences, one Australasian and the other American were analysed, using a framework which posed the following four questions. What questions are being asked? What theoretical positions are being taken? What counts as evidence in answering those questions? What is the educational significance of what has been found? There was clear evidence of varied approaches to undertaking e-learning research. The nature of the research questions reported support the view that there is a degree of repetition in current research projects, and a reluctance to tackle the big issues. The authors recommend that researchers move away from narrowly focused questions to an approach focused on the systems nature of student learning.
Alexander, S.A., Kandlbinder, P.A., Howson, E., Lukito, L., Francois, A. & Housego, S.C. 2002, 'Sim Assessment: enhancing academics under-standing of assessment through computer simulation', Winds of Change in the sea of learning, Ascilite 2002, UNITEC Institute of Technology, New Zealand, pp. 47-55.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS

Journal articles

Alexander, S.A. & Golja, T. 2007, 'Using students' experiences to derive quality in an e-learning system An institution's perspective', Educational Technology & Society, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 17-33.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Higher education institutions undertake a range of approaches to evaluating and making judgments about the quality of their e-learning provision. This paper begins by exploring benchmarking as one current strategy in common use in universities to identify and implement quality practices: from the use of checklists (for example, of best practices and standards) to a more contemporary dynamic systems approach involving continuous cycles of feedback and improvement centred around the learners' experiences of elearning. These practices are influenced by the teachers' design of e-learning and emerging technologies as well as by the institutional and societal contexts in which both learners and teachers operate. We give an account of two major evaluation studies at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), utilising a systems approach to investigate the consequences of e-learning, and we inquire into the value of this particular institutional approach for deriving e-learning quality. We use selections from the large dataset to describe and analyse students' and teaching staff's experiences of an e-learning system (LMS) over a two-year period. Our findings reveal that learners' experiences warrant consideration in shaping future e-learning developments at UTS, and that students value e-learning in facilitating their access to education for making choices about their learning and for enabling engagement in collaborative and interactive learning activities, while they also recognise the current constraints on e-learning imposed by the developers of LMS technologies.


Buzwell, S., Bates, G., McKenzie, J., Alexander, S., Williams, J., Farrugia, M. & Crosby, A.L. Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching 2016, Valuing student voices when exploring, creating and planning for the future of Australian higher education, Australia.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
McKenzie, J.A., Alexander, S.A., Harper, C. & Anderson, S. UTS 2005, Dissemination, adoption and adaptation of project innovations in higher education, pp. 1-202, Australia.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Report commissioned by the AUTC for the Carrick Institute. Peer reviewed by a steering committee of senior academics in higher education learning and teaching. Findings built into the design of Carrick grant schemes.