Archive for category Reviews

Stories of Tomorrow

Stories website image and logoOn 27 September 2018, I was in Luxembourg as one of the project reviewers on the EU Stories project.

This 30-month project is using storytelling as a catalyst for effective interaction between art and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) disciplines. It takes the view that these disciplines share similar values, similar themes and similar characteristics.

The Stories project proposes to use creative approaches in STEM education in order to generate alternative ideas and strategies that can be used by individuals or groups when engaging in scientific inquiry.

The project is currently designing and testing its vision for teaching and helping develop strategies that will help teachers to support and enable deeper learning for students. To do this, the project will include and use digital technologies, including advanced interfaces, learning analytics, dashboards and augmented/virtual reality applications. It is also building a storytelling platform where students are developing and publishing stories about a Mars Mission.


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Lea’s Box and Eco

Images from the two projectsJust back from a couple of trips to Luxembourg, where I was one of the team carrying out final reviews for the Lea’s Box and Eco projects. This was my third year reviewing Lea’s Box, but I only joined the Eco team for their final review.

Lea’s Box was ‘a 3-year research and development project (running from March 2014 to [January] 2016) funded by the European Commission. The project focussed on (a) making educational assessment and appraisal more goal-oriented, proactive, and beneficial for students, and (b) on enabling formative support of teachers and other educational stakeholders on a solid basis of a wide range of information about learners.’

Eco was ‘a European project based on Open Educational Resources (OER) that gives free access to a list of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) in 6 languages […] The main goal of this project is to broaden access to education and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of teaching and learning in Europe.’


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TEEM 13 Programme Committee

TEEM 13 QR codeI have been reviewing a paper on learning analytics as part of my role as programme committee member for the 1st International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality (TEEM13), scheduled to take place in Salamanca this November.

The conference includes a track on learning analytics, that calls for papers on:

  • Research frameworks for Learning Analytics: state of the art reviews and theoretical and exploratory conceptual frameworks.
  • Approaches to Educational Data Mining: algorithms, methods and applications for data extraction and processing.
  • Learning Data Visualization: display of visual information for Learning Analytics.
  • Using Learning Analytics for decision making: data-driven policies, results from experiences and best practices.
  • Future directions and new paths for Learning Analytics.

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Learning Analytics and Knowledge – LAK 2012

LAK logoIn December 2011 I was busy reviewing a series of long and short papers for the second Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference, to be held in Vancouver in 2012.

I’m Workshop Chair for the conference, which is a first for me. Although a lot of the conference work is coordinated online via EasyChair, it is still challenging to help to organise an event that will take place thousands of miles away in a place I have never visited.

Although I spend so much of my time online, I find it’s always easier to work with people I have met face to face at least once, and so it was great to be able to host a visit from the conference chairs, Caroline Haythornthwaite and Shane Dawson, when they came to The Open University to meet up with some of the many people here who are working on learning analytics

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Reviewing in 2010

During 2010, I carried out peer reviewing for:

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World of Warcraft Reader

In 2010, the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worldspublished my extensive review of Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader, edited by  Hilde G. Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg.

FERGUSON, R. 2010. A world of possibilities: review of ‘Digital culture, play and identity’. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 2, 194-198.

If a canon of digital culture is to be identified, then it is important that games and worlds be contextualized and compared. As Taylor writes: ‘now we have a fair number of studies that have focused on a very small number of MMOGs, through which we are beginning to get an implied generalized theory of online games. I want to propose caution and case study diversity before we too quickly settle on the meaning of these game worlds and the processes that occur in them’ (p188).

This book plays an important role in establishing the relevance and importance of World of Warcraft. Unlike many books relating to virtual worlds and games, it is not a lightweight text to be skim read. It will shift most readers out of their comfort zone, exposing them to previously unconsidered theories and methodologies. However, the time required to read it carefully is time well spent, for it leaves the reader knowing more not only about the World of Warcraft, but also about our world as a whole.

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Peer review

2009 was the year when I began to be asked to carry out peer reviews – starting with an article related to Second Life, which I reviewed for Educational Research journal.

Five main options:

Accept (select only for submissions that are publishable without any further work)

Accept with revision – i.e. no further review required (select for submissions that require minor, specific revisions)

Invite author(s) to resubmit for further review (select for submissions that are relevant to this journal but would require substantial revision to be acceptable)

Reject – does not meet quality standard (select for submissions that are below the high quality of work published in Educational Research)

Reject – unsuitable for this journal (select for submissions that may be of high quality but are not appropriate for this journal – eg highly technical specialist articles)

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