Photo of Rebecca Ferguson

Dr Rebecca Ferguson BA (Hons) MA PGCE MSc(RMET) SFHEA

Senior Lecturer

I am a senior lecturer at The Open University, focusing on educational futures, learning analytics, MOOCs, innovating pedagogy and online social learning.

I am academic lead on OU's Microcredentials. These are short, affordable and globally recognised courses, aimed at students who are already in work. Microcredentials provide an opportunity for individuals who want to progress within their existing career field,. They also provide an opportunity to respond to the rapidly changing need for new skills and qualifications.

Before moving to microcrdentials, I chaired the 60-credit postgraduate module H880: technology-enhanced learning – foundations and futures. This is the first OU module to be presented on the FutureLearn platform and students who complete it successfully can claim a postgraduate certificate in open and distance education (PGCert ODE) or put the 60 credits towards an Open Masters qualification. You can keep up with the H880 community via our blog http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/H880/ or our Twitter account @OUH880, and you can register for the module here https://www.futurelearn.com/degrees/the-open-university/online-and-distance-education

For three years, I was lead author on the series of reports on Innovating Pedagogy, published each year by IET. The series explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment in order to guide educators and policymakers. The 2020 report was released in January and looked at ten new pedagogies: Artificial intelligence in education, Posthumanist perspectives, Learning through open data, Engaging with ethics, Social justice pedagogy, Esports, Learning from animations, Multisensory learning, Offline networked learning, and Online laboratories. You can download all the reports from the Innovating Pedagogy website http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/innovating/

I am an executive member of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) and have twice been Program Chair for the international conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, LAK18 in Sydney, and LAK19 in Arizona.

I have been a pedagogic adviser to the FutureLearn MOOC platform since its foundation, supporting its development of conversational learning. I am also Academic Coordinator of the FutureLearn Academic Network, linking academics from over 160 partner institutions around the world and helping to develop a focused research agenda.

Biography

Rebecca is a senior lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) and a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her primary research interests are educational futures and how people learn together online.She is academic lead on The Open University's microcredentials. These are short, affordable and globally recognised courses, aimed at students who are already in work, and providing support for individuals who want to progress within their existing career field,.

Rebecca is an executive member of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) and a leading member of the international learning analytics community. Her work has been influential in shaping the field, supporting implementation across Europe, and promoting a focus on social learning analytics. She has been invited to lead events in this area on five continents, including several associated with her work as principal investigator on the European Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE) and on LAEP, a project that helped European policymakers to set out an agenda for high-quality and stimulating ways of learning and teaching through the use of learning analytics. She is currently a principal investigator on the European project: European MOOC Consortium: Labour Market. She was a Program Chair of the Learning Analytics and Knowledge 2018 (LAK18) conference in Sydney, Australia, and LAK19 in Tempe, Arizona.

Rebecca has been a pedagogic adviser to the FutureLearn MOOC platform since its foundation, supporting its development of conversational learning. Her extensive experience of MOOC development and evaluation provides a firm basis for her research on learning at scale. She is Academic Coordinator of the FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN), linking academics from more than 160 partner institutions around the world and helping to develop a focused research agenda. In particular, she focuses on developing the next generation of researchers in this field, and organises an annual conference event that brings together postgraduate students from universities around the world.

Rebecca worked for three years as lead author on the Innovating Pedagogy reports. This highly cited series of high-profile annual reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment in order to guide educators and policy makers around the world.

Rebecca worked for several years as a researcher and educator on the Schome project, focused on educational futures. She was the research lead on the SocialLearn online learning platform, and learning analytics lead on the Open Science Lab (Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year: THE Awards 2014). She is currently one of the lead researchers on the Rumpus project, which investigates the links between fun and learning.

Rebecca is currently supervising four doctoral students.

• Sarah Huxley began her PhD studies in October 2019. She is working with Coaches across Continents and exploring the relationship between fun and learning as part of the Rumpus Group.

• Barbara Conde began her PhD studies in October 2017 as part of the cohort of Leverhulme-funded students working on Open World Learning. Her work focuses on self-regulated language learning in massive open online learning.

• Janice Ansine began her EdD studies in May 2017. She is exploring citizen science learning journeys through iSpotnature.org

• Derek Robertson began work on his EdD research at The Open University in May 2012, focusing on the research question How can digital video and audio be used to support a sociocultural approach to teaching and learning in Higher Education?

Past students include:

• Anna Comas-Quinn successfully completed her viva in January 2020. Her thesis is on MOOC educators – Experiences of online volunteer translation and implications for translation education.

• Tina Papathoma successfully completed her viva in January 2019. Her thesis is on MOOC educators – who they are and how they learn.

• Hannah Gore successfully completed her viva in July 2018. Her thesis is on Engagement of informal learners undertaking open online courses and the impact of design.

