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  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer
  • Learning and Teaching Innovation
  • Institute of Educational Technology
  • Academic Team
  • elizabeth.fitzgerald

Professional biography

I am a Lecturer at the Open University, working in the Learning and Teaching Innovation portfolio/Institute of Educational Technology (IET) and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I teach on the Masters (MA) in Online and Distance Education and also work in the APD (Academic Professional Development) programme. My overarching research interests are concerned with sensemaking in educational technology and I supervise students in a number of educational technology areas.

I worked previously at the University of Nottingham, at the Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI); the Schools of Computer Science and Biology; and in the Graduate School. I am also a qualified secondary school teacher.

My publications can be found in the 'Publications' tab of this page; alternatively pre-prints can be downloaded from my WordPress site or academia.edu page. Many of my presentations can be found on Slideshare and you can find me on Twitter as elara99.

Research interests

I lead the OU's Computers And Learning Research Group (CALRG), the longest-established UK research centre in educational technology. We have an active weekly programme and annual conference, and work with a large active community of colleagues across the OU and beyond. My research to date has been quite diverse, but with a common thread relating to sensemaking and human-computer interaction in educational technology. I have particular expertise in mobile and location-based learning, citizen science and personalisation of technology-enhanced learning. My wider research interests encompass CSCW, CSCL and the learning sciences; also field trip learning, digital humanities and museum learning. I am also interested in the research and application of research methods, particularly within interdisciplinary research, and in supporting the professional development of doctoral students. I am currently supervising a Leverhulme-funded PhD student, Sian Beavers, looking at informal learning of history through popular media. I also supervise doctoral students at EdD level.

I am Principal Investigator for the Situ8 project, which enables users to browse and capture geolocated media using mobile devices in the field and am also part of the OU's iSpot team, a citizen science platform that helps people share and identify nature. I was Co-Investigator and Knowledge Exchange Lead for the 'National Centre for Policing Research and Professional Development' (2015-2017, £1.36m from the College of Policing); and Co-Investigator on the EU-funded Juxtalearn (learning science and computing through juxtaposition performance in video making, €2.1m).

I have over 40 peer-reviewed publications and have received funding from sources such as EPSRC, HEFCE, College of Policing, The Wolfson Foundation, the EU and Ordnance Survey.

Recent publications include:

Many of my presentations about these projects or publications can be found on Slideshare.

Past projects include

  • Pelagios2, funded by JISC (2011-2012)
  • Hidden Histories: To the Castle!, funded by EPSRC (2010-2011)
  • STELLAR, funded by EU (2009-2011)
  • Augmenting the Visitor Experience, funded by HEFCE (2009-2011)
  • where:now, funded by HEFCE (2009)
  • A study of effective evaluation models and practices for technology supported physical learning spaces (JELS), funded by JISC (2009)
  • Creator: CREATive Organisations Research, funded by EPSRC (2008-2009)

My PhD thesis was titled "Learning Styles in Adaptive Hypermedia". This doctoral research addressed the issue of learning preferences, specifically investigating learning styles as an adaptation mechanism for personalised computer-based learning. A number of previous studies indicated the positive effect that this kind of adaptation provides, but under closer examination these were not conducted in a scientifically rigorous manner and thus their findings are somewhat limited. This research utilised a quantitative and highly objective approach to investigate visual/verbal and sequential/global learning styles in different user groups. Three user trials were carried out to discover whether there were any benefits to using these learning styles for studying in an adapted environment. Overall, no statistically significant benefits were found and these findings now shed doubt as to whether learning styles are indeed an effective mechanism for personalised learning.

Related publications: see Brown et al 2005, 2006a, 2006b, 2007a, 2007b, 2009. PhD thesis available here.

Teaching interests

I am module co-chair for H819 The critical researcher: educational technology in practice, a postgraduate module available on the Masters (MA) in Online and Distance Education and was co-chair for its predecessor, "H809 Practice-based research in educational technology". I also work on the OU's APD (Academic Professional Development) programme, leading on academic staff development, scholarship and the academic apprenticeship.

