Edinburgh Research Explorer

Jen Ross

Senior Lecturer, EFI Fellow

Profile photo

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh
Unmasking online reflective practices in higher education
Bachelor of Arts, Open University

Area of Expertise

Research expertisedigital education, digital cultural heritage, online learning and teaching, massive open online courses (MOOCs)


I am a senior lecturer in Digital Education, co-director of the Centre for Research in Digital Education and Deputy Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the School of Education, with responsibilty for knowledge exchange and impact. My research has focused on online learning in higher education, and on digital engagement and learning in the cultural sector, most recently in my AHRC-funded Artcasting project with Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. I teach on the MSc in Digital Education, and supervise masters and PhD students on topics relating to digital education and cultures.

My research in a nutshell

Technology practices are changing learning, teaching and knowledge in sometimes radical, and sometimes subtle ways. My research aims at understanding how the digital asks us to rethink many sorts of relationships and practices, and what future developments might bring. The web, and increasingly ubiquitous technologies that connect us to it, is shifting the meanings of authorship, collaboration, creativity, sociability and knowledge, and my work is trying to make spaces for talking about what that means for teachers, students and institutions. I’m especially interested in issues of power and subjectivity, and in how we are made with and by our technologies and practices.

Contributions my research has made include: problematising a discourse of authenticity in online reflective practices; re-imagining how museums and galleries measure visitor engagement; theorising how pedagogical practices can foster resilience for online learners; understanding online student experiences of writing, feedback and assessment; connecting theories of teacher identity to new spaces of MOOC teaching; and justifying the rejection of instrumentalist discourses of speed and efficiency in digital education, research and evaluation.

Current Research Interests

  • Cultural heritage engagement, learning and evaluation
  • Digital education, higher education and online learning
  • MOOCs and digital futures for learning
  • Online reflective practices
  • Digital futures

Collaborative Activity


I teach on the MSc in Digital Education programme, and was director of the MSc from 2012-15. I have led courses including “Digital futures for learning” and "Research Methods", and have taught on the “E-learning and digital cultures” and “Introduction to digital environments for learning” courses.

I supervise PhD and MSc dissertations on topics relating to digital education.

I co-developed and taught one of the University of Edinburgh's first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) - first taught in January-February 2013. 

Research students

James Lamb, School of Education

John Morrison, Edinburgh College of Art

Sarah Treloar, School of Education

Murray Craig, School of Education

Janan Dean, School of Social and Political Science (completed 2015)

Jeremy Knox, School of Education (completed 2014)

Claire Wright, School of Education (completed 2014)

Research Groups

Centre for Research in Digital Education (co-director): http://www.de.ed.ac.uk


Highlighted research outputs

  1. Speculative method in digital education research

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Manifesto for Teaching Online 2016

    Research output: Other contribution

  3. Engaging with “webness” in online reflective writing practices

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. The pedagogy of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): the UK view

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

  5. Making distance visible: assembling nearness in an online distance learning programme

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

View all (44) »

Highlighted research activities & awards

  1. Explorathon 2014: European Researchers' Night

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Festival/Exhibition

  2. Scottish Parliament

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

View all (7) »

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