• Duygu Bektik successfully completed her viva in December 2016. Her thesis is on Learning analytics for academic writing through automatic identification of meta-discourse.

• Claudia Favero successfully completed her viva in February 2014. Her thesis is on digital historians and on Innovation in digital history teaching and research.

2020

2019

2018

2017

  • Clow, Doug; Ferguson, Rebecca; Kitto, Kirsty; Cho, Yong-Sang; Sharkey, Mike and Aguerrebere, Cecilia. (). Beyond failure: the 2nd LAK Failathon. In: LAK '17 Proceedings of the Seventh International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference, ACM, New York, USA, 504-505.

2016

  • Clow, Doug; Ferguson, Rebecca; Macfadyen, Leah; Prinsloo, Paul and Slade, Sharon. (). LAK Failathon. In: 6th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference, 25-29 Apr 2016, Edinburgh, Scotland.

2015

  • Ferguson, Rebecca; Cooper, Adam; Drachsler, Hendrik; Kismihók, Gábor; Boyer, Anne; Tammets, Kairit and Martínez Monés, Alejandra. (). Learning analytics: European perspectives. In: 5th International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference (LAK15), 16-20 Mar 2015, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA.

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

  • Ferguson, Rebecca and Sheehy, Kieron (). Breaking down the barriers. In: Sheehy, Kieron; Ferguson, Rebecca and Clough, Gill eds. Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the Frontier of Education Hauppauge, N.Y: Nova Science Publishers.

2009

2008

2007

Completed

Beyond Prototypes ESRC TEL Programme Report 2013
Project Logo LACE (Learning Analytics Community Exchange) 2014 - 2016
LAEP (The implications and opportunities of learning analytics for European educational policy) 2015 - 2016

Go the Distance: Working with Others

BBC | 1st December 2017

Introducing learning analytics

Public Service Executive magazine | 23rd February 2017

Learning analytics (Plan Ceibal)

YouTube | 5th July 2016

Learning analytics don’t just measure students’ progress, they can shape it

The Guardian | 26th March 2014

Learning analytics: avoiding failure

Educause Review | 31st July 2017

Past

Invited Talk

3rd March 2020

Learning analytics: facing up to the challenges

NYU LEARN New York University

Conference Presentation

4th September 2019

MOOC pedagogy supporting postgraduate study

ALT conference University of Edinburgh

Workshop

17th June 2019

Qualitative approaches to learning analytics

Learning Ananlytics Summer Institute 2019 (LASI19) University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Keynote

4th June 2019

Innovating Pedagogy

JTEL SUmmer School 2019 Bari, Italy

Keynote

16th May 2019

Innovating pedagogy

Centre for Research in Digital Education Research Symposium University of Leeds

Keynote

22nd November 2018

Learning analytics futures: a teaching perspective

Nuovi orizzonti della ricerca pedagogica: evidence-based learning e learning analytics perspective Universita Ca'Foscari Venezia

Keynote

7th June 2018

Future possibilities: analytics and enhancement

15th Enhancement Conference Glasgow Caledonian University

Conference Presentation

19th April 2018

Building a European learning analytics community

ESRC Research Impact: Making a Difference conference Oxford, UK

Invited Talk

15th March 2018

Preparing for the future

uImagine Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Invited Talk

14th March 2018

Steering clear of failure

Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Invited Talk

13th March 2018

Preparing for the future

RMIT, Melbourne

Keynote

16th February 2018

Keynote

16th February 2018

Preparing for the future

Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) Utrecht, Netherlands

Invited Talk

6th November 2017

Innovating Pedagogy

European Distance Learning Week Worldwide via Adobe Connect

Keynote

29th September 2017

Learning analytics: the way ahead

Nordic LASI SLATE, Bergen, Norway

Invited Talk

27th September 2017

Invited Talk

17th July 2017

Learning analytics: planning for the future

Analytics in learning and teaching: the role of big data, personalized learning and the future of the teacher UCLAN, Preston, UK

Invited Talk

25th January 2017

Invited Talk

21st September 2016

Learning analytics: visions of the future

e-Learning Korea 2016 Seoul, Korea

Invited Talk

19th September 2016

Visions of the future: what is on the horizon for learning analytics?

Asian Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI Asia) Seoul, Korea

Keynote

28th June 2016

The future of learning analytics

LASI Bilbao 2016 Bilbao, Spain

Workshop

2nd May 2016

Invited Talk

24th April 2016

Innovating pedagogy

Institute of Education seminar ORT University, Montevideo, Uruguay

Invited Talk

13th April 2016

Learning analytics: the state of the art and the future

Nuevas métricsas y enfoques para la evaluación e innovación en el aprendizaje Montevideo, Uruguay

External Appointments