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Dr David McConnell

Dr David McConnell Dr David McConnell

BA (double hons) University of Stirling, Dip.Ed. University of Stirling, PhD University of Surrey

Position Senior Learning Consultant
Faculty Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic
School Curtin Learning and Teaching (CLT)
Department Course Quality
Campus Bentley Campus
Location 105.134
Phone 08 9266 5644
Google Scholar

Brief Summary

I am a Professional Learning Consultant in Peer Review of Educational Practice and Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in Curtin Learning and Teaching

I have held several senior appoiintments at UK universities, and recently worked at Charles Darwin University in the Office of Learning and Teaching.


I am a researcher and practitioner of networked online learning and teaching, and have been involved Higher Education since the 1970's. I have pioneered a wide range of innovations in higher education learning and teaching and was one of the first people in the UK to develop computer mediated communications in distance learning in the early 1980's while at the UK Open University. I co-pioneered the first UK online Masters in Management Learning at Lancaster University Management School in the early 1990’s and in 1996 I designed the online, global Masters in E-Learning at Sheffield University, which I directed and tutored on until 2005. At Lancaster University, I developed a new global online Doctoral Programme in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning with colleagues in Centre for Studies in Advanced Learning Technology.

During 2005-2008 I co-designed and ran an international (Sino-UK) professional development online course which brought together higher education teachers in the UK and China with the aim of them learning about the culture of e-learning in each country.


Professor in: Department of Educational Studies, University of Sheffield;  Department of Educational Research, University of Lancaster; Institute of Educational Technology, Open University; Glasgow Caledonian University.

I am visiting Professor at South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.

I sit on the Advisory Committee of UNESCO-ICHEI, International Centre for Higher Education Innovation, Shenzhen, China

I have acted as a consultant to various organizations including British Rail; Henley Management College; Cambridge University and SmithKlyne Beecham; and the Open University (UK).

In 1998 I founded the Networked Learning Conference. This is an international, research-based conference which attracts a wide range of international researchers. Papers are peer reviewed by an international committee, and the conference proceedings are published on our website. Please visit the Conference website for further information:

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Research Interests

I am Co-Editor, Springer Book Series: “Research in Networked Learning". Titles to date include:

For more information, please visitt:

I have published extensively in academic journals and have written several books. My books on "Implementing Computer Supported Collaborative Learning" (Kogan Page, 1994; 2000; 2014) and on "E-Learning Groups and Communities."  2006 (SRHE/OU Press) are a key texts on distance and e- learning Masters and PhD courses.

During the period 2003-2005 I co-directed a Sino-UK e-learning pedagogy project, and during the period 2005-2008 I directed a follow-up Sino-UK research project looking at three aspects of intercultural e-learning: Sino-UK professional development for e-learning; tools for analysing online collaborations; UK and China higher education teachers’ conceptions of e-learning. These projects were part of a wider eChina-UK Programme. Further details may be found on the project website: and details of some of our publications are listed below.

I have successfully supervised PhD and Masters research students in the area of Higher Education research. Some of my research and professional development interests include:

  • Networked Learning
  • Computer supported collaborative/cooperative learning
  • Distance/distributed learning
  • Virtual groups and communities, and learning
  • Learning Communities
  • Interculturality in learning
  • Qualitative research
  • Pedagogical design

Selection of research Projects

  • eChina-UK, E-Learning Programme, Phase Two 2005-2008 - Research into Intercultural Professional Development for E-Learning. Lancaster University (UK lead partner), Beijing Normal University School of Educational Technology (China lead partner), and the University of Sheffield; the Open University; College of Distance Learning and Continuing Education, Beijing Jiaotong University; College of Educational Information Technology, South China Normal University; Education College, Zhejiang Normal University
  • eChina-UK, E-Learning Programme, Phase One: 2003-2005. Teacher educational development in China: "Changing culture in Chinese education". with the WUN consortium (Universities of Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton ). This was a strategically important collaborative project between the UK and China which aimed to change the culture of learning and teaching in China through the use of e-learning.
  • EU E-Learning Research Programme : 2002-2004 - Equality in E-Learning: A European Laboratory for Researching and Developing the Practice of E-Learning in Higher Education across Europe. With consortium of four UK Universities (Lancaster, Glasgow, Coventry and Sheffield ) and ten EU Universities.
  • E-Learning Research Practitioner Network: 2002-2003: funded by the UK LTSN Generic Centre, to set up initial stages of national e-learning practitioner network in HE aimed at supporting the educational development of HE staff.
  • ESRC Research Seminar Series : Networked Learning in Higher education,1999-2002, (with Prof. Liz Beatty, Coventry University, Dr Sarah Mann, Glasgow university, Prof. Vivien Hodgson, Lancaster University ). Series of national invited research seminars on networked e-learning in HE, culminating in the production of a "Manifesto for Networked E-Learning in HE" outlining the need for e-quality.

