Dr Jen Ross

Senior Lecturer, Digital Education


I am a Senior Lecturer in Digital Education, co-director of the Centre for Research in Digital Education, and Education Futures fellow at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, where I am programme director for the MSc in Education Futures. I research, teach and publish on online and open education, digital cultural heritage engagement, and digital cultures and futures. I'm one of the team behind the Manifesto for Teaching Online and the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC. I co-ordinate the Digital Cultural Heritage cluster in the Centre for Data, Culture and Society, and lead the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network.


PhD, 2012, University of Edinburgh

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Responsibilities & affiliations

Co-director, Centre for Research in Digital Education

Programme Director, MSc in Education Futures, Edinburgh Futures Institute

Digital Cultural Heritage cluster co-lead, Centre for Data, Culture and Society

Postgraduate teaching

On the MSc in Education Futures, I lead the Culture, Heritage and Learning Futures course, and the Knowledge Integration and Project Planning course.

On the MSc in Digital Education , I lead Digital Futures for Learning", and previously led Course Design for Digital Environments, Research Methods, and “Education and digital cultures” courses. I teach on the “Critical Issues in Digital Education” course. I was the director of the MSc programme between 2012-15.

In 2013-14, I was part of the team that developed and taught one of the UK's first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - E-learning and Digital Cultures (EDCMOOC). 

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Areas of interest for supervision

I supervise PhD and MSc dissertations on topics relating to digital futures, digital education and digital cultural heritage. I have a particular interest in speculative methods and approaches to research and education. Since 2012 I have supervised 16 doctoral projects, 9 of which are now complete. 

Past PhD students supervised

  • Nada Alsayegh (2023) - PhD, Education
  • Sarah Treloar (2022) - PhD, Education
  • Maureen Finn (2021) - EdD
  • James Lamb (2019) - PhD, Education
  • Murray Craig (2019) - EdD
  • Debbie Schachter (2019) - EdD
  • Janan Dean (2015) - PhD, Social Work
  • Jeremy Knox (2014) - PhD, Education
  • Claire Sowton (Wright) (2013) - PhD, Education

Research summary

  • Online and distance learning and teaching
  • Cultural heritage learning and engagement
  • Digital cultures
  • Reflective practices
  • Online learning and identity
  • Higher education
  • Creativity and digital futures

Current research interests

My research is located at the intersections of digital culture, education and learning, and critical futures. It examines how digital technologies affect ideas, practice, and visions of the future in higher education and in the cultural heritage sector. I research topics including education and learning futures, automation and AI in education, museum and gallery learning and engagement, surveillance in higher education, and online, open and distance education.

Knowledge exchange

I have undertaken consultancy, advisory board membership and knowledge exchange projects with National Science and Media Museum, ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, National Libraries of Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Sage, World Bank, Higher Education Academy, Scotland’s Futures Forum. Between 2015-18 I was the Deputy Director of RKE, Moray House School of Education, with a focus on knowledge exchange and impact.

Affiliated research centres

Project activity


2020-24. Co-supervisor, EFI Baillie Gifford Data Ethics studentship – “The University of Data: Ethical and Social Futures of Data-Driven Education“. Lead supervisor: Dr Karen Gregory.

2019- present. Steering group, Cultural Heritage – UNA Europa.

2019-present. Co-lead (with Amy Collier, Middlebury College). Higher Education After Surveillance network.

2021-22. CI, Digital footprints and search pathways: working with National Collections in Scotland during Covid-19 lockdown to design future online provision. AHRC, Towards a National Collection programme. PI Prof Gobinda Chowdhury.

2020. PI, Co-designing with Speculative Data Stories: Higher Education After Surveillance. With Dr Amy Collier, Dr Jane McKie, Dr Anna Wilson. Edinburgh Futures Institute Research Award, .

2017-18: CI - Methodological Innovations for Assessing Learning in Digital Spaces. Edinburgh-Sydney Partnership Collaboration Award, 2017-18. With PIs Dragan Gasevic and Jen Scott Curwood.

2015-16: PI – Artcasting and ARTIST ROOMS on Tour: Using mobilities-informed methods to support new approaches to arts evaluation. AHRC, 2015-16. With CIs Jeremy Knox and Chris Speed.

2015-16: PI – Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network, University of Edinburgh Academic Networking Fund, 2016. With CIs Sian Bayne, James Loxley and Chris Speed.

2014-15: PI – Dissertations at a Distance. Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme, University of Edinburgh

2014-17: Partner – CONSTRUIT!:  Making construals as a new digital skill for creating interactive open educational resources. Funded by ERASMUS+, with Warwick (lead partner), Edumotiva (Greece), University of Eastern Finland, Helix 5 (Netherlands), Comenius University (Slovakia), and the University of Edinburgh. (2014-17)

2014-15: Project team: Coding the MOOC teacher.

2013-16: Lead consultant on a project with the World Bank, Washington DC, supporting the development of their MOOCs. (2013-15)

2012-2016: Member of the ARTIST ROOMS Research Partnership, Engagement and Learning strand. Partnership Lead: Neil Cox. (2012-16)

2013-14: Fellow, Beltane Parliament Engagement Fellowship on the topic of “Distance and online learning for an innovative and inclusive Scotland”.

2014: Co-author, Higher Education Academy commissioned report: ‘MOOC pedagogy: the UK view’. With Sian Bayne. Report details: Bayne, S. and Ross, J. (2014) The Pedagogy of the MOOC: the UK View. York: Higher Education Academy.

2013-14: Member of local organising committee, Networked Learning 2014, Edinburgh

2013-14: Research associate, Putting art on the map . Funded from a NESTA Digital R&D award, a partnership between the Imperial War MuseumHistorypin and the University of Edinburgh.

2011-12 – co-investigator, New geographies of learning: Distance education and being “at” Edinburgh. (PI Dr S Bayne)

2010-11 – co-investigator, Digital Futures for Cultural Heritage Education in Scotland seminar series. Funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

2009-11 - principal investigator, Student writing: innovative online strategies for assessment and feedback

2009-10 - co-principal investigator, "Research Perspectives: discussion, debate and dialogue" series for doctoral students and early career researchers in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh

View all 54 publications on Research Explorer

In the press