Publications and Presentations

imge showing covers of books I've contributed to

September 2018

I’m writing more but publishing less!

The PhD takes up time I’d usually spend writing for publication although this will change once the thesis is completed. Over the past three years, I’ve been employed on a Professional Services contract where time for research publication is not acknowledged as part of the role. Despite my insistence that learning and teaching enhancement should be scholarly, and we should all be research informed and research engaged, it hasn’t happened. So I write when and where I can and try to keep the Digital Academic as a mirror of work and research with occasional travel trips along the way.

My core topic for research and practice is digital education.

Primary themes include:

  • Design for Active Learning (D4AL): an activity-based approach to teaching enhancement which might or might not include technology but it’s 2018, the technology will be in there somewhere, D4AL shifts from focus on the teacher as expert to asking the teacher the question; ‘What do you want your students to do?’
  • Inclusive practice and accessibility Since September, all public digital content must be accessible. This is the requirement of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018. It represents a massive shift in the field of digital education research and practice and how the theory will work in practice remains to be seen. ‘Accessible – digital’  is about small changes in practice everyone can do such as choosing a clear font and ensuring effective highlight and contrast. Follow the guidance on the Designing for Diverse Learners Poster to get started,

  • Effective use of Social Media as a digital graduate attribute, i.e. using Facebook in professional practice and placement, also reflecting and taking action with regard to digital identity and digital footprints,
  • Understanding digital literacies as a combination of core sets of skills with technology alongside understanding literacy as situated knowledge practice. Addressing competency alone is insufficient to account for the wider influences of gender, age, race etc. There is much work to be done if the sector is to understand more fully the causal elements of poor digital practice.
  • Supporting blended and distance learning opportunities. Higher education is attracting a broader diversity of students, many of who will be incorporating learning into their daily lives alongside other commitments and responsibilities. Widening access through digital technology, and offering blended or distance access requires baseline digital skills and literacies alongside knowledge of pedagogic design. This represents the core element of my work for over two decades.
  • Creative and innovative pedagogies – while the phrase is contentious (and needs a blog post of its own!) there’s a range of approaches to learning and teaching enhancement which are often referred to as examples of creative and innovative practice. One of these is to utilise the principles of Lego Serious Play (LSP), as explained in the following Digital Academic posts:


In Preparation

Lego in HE Case Study Chrissi Nerantzi (in prep)

War of the Words: a 101 story  (in prep) 


Supportive and Sustainable: Creating an Interactive PGR Community at the University of Northampton  REDS Conference 2018: Academia as the Alternative Career; developing researchers for a range of future-selves. Coventry University 24-25 October.!/file/REDS_2018_programme_final.pdf

Connect or Disconnect: Academic Identity in a Digital Age at the EDEN Conference EXPLORING THE MICRO, MESO AND MACRO: Navigating between  dimensions in the digital learning landscape, Genoa, Italy, June 2018 Conference Abstracts 

Digital Rifts to Digital Shifts at the UCISA Spotlight Conference, University of Warwick, May 2018 

Presentations at the University of Hull Summer conference; Empowering Our People (very poor sound in some of the recordings below but they show the presentation slides and give a sense of the areas the sessions addressed)


Watling, S. (2018) Political and Critical – an invitation to share experience ALT Blog 13 October, 2018

Watling, S. (2018) Digital shifts: an action research approach to developing digital capabilities for staff who teach and support learning in UK higher education in HE Action Research Guide Case Studies, eds. Lydia Arnold and Lin Norton, Higher Education Academy

Each case study provides an individual’s story of their action research journey. They provide personal insights into the work that was undertaken, assessments of the impact that their research has had on practice, and a summary of any lessons learnt in the process. 



Watling, S. (2017) Digital Shifts: reaching, bridging and crossing digital divides through an agile approach to learning design. Presentation at Jisc Connect More 17, Sheffield, 6 July 2017  Presentation slides (PDF without notes field)  Connect More Presentation Slides SHEFFIELD July 2017

Watling, S. (2017) Digital Shifts; how staff in UK HE conceptualise learning and teaching in a digital age. University of Northampton Research Student conference.  23-24 June 2017. 

