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.
- e-Learning University Research Group
- ARC SPIRT Grant: 'Enhancing Learning through Computer-Based Technologies' with Dr Deb Hayes, Professor Lyn Yates, Faculty of Education.
- ARC Linkage Grant: 'School-University e-learning research partnerships for sealing up innovation'. With Dr Lynette Schaverien, Faculty of Education.
- Australasian Editor, Journal of Interactive Multimedia in Education, published by Andromeda Oxford Ltd
Development and Other Projects
Alexander, SA & 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.
Alexander, SA 2006, 'Rethinking Curriculum: Achieving Qualitatively Different Outcomes Using Information Technologies', Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 157-161.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Alexander, SA 2002, 'Designing Learning Activities for an International Online Sttudent Body:What Have We Learned?', Journal of Studies in International Education, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 188-200.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Alexander, SA 2004, 'Learners creating the learning environment' in Selinger, M (ed), Connected Schools: Thought Leaders, Premium Publishing, London, United Kingdom, pp. 26-33.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Students as designers of e -Ie a rning: an ARC project I'm involved in two Aust ralian Research Council (ARC) funded projects involving schools with children ranging from year 2 (aged 7) to year 11 (aged 16), so there's quite a variety of ages across both project s. One is a longitudinal study look ing at who le school communitiesand how they use ICT in teaching and learning , which has been running for three years. The other project (led by Associate Professor Lynette Schaverien) involves wo rking with students as designers of e-leaminq, such that the students decide what they want to understand and then design the environment in wh ich they develop their understanding. The multimedia development team from my group - the Institute for Interactive Media and Learning (lML) - built the environment which the students designed. A part of the research project involves investigating whether the long -term sustainability of e-Iearning environments is greater using this approach than the traditional process (which is rather patronising) where we, as experts in e-leammq, design e-leeminq environments for the students to use. In the latter case, neither the design nor content is really the students' own, even though they might provide feedback about projects developed by others as members of focus groups.
Alexander, SA, Marsh, D & Spector, M 2004, 'The future of evaluation in e-learning' in Panckhurst, R, David, S & Whistlecroft, L (eds), Evaluation in e-learning: the European Academic Software Award, Publications Montpellier 3, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier, France, pp. 97-103.
Alexander, SA & Boud, DJ 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.
Alexander, SA & Wills, S 2000, 'Managing the introduction of technology in teaching and learning' in Evans, T & Nation, D (eds), Changing University Teaching: Reflections on Creating Educational Technologies, Kogan Page, London, UK, pp. 56-72.
Ferguson, R, Clow, D, Macfadyen, L, Essa, A, Dawson, S & Alexander, SA 2014, 'Setting learning analytics in context: overcoming the barriers to large-scale adoption', Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Learning Analytics And Knowledge, International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference, ACM, Indianapolis, USA, pp. 251-253.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Once learning analytics have been successfully developed and tested, the next step is to implement them at a larger scale -- across a faculty, an institution or an educational system. This introduces a new set of challenges, because education is a stable system, resistant to change. Implementing learning analytics at scale involves working with the entire technological complex that exists around technology-enhanced learning (TEL). This includes the different groups of people involved -- learners, educators, administrators and support staff -- the practices of those groups, their understandings of how teaching and learning take place, the technologies they use and the specific environments within which they operate. Each element of the TEL Complex requires explicit and careful consideration during the process of implementation, in order to avoid failure and maximise the chances of success. In order for learning analytics to be implemented successfully at scale, it is crucial to provide not only the analytics and their associated tools but also appropriate forms of support, training and community building.
Alexander, SA 2006, 'Dissemination of innovations: a case study', Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education conference: Who's Learning? Whose Technology?, Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Sydney University Press, Sydney, Australia, pp. 21-31.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
McKenzie, JA & Alexander, SA 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, SA, Harper, C, Anderson, TK, Golja, T, Lowe, DB, McLaughlan, RG, Schaverien, LR & Thompson, DG 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.
Hill, C, Alexander, SA, Cuthbert, K, Hall, RL, Nicholson, N, McCredie, NA, Schaverien, LR, Tomkins, J & Vecchiet, S 2005, 'GENESIS - Generating E-learning systems in schools: school-university e-learning research partnerships for sealing up innovation', IASL Reports2005: Information leadership in a culture of change, Annual Conference IASL, IASL, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, pp. 1-7.
Schaverien, LR, Hall, RL, McCredie, NA, Alexander, SA, Hill, C, Tomkins, J, Nicholson, N, Cuthbert, K & Vecchiet, S 2005, 'Can we help e-learning to scale up in schools by casting students as e-designers? The GENESIS Project', AARE 2005: Creative Dissent: Constructive Solutions, Australian Association for Research in Education, AARE, Parramatta, Australia, p. CD.
Despite its initial promise, e-learning has been slow to scale up in schools. One possible but neglected reason for this slowness might lie with the nature of e-learning systems themselves. We describe an ARC Linkage Project, the GENESIS project (GENerating E-learning Systems In Schools), a project that sought insights into this hypothesis by means of a novel e-learning mediated strategy. First of all, students (aged seven to fifteen years) generated a large pool of significant questions of passionate interest to them. Then they decided, by consensus, on one cluster (How and why do we think and how come we are not born with the knowledge we know now?), explored that question cluster themselves and conceived an e-learning environment where they and other students might continue to engage with that cluster. Once the environment had been built, students explored its worth for learning. In this paper, each of the three partner schools1 considers whether, and if so, how, key aspects of the GENESIS strategy have scaled in their contexts. We conclude speculatively, drawing implications for the nature and, in particular, the educational significance of learning and teaching technologies in our age.
Alexander, SA, Kandlbinder, PA, Howson, E, Lukito, L, Francois, A & Housego, SC 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
Sawers, J & Alexander, SA 2000, 'Choosing a Web-Based Learning Tool: Focussing on the Needs of Users', 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE): Learning to Choose - Choosing to Learn, Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Southern Cross University Press, Coffs Harbour, Australia, pp. 571-580.
This paper reports the findings of the second of two evaluations of Web- Based Learning tools conducted at the University of Technology, Sydney. The evaluations have been conducted under the direction of a Flexible Learning Action Group on Internet use, a group concerned with the use of Internet based tools to provide virtual learning environments and to facilitate communication between students and lecturers. The first evaluation reviewed the small number of online learning tools available at that time (Feb 1997) and TopClass [HREF1] was selected as the tool with the best overall feature set. However, since that decision several competing tools have appeared in the market place, which have equal or superior feature sets and which are less expensive in terms of licensing costs. In addition, academic staff now have three years experience in using online learning tools and are in a more informed position to evaluate the range of tools. This paper provides some background to the current evaluation, outlines its methodology and process, presents the results of the user survey, software testing and product evaluation forums and concludes by making some preliminary recommendations for adoption of a new tool to be trialed in Spring semester 2000. The outcomes of this trial will highlight any usability issues from the student, instructor and administrator perspectives and would inform the decision to ramp down the UTS commitment to TopClass, beginning Spring semester 2000. The two systems would be operated in parallel for the next 12 months to June 2001 when the use of TopClass would be discontinued.
Buzwell, S, Bates, G, McKenzie, J, Alexander, S, Williams, J, Farrugia, M & Crosby, AL 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
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.