Selection of Publications

  • V. Hodgson and McConnell, D. (2019) Networked Learning and Postdigital Education. Postdigital Science and Education, V1  DOI 10.1007/s42438-018-0029-0
  • V. Hodgson and McCONNELL, D. (2018) Foreword to: Bonderup Dohn, N., Cranmer, S., Sime, J.-A., de Laat, M., Ryberg, Th. (Eds.) (2018) Networked Learning: Reflections and Challenges NY:Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-7485-6
  • V. Hodgson and McCONNELL, D. (2018) The Epistemic Practice of Networked Learning. pages 455-464 in Proceedings of 11th International Networked Learning Conference 2018. Edited by Bajic, M et al. ISBN 978-1-86220-337-2
  • McConnell, D. (2017) E-learning in Chinese higher education: the view from inside. Higher Education, 75(6), 1031-1045 DOI 10.1007/s10734-017-0183-4
  • Hodgson, V., de Laat, M., McCONNELL, D., Ryberg, T.,(2014) Design, Theory and Practice of Networked Learning. NY: Springer ISBN 978-3-319-01939-0 e-book:
  • Hodgson, V., de Laat, M., McCONNELL, D., Ryberg, T.,(2014) Researching Design, Experience and Practice of Networked Learning: an Overview, in Hodgson, V., de Laat, M., McCONNELL, D., Ryberg, T., in Design, Theory and Practice of Networked Learning. NY: Springer ISBN 978-3-319-01939-0
  • MCCONNELL, D, Hodgson, V., Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L. (2012) “Networked Learning: A Brief History and Future Trends”  Chapter 1 (pp 3-24) in Dirckinck-Holmfeld L, Hodgson, V., MCCONNELL, D (2012) ‘Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning ’ 318pp, Springer, NY.  ISBN 978-1-4614-0495-8
  • Hodgson, V., MCCONNELL, D., Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L. (2012) “The theory, pedagogy and practice of networked learning”  Chapter 17 (pp 291-305) in Dirckinck-Holmfeld L, Hodgson, V., MCCONNELL, D (2012) ‘Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning ’ 318pp Springer, NY.   ISBN 978-1-4614-0495-8     1-4614-0495-8
  • MCCONNELL, D (2011) The experience of collaborative assessment in e-learning. In Online Learning, Michael Thomas (editor). SAGE (Taylor and Francis).ISBN 978-0-85702-765-8
  • Dirckinck-Holmfeld L, Hodgson, V., MCCONNELL, D (2012) ‘Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning ’(Joint Equal Editors) 318pp Springer, NY.   ISBN 978-1-4614-0495-8
  • McCONNELL, D (2008) Examining Conceptions of E-Learning in an Intercultural Sino-UK Context. pp720-726 in Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Networked Learning. ISBN 978-1-86220-206-1
  • Banks, S.B., McCONNELL, D and Bowskill, N (2008) A Feeling or a Practice?: Achieving Interculturality in an E-Learning Course. pp712-719 Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Networked Learning. ISBN 978-1-86220-206-1
  • Bowskill, N., McCONNELL, D and Banks, S.B. (2008) Reflective Practices in Intercultural e-Tutor Teams: A UK-Sino Case Study. Pp 707-711 Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Networked Learning. ISBN 978-1-86220-206-1
  • Bradley, S. A. and McCONNELL, D. (2008) Virtual Groups in Learning Environments: Collaboration, Cooperation or (Self) Centred Individualism? pp 24-31 Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Networked Learning. ISBN 978-1-86220-206-1
  • Crosta, L and McCONNELL, D. (2008) Online Learning Groups Development: A Grounded International Comparison. pp 61-68 Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Networked Learning. ISBN 978-1-86220-206-1
  • Zhao, J., & McCONNELL, D. (2007). Collaborative knowledge building in an online learning environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Foreign Language Learning, 23 (3), 38-46.(in Chinese)
  • Hodgson, V., Jones, C., Kargidis, T., McCONNELL, D., Retalis, S., Stamatis, D., Zenios, M. (2008) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Networked Learning. ISBN 978-1-86220-206-1 Online at:
  • McCONNELL, D., Banks, S. & Lally, V.(2007) Developing a Collaborative Approach to eLearning Design in an Intercultural (Sino-UK) Context. in H. Spencer-Oatey (ed.) eLearning in China : eChina Perspectives on Policy, Pedagogy and Innovation. Hong Kong University Press.
  • McCONNELL, D. (2006) E-Learning Groups and Communities. Maidenhead, SRHE/OU Press.
  • MCCONNELL, D (2006) Guest Editor, Two Special Issues on E-Learning: Studies in Continuing Education. 2006 ISSN: 0158-037X Online ISSN: 1470-126X
  • Banks, S., Hodgson, V., Jones, C., Kemp, B., McCONNELL, D., & Smith, C. (2006) (eds) Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Networked Learning 2006. Lancaster:Lancaster University ISBN 1-86220-182-X also available at:
  • McCONNELL, D. (2005) Examining the Dynamics of Networked E-learning Groups and Communities. Studies in Higher Education, 30(1), 23-40
  • McCONNELL, D (2004) Networked Collaborative E-Learning, pp222-257 in "Advances in Electronic Business: Vol. I " Li, E. and T.C Du (eds ) Idea Group, Inc.
  • Banks, S., Goodyear, P., Hodgson, V., Jones, C., Lally, V., McCONNELL, D., Steeples, C. (2004) Networked Learning 2004: A Research based conference on e-learning in Higher Education and Lifelong Learning. Lancaster University and Sheffield University, ISBN 1-86220-150-1
  • Goodyear, P., Banks, S., Hodgson, V., and D. MCCONNELL (2004) "Advances in Research on Networked Learning". Springer Verlag, Germany.
  • Banks, S., Lally, V., and D. McCONNELL (editors) (2003 ) Collaborative E-Learning in Higher Education: Issues and Strategies. School of Education, University of Sheffield. ISBN: 0 902831 43 7
  • McCONNELL, D. (2002) The experience of collaborative assessment in e-learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 24(1), 73-92.
  • McCONNELL, D. (2002) Action Research and Distributed Problem Based Learning in Continuing Professional Education. Distance Education, 23(1), 59-83.
  • MCCONNELL, D (2000 & 2014) Implementing Computer Supported Cooperative Learning. Kogan Page,2 nd edition (pp 264).


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