Watling, S. and Lynch, P. (2017) Ghostbusters: exorcising the ghosts of TEL past and TEL present. Who you gonna call for TEL Future? Proposal accepted for ALT Conference September 2017 but withdrawn due to lack of funding. Paper available here Ghostbusting ALT 2017

Invited Blog posts

#HEblogswap 13 september 2017

Blog swap with Chrissi Nerantzi from CELT, MMU, September 2017



LTHEchat no. 92 “Warning! May or may not include technology” with Sue Watling and Patrick Lynch, October 2017 

A Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) approach to supporting learning and teaching can have limited impact and reach. Like attracts like and as TEL Advisors we tended to see the same faces at TEL themed workshops and events. Wanting to shift from Technology First to Pedagogy First, we looked for a topic which would be common to all staff involved in teaching and supporting learning, and felt the answer was the design of learning experiences. 

#LTHEchat 82: Evidencing practice for Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) with Sue Watling and Patrick Lynch, April 2017 

Patrick and I have been invited to experiment with the #lthechat format. Hence this link to a google doc for anyone wanting to break free of the 140 character tweet limit. We’re also flipping. Some (not all!) of the questions are already available on the google doc (above). We are asking is there evidence technology can make a positive difference to learning and teaching, if so, where it is and if not, does it matter?  


Technology Enhanced Learning – a literature of hope or despair?  June 2017 

It was a wet, cold Friday morning in February when I posted this request to ALT-MEMBERS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK  ‘End of week TEL challenge!  During my research I’ve found a host of reports critical of the claims of TEL and the quality of TEL research. Calling on Surowiecki’s ‘wisdom of crowds’ I wondered who on the list could point me towards evidence of TEL enhancing learning/teaching.’ June 2017


Opt-in? Opt-out?  on the Jisc Accessible Organisations blog, March 2017 

Technology often overtakes ethics. Lecture capture is one such example, with powerful (and sometimes controversial) implications for accessibility. Sue Watling, Academic Advisor for Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of Hull, muses on the issues in this guest post.


#LTHEchat No 46 with Sue Watling (@suewatling): Digital inclusion and accessibility   February 2016 My current research is e-teaching; the missing element of e-learning and I support the pedagogical use of VLE and development of digital capabilities for staff and students. I’ve worked with educational technology since the 1990’s; the days of DOS, 5 ¼ inch floppy disks and dot matrix printers. For me, accessibility is about awareness of the diversity of ways people use computers and access the internet, and taking steps to avoid creating inadvertent barriers when uploading learning and teaching resources. 

Watling, S. (2016) Presentation: Technology Enhanced Learning  at the University of Hull. Jisc Connect More 16, Liverpool Hope. July 2016. Liverpool Connect More 2016 presentation

Watling, S. (2016) Book Review: Learning with the labyrinth: creating reflective space in higher education, edited by Jan Sellers and Bernard Moss. In the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, no 10, December 2016 

Watling, S. (2016) War of the Words: Uncovering connections between poetics and research and gaining new insights through the #creativeHE conversation. In the Creative Academic Magazine, 5, September 2016, pp 58-60, ‘Exploring Creative Ecologies’. 

Watling, S. (2016) Changing Jobs, Changing Institutions, Changing my Future: The ecology of transition, learning and development. In Lifewide Education, 16, March 2016 ‘Ecologies Professional Learning and Development’

Conference presentations 

Watling, S. (2016) Finding and minding the gaps; digital diversity in higher education. Presentation: UCISA Digital Spotlight Conference. Birmingham.


Watling, Sue (2015) e-teaching as companion to e-learning; supporting digital pedagogies and practice with academics in higher education. In Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, University of Greenwich, vol 8 issue 12

Watling, Sue (2015) Know Your Limits. Thesis Whisperer, October 2015 

Watling, Sue. (2015) Digital diversity in higher education. Paper presented at SRHE Conference, Newport, South Wales, December 2015.

