Rhona is interested in how universities can rise to the challenge of education in a digital age in ways which are informed by learner experience research and partnerships with students. She has led projects to develop digital literacies in staff and students in further and higher education funded by Jisc, the Higher Education Academy, and the Education and Training Foundation.
Rhona joined the Department of Technology Enhanced Learning in November 2017 from Oxford Brookes University where she was Head of the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development. While at Oxford Brookes Rhona led the embedding of graduate attributes, including digital literacy, into the curriculum and established institutional pedagogic research to inform a strategic programme of Projects to Enhance the Student Experience.
Rhona's teaching, research and consultancy are in the area of technology enhanced learning. She began using technology in her own teaching more than 20 years ago as a psychology lecturer and has continued to develop and experiment with online teaching for Oxford Brookes University, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Epigeum, and the Open University.
Affiliations and memberships
Learners' experiences of technology enhanced learning
Rhona has led funded projects which established the rationale, methods and networks of learner experience research and contributed to building capacity in the sector to undertake such research.
Developing digital literacies
The Framework for developing learners for a digital age, created with Helen Beetham, has been adopted by the Jisc, at several institutions and is starting to be used by researchers as an analytical framework.
Learning analytics and learning gain
The interrelated issues of learning analytics and learning gain, particularly the potential for graduate attributes to promote, describe and measure learning gain.
Indicators of esteem
Rhona has previously been Editor of the International Journal for Academic Development and Research in Learning Technology and regularly reviews for international journals and conferences.
Reviewer for grant awarding bodies in Cyprus, Israel, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic and UK.
Postgraduate research supervision
I am available to supervise doctoral students in my areas of research interest.
I am an experienced examiner for higher degrees.
I have protected time for teaching throughout my career, specialising in teaching online and at a distance. I currently teach the following modules for the UK Open University on the MA in Open and Distance Education:
- H818 ‘The Networked Practitioner’: an innovative Masters level course which prepares distance learning professionals to work in a global, open, networked society.
- H819 ‘The Critical Researcher: Educational Technology in Practice’.
Previously I have tutored for the OU: Practice Based Research in Educational Technology (H809), Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (H850), and Learning in a Connected Economy (H806).
I am preparing to teach modules on technology enhanced learning on the University of Surrey's MA in Higher Education.
I have prepared and taught on MOOCs:
- Developing Leaders for a Digital Age, commissioned by Education and Training Foundation
- First Steps in Learning and Teaching (2015) for Oxford Brookes University
You can see me talking about my view of openness in education at the University of Northampton (2015).
Courses I teach on
Sharpe, R. (2016) 53 Interesting Ways to Support Online Learning. Frontinus Ltd
Beetham, H. & Sharpe, R. (2013) (Eds.) Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: designing for 21st Century Learning. 2nd Ed. RoutledgeFalmer, London and New York.
Sharpe, R., Beetham, H. & de Freitas, S. (2010) (Eds.) Rethinking learning for a digital age: how learners shape their experiences. RoutledgeFalmer, London and New York.