I have been teaching in UL in various capacities since 1998 but commenced my current position as Lecturer in Technical Communication and Instructional Design in 2003. Throughout my school-going years, I considered becoming a teacher but within a few weeks of starting my undergraduate degree in UL, I knew I wanted to become a third-level lecturer. While I undertook a BBS with French for my primary degree, I was also very interested in computing—in fact, I was one of only a handful of Irish students who studied computer science for the Leaving Certificate in the mid 1990’s. My background in languages, communication and computing led me to pursue an MSc in Software Localisation and a PhD in Computer Science, both with the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.
I now teach in the School of Culture and Communication and focus primarily on the disciplines of e-learning, instructional design, and technical communication. Fortunately, my interdisciplinary background in communication and computing lends itself nicely to these disciplines, and the fact that I can pursue my technical and research interests while also helping students learn really appeals to me. I mainly teach postgraduate students (both online and on-campus) but I also teach fourth year undergraduate students. In addition, I run the DUO (Developing UL Online) workshops for faculty members who wish to develop the pedagogical and technical skills needed to teach online; on a related note, I have also developed an extensive repository of technology-enhanced learning tools and teaching resources. Previously, I was Programme Director for the Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning programmes.
My PhD research explored the use of artificial intelligence (AI) methods to predict the likely share price reaction to financial reports that are hosted online by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In recent years, I have been researching virtual teamwork with colleagues in Ireland, the US, and France and I co-authored a book on virtual teams in higher education in 2016. I am particularly interested in how virtual team members use technology to collaborate, how team leaders emerge, and how team members communicate effectively (or otherwise) when working with other virtual team members. I also research and publish on topics that relate to technology-enhanced learning and learning analytics. I am currently working on an Erasmus+ funded project (EUCERMAT); in that project, I research best practice in online delivery and train teachers in five EU countries how to teach online.
I am a reviewer for several international journals including the British Journal of Educational Technology and the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. I enjoy reviewing other authors’ articles and providing input into how they might be developed; likewise, I appreciate the efforts that other reviewers put into reviewing my articles. I am on the programme team for two international conferences—I am proceedings co-chair for IEEE ProComm 2017, which will be held in Madison, Wisconsin in July 2017 and I will be the webmaster for IEEE ProComm 2018, which will be held in Toronto.
My research career has evolved naturally from my education to-date and my desire to improve the learning experiences of my students, many of whom are online and never meet their teachers or peers face-to-face. I really enjoy being an academic as I can help students prepare for the workforce, teach and research topics that interest me, and develop long-lasting networks with colleagues in international institutions.