Davis is Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of
Southampton, where he is also Director of Education, and directs the
Centre for Innovation in Technologies in Education (CITE) and the
Professional Development Unit (PDU). Hugh has a long history of
research in Hypertext and in Learning Technologies, with over 200
publications in these areas and more than 35 grants. He also has
significant experience as an educational change-agent in HE at both a
local and national level. His current interests include the
‘Virtual University’, using educational analytics to understand how
students go about learning, and how the web changes HE and learning,
all of which are branches of Web Science. Hugh has given a number
of recent keynote talks on disruptions in HE, particular on on-line
learning, MOOCs, and the changes they cause.
(CC. Please feel free to use this brief biography and photo on conference websites, grant bids, etc.)
The Longer Version
I joined Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton in 1987 following four years of social work, a year of running a sailing school, a Bachelors in Ship Science and seven years of school teaching (including a part-time teaching qualification and a Masters in CS). Early work with Wendy Hall in the area of video disc for educational purposes and archives led to ideas about Hypertext, and the early versions of the Microcosm open hypermedia system in 1989. I was a founder member of the Multimedia Research Group (MMRG) which became the Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group (IAM).
For a period of 10 years or so I worked at the leading edge of
Hypertext research, with interests in both open system architectures
and also the educational applications of hypertext. I was one of the
inventors and patent holders of the Microcosm open hypermedia system
and a founding director of Multicosm Ltd in 1994 - which later became Active Navigation Ltd.
In 1999, following a period on secondment to Multicosm working much
of the time in the USA, I returned to the University at to my first
research area of learning technologies. I was interested in the ways in
which technology can improve the learning experience, particularly in a
research-led learning and teaching environment. My research focus was
on personal learning environments, learning analytics, web and grid
service architectures for distributed eLearning, informal learning,
assessment and social applications in e-learning.
In 2003 ECS created the Learning Societies Lab (LSL), with me as group leader. This group consisted of around 50 academic staff, research assistants and PhD students, and was successful in attracting significant grant funding. I have supervised 12 students to completion of their PhD’s and in addition have examined 17 external and international PhDs. In 2011 LSL was merged to create the Web and Internet Science group (WAIS).
Web Science looks at the technical, social, legal, economic, medical, scientific and educational changes caused by the disruption of the web and internet. Research in technology enhanced learning is a central part of web science, looking at changes in how students learn, and what they learn.
I have taught on many courses, particularly Programming Principles, Multimedia Systems, Advanced Hypertext and Web Technologies, eLearning and Learning Technologies and Personal and Professional Development. Currently I only teach Computational Thinking for the Web Science MSc. I have always believed innovation in teaching to be one of the most important features of a research-led University, and have had many responsibilities in this area. I am the University Director of Education and I chair the University's Technology Enhanced Learning and Living Board (TELL). Between 1999 and 2003 I was Director of Learning and Teaching for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. I have the unique honour of having been promoted to professorial level twice, once for my contributions to education, and later gaining a personal chair for research.
In 2011, following a sabbatical in LIRMM in the wonderful city of Montpellier, I returned to take responsibility for creating the Centre for Innovation in Technologies in Education (CITE), a cross university collaboration to assist the University in improving its on-line and blended learning and to generally facilitate the digital literacy agenda. Two of the major outputs from CITE have been the Southampton MOOCs that have been delivered via FutureLearn, and the Digital Champions programme which uses students as partners in a bottom up effort to improve digital literacy of staff and students.
In 2012 I was also asked to also take responsibility for the Professional Development Unit (PDU), which is responsible for staff development and acadmic practice, and the combination of these management responsibilities means I have little time left for teaching and research at present.
My current research interests are around:
- The ‘Virtual University’ – what do we need to produce the full university experience on-line.
- Educational analytics to understand how students go about learning, and to identify problems.
- How the disruption of the web is changing the way students learn and what they learn, and the effects of that on HE .
My team and I are interested in potential PhD students in these areas, and in hearing from potential project collaborators.
I live in Southampton with my partner and wife, Su White, and my other interests are surfing, camper-vanning, sailing, walking, bike riding, wine, and music (Su and I organize an annual camp at the Glastonbury Festival). In 2012 we bicycled from Lands End to John O'Groats covering a total distance of 1013 miles in 17 days.