Impact and engagement

  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (awarded May 2016)
     
  • External examiner for PhD student, Leicester University (2017)
  • External examiner for PhD student, University of Nottingham (2015)
     
  • Internal examiner, internal probationer and exam panel chair for several MRes, EdD and PhD students at the OU (2011-2015)
  • Internal examiner, H818 ‘The networked practitioner’ (2015)
     
  • Reviewer for:
    • Journals including IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, Computers & Education, British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET), Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME), International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (JCAL)
    • Conferences including CHI, International Conference on Mobile Learning (mLearn), MobileCHI, BCS HCI
       
  • Awards:
    • Lord Dearing Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (Co-recipient, as part of the Graduate School Research Training Team) (2009)
    • Theodore Holm Nelson Prize ($1000) for Best Newcomer Paper at Hypertext 2007 (link to paper in ORO)
    • Best Paper Award at ICALT 2006 (link to paper in ORO)

I am part of a group within the OU that is tasked with the production of a series of 'Innovating Pedagogy' reports, to inform policy makers and practitioners of innovations in higher education. This highly cited series of high-profile annual reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment in order to guide educators and policy makers around the world. In recent years, we have worked with colleagues from SRI and Israel to produce these reports.

Publications

Dimensions of personalisation in technology-enhanced learning: a framework and implications for design (2017)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Kucirkova, Natalia; Jones, Ann; Cross, Simon; Ferguson, Rebecca; Herodotou, Christothea; Hillaire, Garron and Scanlon, Eileen
British Journal of Educational Technology ((In press))
创新教学报告2015 —探索教学、学习与评价的新形式 [Innovating Pedagogy 2015] (2016-04-23)
Sharples, M.; Adams, A.; Alozie, N.; Ferguson, R.; FitzGerald, E.; Gaved, M.; McAndrew, P.; Means, B.; Remold, J.; Rienties, B.; Roschelle, J.; Vogt, K.; Whitelock, D. and Yarnall, L.
开放学习研究 [Open Learning] (2016.1) (pp. 1-18)
Revolutionary and evolutionary technology design processes in location-based interactions (2015)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Adams, Anne
International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, 7(1) (pp. 59-78)
Guest editorial preface: special issue on mobile learning and educational mobile HCI (2014-10)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Jones, Ann
International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, 6(3) (iv-v)
AnswerPro: Designing to Motivate Interaction (2014)
AlSugair, Balsam; Hopkins, Gail; FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Brailsford, Tim
International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 6(4) (pp. 22-38)
Augmented reality and mobile learning: the state of the art (2013-12)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Ferguson, Rebecca; Adams, Anne; Gaved, Mark; Mor, Yishay and Thomas, Rhodri
International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 5(4) (pp. 43-58)
To the Castle! A comparison of two audio guides to enable public discovery of historical events (2013-04)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Taylor, Claire and Craven, Michael
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 17(4) (pp. 749-760)
Of catwalk technologies and boundary creatures (2013)
Adams, Anne; FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Priestnall, Gary
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 20, Article 15(3)
Towards a theory of augmented place (2012-10)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth
Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Learning Technology, 14(4) (pp. 43-45)
Creating user-generated content for location-based learning: an authoring framework (2012-06)
FitzGerald, E.
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(3) (pp. 195-207)
Guidelines for the design of location-based audio for mobile learning (2011-12)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Sharples, Mike; Jones, Robert and Priestnall, Gary
International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 3(4) (pp. 70-85)