The documents below are stored on the repository at Not all documents are directly downloadable, please contact for details. 

Watling, Sue (2014) e-teaching craft and practice. In: Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology. University of Otago, New Zealand, pp. 431-435. 

Watling, Sue (2013) Preparation for academic practice with OER for international students. Higher Education Academy (HEA) Case Study.

Watling, S. and Rogers, J. (2012) Social Work in a Digital Society. London: Sage – Learning Matters.

Watling, Sue (2012) Embedding OER practice. Project Report. Higher Education Academy

Watling, Sue (2012) Digital landscapes: inclusive potential versus exclusive practice. International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, 11 (5). pp.71-83

Watling, Sue and Rogers, Jim (2012) Why social work students need to be careful about online identities. Guardian Social Care. Why social work students need to be careful about online identities | Social Care Network | The Guardian. Friday 5 October 2012.

Watling, Sue (2012) Student as producer and open educational resources: enhancing learning through digital scholarship. Effective Learning in Social Science (ELiSS), 4 (3). 

Watling, Sue (2012) Digital exclusion: potential implications for social work education. Social Work Education, 31 (1). pp. 125-130. 

Watling, Sue (2012) Invisible publics: higher education and digital exclusion. In: Towards teaching in public: reshaping the modern university. Eds: Neary, M, Stephenson, H and Bell, L. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. 

Watling, Sue (2012) Sensory awareness and social work [Michelle Evans and Andrew Whittaker; review of]. Practice: Social Work in Action , 24 (1). pp. 69-70.

Watling, Sue (2011) Digital exclusion: coming out from behind closed doors. Disability and Society, 26 (4). pp. 491-495.

Watling, Sue and Crawford, Karin (2011) Digital exclusion: implications for human services practitioners. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 28 (4). pp. 205-216. 

Watling, Sue and Hagyard, Andy (2010) The student as producer: learning by doing research. In: Doing Research in Learning Development in Higher Education. Universities into the 21st Century. Palgrave Macmillan.

Watling, Sue (2009) ‘Getting Started’: pre-induction access to higher education. In: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (ELEARN) 2009, 26 – 30 October 2009, Vancouver. 

Watling, Sue (2009) Pheromone therapy: design for learning online. In: International Conference on Information Communication Technology in Education, 9-11 July 2009, Athens, Greece.

Watling, Sue and Saunders, Gary (2009) Cats and dogs and pheromones: researching the student experience. In: Athens Institute Education and Research (ATINER) 11th Education Conference, 25-28 May 2009, Athens, Greece. 

Watling, Sue (2009) Technology-enhanced learning: a new digital divide? In: The future of higher education: policy, pedagogy and the student experience. Eds: Neary, M, Stephenson, H and Bell, L.. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. 

Conference Presentations


  • EDEN Conference, Genoa, Italy June 2018
  • LTE Summer Conference, Empowering our People June 2018
  • UCISA Digital Capabilities Spotlight, Warwick, May 2018
  • Annual Research Student Conference, University of Northampton 2017
  • Jisc Connect, Liverpool July 2016
  • Jisc Connect More, Sheffield, 2015
  • UCISA Digital Capabilities Spotlight, Birmingham July 2016
  • BETT Technology, London January 2016,
  • Making Research Count Keynote, Preston, Lancashire, January 2016
  • SRHE Conference, Newport, South Wales, December 2015,

Watling, Sue (2015) E-learning, e-teaching, e-literacies: enhancement versus exclusion. Presentation Slides from: Academic Practice and Technology Conference 2015: Flipping the Institution, higher education in the post digital age, 7 July 2015, University of Greenwich.

Watling, Sue (2015) 3 digital C’s competency, capability and confidence: an action research approach to digital development. Presentation slides from: Blackboard World Teaching and Learning Conference 2015, 21 – 24 July 2015, Washington DC.

Watling, Sue (2014) e-teaching: from digitally shy to digitally confident. Presentation slides from: Blackboard World 2014 Conference, 15 – 17 July 2014, Las Vegas.

