Professor Rhona Sharpe

Head of Technology Enhanced Learning

Academic and research departments


My qualifications

MBA in Higher Education Management (Distinction). Winner of the prize for the most outstanding consultancy project 2016.
Institute of Education, University College London.
Postgraduate Diploma in Education
University of Plymouth
University of Reading
BSc (Hons) Psychology
University of Reading
Rhona Sharpe Keynote


Research interests

Research projects

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.

    Rhona Sharpe - Jisc Learning and Teaching Experts Meeting 2014


    Postgraduate research supervision




    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.

    Sharpe, R. (2018) Evaluating the student experience: a critical review of the use of surveys to enhance the student experience in K. Trimmer, T. Newman, & F. Padro (Eds), Ensuring quality in professional education: university pedagogy and knowledge structures, Palgrave Macmillan.

    This chapter takes a critical approach to reviewing the use of surveys within the context of the institution, the programme and the individual lecturer. Established findings on survey responses are reviewed including biases in how students evaluate individual lecturers, institutional and disciplinary differences in programme evaluations and the rise of yea-saying in institutional surveys. Recommendations are made concerning what aspects of the student experience it is appropriate to survey, how sampling can improve the trustworthiness of the results, different types of available question styles, and alternative and complementary methods. This chapter suggests a pragmatic approach to sharing more widely what is known about survey data, so that survey findings can be interpreted more responsibly.

    Sharpe, R. (2018) Aligning corporate and financial plans in teaching intensive institutions, Perspectives, Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 22(2), 44-48

    With recent changes in how UK higher education is funded, universities are operating in a context in which finances are uncertain. It is more important than ever that university leaders are able to manage the finances of their organisations in ways which both provide long-term security and allow for investment in strategically important initiatives. Teaching intensive universities must be able to generate income and oversee the allocation of resources in such a way that responds to student pressure to provide high-quality education and improve services. This article explores the benefits, disadvantages and challenges of aligning corporate and financial strategies in order to support delivery of their strategic aims and operational targets. Recommendations are made for well-managed, well-researched risk taking and developing autonomy within academic and professional services units, such that local resource allocation decisions are also in line with the organisation’s strategic aims.

    Sharpe, R. & Benfield, G. (2017) Internet based methods, in J. Arthur, R. Coe, M. Waring and L. Hedges (eds) Research methods and methodologies in education, 2nd Edition, pp 193 – 201.

    In this chapter, we show that the Internet has precipitated a change in both research questions and data collection methods. We argue that the pervasive, integrative use of social and personal technology by learners means that the study of educational uses of technology needs to be seen within a wider, holistic context. This chapter explains how such research is being conducted and provides examples of some of the research methods

    Sharpe, R. (2014) What does it take to learn in next generation learning spaces?, in Kym Fraser (ed.) The Future of Learning and Teaching in Next Generation Learning Spaces (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Volume 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.123-146.

    This chapter reports on a review of literature undertaken in order to interpret the attributes that learners need to learn in technology rich educational environments. The review adopts a qualitative meta-analysis, synthesising the findings from 15 key studies. Six themes are identified and explored: engaged, connected, confident, adaptable, intentional and self-aware. There are clearly a number of different ways of synthesising the findings from this emerging literature which relies heavily on qualitative research. This review was deliberately interpretative in nature. There is very little evidence of an emerging language or consensus around how to investigate learner attributes. There is a need for more sharing of language and approaches amongst researchers. The hope is that through both its findings and its method, it provokes debate on how technology is changing what it means to be a successful learner.


    Sharpe, R., Deepwell, F. & Clarke, P. (2013) A developmental evaluation of the role of faculty based ‘student support coordinator’, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Issue 5

    This paper evaluates the role of the faculty based student support coordinator (SSC) over the first two years of their roll out across all faculties in a UK university. The intention was that SSCs would provide a one-stop shop for students, handling enquiries on a broad range of issues, answering them where they can, offering support, and acting as a referral service. The benefits to students should be an accessible and responsive source of faculty based advice and information. One of the challenges of implementing this new system was expected to be ensuring that all those involved understand their roles and help students to make use of them appropriately. Data were collected as part of a wide-ranging evaluation, both from the SSCs themselves and staff they worked alongside via interview and attendance at meetings. Data were also collected from students via interviews and surveys. This paper uses these data to ask how the SSC role is working in practice, what are the realities and tensions of the role and what has been the impact to students? The evaluation was commissioned by the main university teaching and learning committee and its results have had a tangible impact. It clarified and protected the role of the SSCs and uncovered aspects of their role that had not been foreseen. The feedback from students showed an increasing awareness of the service offered by SSCs over time and a high level of satisfaction.

    Sharpe, R. & Benfield, G (2012) Institutional strategies for supporting learners in a digital age. Enhancing Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences.4 (2)

    This study examined the policies and practices in nine UK institutions of further or higher education that had made a commitment to supporting students to develop their capabilities to learn in the digital age. Data were collected over a six-month period through multiple interactions with case study sites. Analysis of these data captures institutional practices and the results are mapped onto a developmental framework for effective learning in a digital age.

    Recommendations are made to institutions considering how best to support their learners, including the need to: specify digital literacies in learning and teaching strategies; prepare students for their experience of learning with technology; reconfigure campus spaces to enhance connectivity and support a range of social learning activities; and create a culture of engaging with students to inform decision-making. These institutional practices aim to support learners to make use of their digital skills and practices. The ultimate aim is to graduate students who can creatively appropriate technology to suit their own learning environment and needs.

    Sharpe, R. & Mackness, J. (2010) Evaluating the development of a community of e-learning researchers: from short term funding to sustainability. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 6 (2), 148–163.