Evaluating learning style personalization in adaptive systems: quantitative methods and approaches (2009)
Brown, E. J.; Brailsford, T. J.; Fisher, T. and Moore, A.
IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies , 2(1) (pp. 10-22)
Patterns in authoring of adaptive educational hypermedia: a taxonomy of learning styles (2005)
Brown, Elizabeth; Cristea, Alexandra; Stewart, Craig and Brailsford, Tim
Educational Technology & Society, 8(3) (pp. 77-90)
Weaving location and narrative for mobile guides (2013-05)
Sharples, Mike; FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Mulholland, Paul and Jones, Robert
In: Schrøder, Kim and Drotner, Kirsten eds. Museum Communication and Social Media: The Connected Museum. Routledge Research in Museum Studies
ISBN : 978-0-415-83318-9 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : New York
Learning on field trips with mobile technology (2013-04-17)
Meek, Sam; Fitzgerald, Elizabeth; Sharples, Mike and Priestnall, Gary
In: Kinuthia, Wanjira and Marshall, Stewart eds. On the Move: Mobile Learning for Development. Educational Design and Technology in the Knowledge Society
Publisher : Information Age Publishing Inc. | Published : Charlotte, NC.
Augmenting the field experience: a student-led comparison of techniques and technologies (2010)
Priestnall, Gary; Brown, Elizabeth; Sharples, Mike and Polmear, Gemma
In: Brown, Elizabeth ed. Education in the wild: contextual and location-based mobile learning in action. A report from the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous workshop series. (pp. 43-46)
ISBN : 9780853582649 | Publisher : Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Nottingham | Published : Nottingham, UK
Reflecting back, looking forward: the challenges for location-based learning (2010)
Brown, Elizabeth; Sharples, Mike; Wishart, Jocelyn; Tangney, Brendan; Taylor, Jacqui; Beddall-Hill, Nicola L.; Glahn, Christian; Börner, Dirk; Clough, Gill; Wijers, Monica; Jonker, Vincent; Cook, John and Lyons, Leilah
In: Brown, Elizabeth ed. Education in the Wild: Contextual and Location-Based Mobile Learning in Action. A Report from the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous Workshop Series (pp. 52-53)
ISBN : 9780853582649 | Publisher : Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Nottingham | Published : Nottingham, UK
Introduction to location-based mobile learning (2010)
Brown, Elizabeth
In: Brown, E. ed. Education in the wild: contextual and location-based mobile learning in action. A report from the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous workshop series.. STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous workshop (pp. 7-9)
ISBN : 9780853582649 | Publisher : Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Nottingham | Published : Nottingham, UK
Education in the Wild: Contextual and Location-Based Mobile Learning in Action. A Report from the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous Workshop Series (2010)
Brown, Elizabeth ed.
ISBN : 9780853582649 | Publisher : Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Nottingham | Published : Nottingham, UK
Perceptions, Perspectives and Practices: A Study of the Players of Historical Games. (2016-08-01)
Beavers, Sian and FitzGerald, Elizabeth
In : DiGRA/FDG '16 (1-6 August 2016, Dundee)
Incorporating Cultural Factors into the Design of Technology to Support Teamwork in Higher Education (2016-04)
Shishah, Wesam and FitzGerald, Elizabeth
In : CSEDU 2016, the International Conference on Computer Supported Education (21-23 April 2016, Rome, Italy) (pp. 55-66)
AnswerPro: Designing to Motivate Interaction (2013-10)
AlSugair, Balsam; Hopkins, Gail; FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Brailsford, Tim
In : Proceedings of the 12th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn2013) (21-24 October 2013, Doha, Qatar)
Situ8: browsing and capturing geolocated user-created content (2013-06)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth
In : Proceedings of the CALRG Annual Conference 2013 (11-12 June 2013, The Open University,Milton Keynes)
GeoHCI for learning in the wild (2013-04)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Adams, Anne
In : GeoHCI Workshop at CHI 2013 (27–28 April 2013, Paris, France)
Supporting interaction in learning activities using mobile devices in higher education (2013)
Shishah, Wesam; Hopkins, Gail; FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Higgins, Colin