Watling, Sue (2014) Teaching and learning in a digital age: myths and realities. Presentation slides from: Festival of Teaching and Learning, 20 June 2014, University of Lincoln.

Watling, Sue and Rogers, Jim (2014) Digital danger: the dark side of the net. Presentation slides from: Behind Closed Doors, 1 April 2014, University of Lincoln.

Watling, Sue (2014) Teaching and learning in a digital age: myths of digital competence. Presentation slides from: Life of i; 14th Durham BB Users Conference, 9 – 10 January 2014, Calman Learning Centre, Durham University.

Watling, Sue (2013) Student as Producer and OER enhancing learning through digital scholarship. Presentation slides from: Student as Producer Conference 2014, 26 – 27 June 2013, University of Lincoln.

Watling, Sue (2012) Embedding OER practice: supporting staff to deliver student experiences of a lifetime. Presentation slides from: HEA Annual Conference, 3-4 July 2012 , Manchester.

Watling, Sue (2012) Disability: the struggle for inclusion in a digital society. Presentation slides from: Social Work and Social Development: Action and Impact , 8-12 July 2012 , Stockholm.

Watling, Sue (2012) Social media and personal identity: the presentation of self online. Presentation slides from: Social Work and Social Development: Action and Impact , 8-12 July 2012 , Stockholm .

Watling, Sue (2012) Hitting the ground running; using Blackboard to provide transition support for new students. Presentation slides from: Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2012 , 23-25 April 2012, Antwerp, Belgium. Item availability may be restricted.

Watling, Sue (2012) Embedding OER practice. Presentation slides from: 9th ALDinHE Conference, 2-4 April 2012, University of Leeds.

Watling, Sue and Hagyard, Andy (2011) ‘Getting started’: using technology to enhance student transition into university. Presentation slides from: SEDA Annual Conference 2011 Using Technology to Enhance Learning, 17-18 November 2011, Birmingham.

Watling, Sue (2011) Digital landscapes: ‘inclusive potential versus exclusive practice’. Presentation slides from: 11th International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations , 20-22 June 2011, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

Watling, Sue (2011) Digital data: your ‘flexible friend’. Conference poster from: 8th ALDinHE Conference Queen’s University Belfast, 18-20 April 2011, Queen’s University Belfast. Download from

Watling, Sue (2011) ‘Getting Started’: beginning the postgraduate research journey

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. In: The Graduate School Conference, 25 February 2011, University of Lincoln.

Watling, Sue (2010) Falling through the net: implications of digital exclusion. Presentation slides from: 12th UK Joint Social Work Education Conference with the 4th UK Social Work Research Conference, 30th June – 2nd July 2010, University of Hertfordshire.

Watling, Sue (2010) Gutenberg to Google: access denied. Presentation slides from: Higher Education Academy Conference 2010, 22-23 June 2010, University of Hertfordshire.

Watling, Sue and Crawford, Karin (2010) Digital exclusion and the social work agenda. Presentation slides from: HUSITA9 at the Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development, 10-14 June 2010, Hong Kong.

Rogers, Jim and Watling, Sue (2010) An approach to meeting the ICT requirements of the social work degree. Presentation slides from: 12th UK Joint Social Work Education Conference with the 4th UK Social Work Research Conference , 30th June – 2nd July 2010, University of Hertfordshire.

Hagyard, Andy and Watling, Sue and Crawford, Karin (2009) Pre registration opportunities for social work degree students. Presentation slides from: 11th Joint Social Work Education Conference and the 3rd UK Social Work Research Conference, 8-10 July 2009, University of Hertfordshire.

Watling, Sue (2009) ‘Getting Started’: pre-induction access to higher education. Presentation slides from: JSWEC 11th UK Joint Social Work Education Conference with the 3rd UK Social Work Research Conference , 8 – 10 July 2009, University of Hertfordshire.

Watling, Sue and Crawford, Karin (2009) SCOTs: Students Consulting On Teaching. Poster from: Joint Social Work in Education Conference. 

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