Jane graduated from Plymouth Polytechnic in 1987 with a degree in psychology. She then went on to join the Computer Applications to Special Education Research Unit at Keele University where she completed her phd focusing on the management of special needs technology in adult special education. In 1993 she joined Southampton University, taking on various roles including lecturer in higher education and innovation. Between 2000 and 2002 Jane set up the first ever UK based Masters in Assistive Technology at Kings College, London. In 2010 Jane became Professor in Education at Plymouth University, moving in 2013 to take up a position of Professor in Inclusive Education at Exeter University. Jane joined the OU in April 2016.
Jane has developed a national and international profile in the field through key roles such as President of the Association for Learning Technology (2006-7) and Digital Inclusion consultant to the ESRC funded Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Programme in the UK (2009-2012).Between 2007 and 2010 Jane was Co-Director of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods. She has recently served on the REF 2014 Education panel in the UK which had the responsibility for assessing the quality of research conducted in UK universities.
Jane’s teaching and research interests lie at the intersections between disability, technology and inclusion. Her work focuses in particular on the role that technologies play in the lives of people with learning disabilities and the factors that influence or sustain the digital exclusion of disabled learners. Her recent work has also focused on how the inclusive practices of teachers and support workers might be enhanced through the development of 'positive risk taking'.
Jane’s methodological interest is the development and evaluation of participatory research methods that promote voice and empowerment for disabled research partners. Jane has recently completed a research study entitled “Towards equal and active citizenship: pushing the boundaries of participatory research with people with learning disabilities. Jane has applied this work to the conceptual development of student voice work in higher education.