In : 12th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2013) (22-24 October 2013, Doha, Qatar)
Augmented reality and mobile learning: the state of the art (2012-10)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Adams, Anne; Ferguson, Rebecca; Gaved, Mark; Mor, Yishay and Thomas, Rhodri
In : 11th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2012) (16-18 Oct 2012, Helsinki, Finland) (pp. 62-69)
Designing a mobile academic peer support system (2012-09)
AlSugair, Balsam; Hopkins, Gail; FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Brailsford, Tim
In : HCI 2012 - People and Computers XXVI (12-14 September 2012, Birmingham, UK)
Assessing informal learning: a case study using historical audio guides (2012-06)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth
In : CALRG Annual Conference 2012 (19-20 June 2012, Milton Keynes, UK)
Encouraging museum visitor engagement using spontaneous talk-in-interaction audio guides (2012-04)
Elliston, Brian and FitzGerald, Elizabeth
In : 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2012) (16-18 April 2012, Porto, Portugal)
Analysing video and audio data: existing approaches and new innovations (2012)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth
In : Surface Learning Workshop 2012 (18-20 March 2012, Bristol, UK)
Does mobile technology support peer learning for Key Stage 3 children? (2011)
Alsugair, Balsam; Hopkins, Gail; Brailsford, Tim and FitzGerald, Elizabeth
In : 7th International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE'11) Doctoral Consortium (25-28 July 2011, Nottingham, UK)
Guidelines for the design of location-based audio for mobile learning (2010)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Sharples, Mike; Jones, Robert and Priestnall, Gary
In : Proceedings of the mLearn 2010 Conference (19-22 Oct 2010, Valetta, Malta)
A student-led comparison of techniques for augmenting the field experience (2009)
Priestnall, Gary; Brown, Elizabeth; Sharples, Mike and Polmear, Gemma
In : mLearn 2009 Conference (26-30 Oct 2009, Orlando, Florida, USA)
AnswerTree – a hyperplace-based game for collaborative mobile learning (2009)
Moore, Adam; Goulding, James; Brown, Elizabeth and Swan, Jerry
In : Proceedings of the mLearn 2009 Conference (26-30 Oct 2009, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Revealing the hidden rationality of user browsing behaviour (2007)
Brown, Elizabeth; Brailsford, Tim; Fisher, Tony and van der Eijk, Cees
In : Eighteenth Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia [HT'07] (10-12 Sept 2007, Manchester, UK) (p 85)
Real users, real results: examining the limitations of learning styles within AEH (2007)
Brown, Elizabeth; Fisher, Tony and Brailsford, Tim
In : Eighteenth Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia [HT '07] (10-12 Sept 2007, Manchester, UK)
Reappraising cognitive styles in adaptive web applications (2006)
Brown, Elizabeth; Brailsford, Tim; Fisher, Tony; Moore, Adam and Ashman, Helen
In : 15th International Conference on World Wide Web (WWW2006) (22-26 May 2006, Edinburgh, UK) (p 327)
Adapting for visual and verbal learning styles in AEH (2006)
Brown, Elizabeth; Stewart, Craig and Brailsford, Tim
In : Sixth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT '06) (5-7 July 2006, Kerkrade, The Netherlands)
Integration of learning style theory in an adaptive educational hypermedia (AEH) system (2004)
Brown, Elizabeth and Brailsford, Tim
In : ALT-C 2004 (14-16 Sept 2004, Exeter, UK)
The role of pupils in constructing networked learning communities (2004)
Thomson, Pat and Brown, Elizabeth
In : European Conference on Educational Research (ECER2004) (22-25 Sept 2004, Rethymnon, Crete)
Innovating Pedagogy 2015: Open University Innovation Report 4 (2015-12-03)
Sharples, Mike; Adams, Anne; Alozie, N; Ferguson, Rebecca; FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Gaved, Mark; McAndrew, Patrick; Means, B; Remold, J; Rienties, Bart; Roschelle, J; Vogt, K; Whitelock, Denise and Yarnall, L
The Open University
Location-based and contextual mobile learning. A STELLAR Small-Scale Study (2010)
Brown, Elizabeth; Börner, Dirk; Sharples, Mike; Glahn, Christian; de Jong, Tim and Specht, Marcus
STELLAR European Network of Excellence in TEL (EU)
A study of effective evaluation models and practices for technology supported physical learning spaces (JELS) (2009-06-01)
Pearshouse, Ian; Bligh, Brett; Brown, Elizabeth; Lewthwaite, Sarah; Graber, Rebecca; Hartnell-Young, Elizabeth and Sharples, Mike
JISC